Editor’s note (2/16/17): We first shared this post following a terrorist bombing in Baghdad last July. Earlier today, an ISIS car bomb killed 50+ people in Baghdad. It’s easy to think this is “normal” in Iraq—to shrug and turn away. But it’s not, and we must not.
There’s a widespread notion that Iraqis must be used to violence by now. There’s a story we hear that goes something like this:
Iraqis have seen so much war, and so many bombs, that they just carry on with life as usual.
Violence doesn’t really phase them anymore.
After all, “those people” have been fighting for centuries.
Nearly 200 people have died as a result of a terrorist bombing in Baghdad on early Sunday morning—the worst single attack since the Iraq War. More people are still missing.
We want you to know one thing: Iraqis never get used to this.
Iraqis aren’t used to senseless death. They aren’t used to random terrorist bombings.
Iraqis aren’t used to sifting through the burned out wreckage of cars and buildings to find their loved ones. They aren’t used to the smell of death hanging in the air. They aren’t used to forming volunteer brigades to scour the streets looking for body parts so their loved ones can be buried as whole as possible.
Iraqis aren’t used to explosions and sirens. They aren’t use to calling their loved one’s cell phones over and over and over again to see if they are safe. They aren’t used to the calls never being answered because their children, or spouses, or parents, or friends are dead.
Iraqis aren’t used to going out for dinner and shopping for new holiday outfits for their children, only to die in a terrorist attack. They aren’t used to posting hundreds of death notices on street corners. They aren’t used to holding funerals for small children who were killed far too young.
Iraqis aren’t used to the constant fear. They never get used to it.
In the wake of Sunday’s bombing, the Iraqi prime minister announced three days of mourning across the entire country. Three days to come together, not to celebrate the end of Ramadan as they should be doing, but to grieve the destruction of their community.
Iraqis will gather and mourn.
They will bury their dead and cry.
Iraqis are used the world’s silence when tragedy strikes here.
But no, they will never get used to the violence.
So what can we do to help them feel a little less alone?
We can show up.
Tonight, take 15 minutes with your family, friends, or neighbors, and make a sign showing your solidarity with the people of Iraq. Take a photo with your sign and share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, using the hashtag #PrayForIraq.
We will translate your messages of support and share them with our friends in Iraq.
When grief is loud, love cannot be silent.
Love always shows up. Love overcomes fear. Love leans into pain.