Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

November 16, 2007

“Bad” News from Iraq

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:29 am

Sometimes, people often say the media is biased. Sometimes, they say the media focuses too much on bad news. Sometimes, they are so right it’s almost funny.

Note that the story quoted below is not a parody. It is not from The Onion, or Scrappleface, or some other humor-focused publication. It is from the quite mainstream McClatchy Newspapers, which include such papers as the Raleigh News & Observer, The Miami Herald, and others, and it appears on Yahoo News.

You have to see it to believe it:

As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch

By Jay Price and Qasim Zein, McClatchy NewspapersTue Oct 16, 2:40 PM ET

NAJAF, Iraq — At what’s believed to be the world’s largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn’t good.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that’s cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

The burials aren’t expensive, usually $200 or less, but many people draw their income from them.

When a family arrives— after going through the indignity of having the coffin searched repeatedly for explosives— the body is taken to be washed at one of five family-owned businesses. Female bodies are washed by teams of women. Men wash the male bodies.

The bodies are then carefully wrapped in white cotton shrouds, made in factories in Najaf that also export them. Then the bodies can be taken to the tomb of Imam Ali for a ceremony that includes circling the imam’s tomb.

After prayers, the coffin is borne to the gravesite. There, professional preachers are paid to recite verses from the Quran. The family and the gravedigger remove the body from the coffin and ease it into the grave, placing the head in a niche dug at the end of the grave that faces Mecca.

“Certainly, when the number of dead increases I feel happy, like all workers in the graveyard,” said Basim Hameed, 30, a body washer. “This happiness comes from the increase in the amount of money we have.”

So if “the surge is working,” they can blame Bush for the decreased income of Iraqi cemetery workers!

2 Responses to ““Bad” News from Iraq”

  1. mrsfish Says:

    Glad to see you back.

  2. Different River Says:

    Thanks! It’s good to be back!

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