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The lost generation of Iraq: children caught in the crossfire

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The invasion and occupation of Iraq have brought alongside an explosion in sectarian warfare, social dilapidation, gangsterism and corruption. Impacting the whole of Iraq, children have been particularly victimized by the dismantling of the organizing forces of both state and society. In this survey, it is argued that the degradation of the child's status flows from conscious policy decisions that have been made by occupation authorities. Neo-liberal prerogatives demanded the dismantling of Iraq's social sector, the destruction of its working and middle classes, and the creation of a pliable non-representative Iraqi government. Reconstruction of Iraq has become a cruel farce, and the engineering of social collapse and fractured identity have created a widespread environment of violence and hopelessness. It is in this environment that Iraq's next generation is being raised. The contemporary status of Iraq's children is surveyed on several dimensions: first, the collapse of Iraq's health infrastructure is shown to have had deleterious effects on the physical status of children, reflected by a dramatic rise in infant mortality rates and treatable disease; second, endemic violence and desperate poverty has forced many children to withdraw from primary education, denying them the formative learning experience necessary for social and intellectual growth. Finally, the cumulative effects of surrounding violence, poverty and psychological trauma has created a host of social pathologies in Iraqi children and society, robbing Iraqi children of their innocence, and portending a future Iraq that will be dominated by the maladjusted and the violent.
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Keywords: Anglo-American occupation; Iraq education; Iraq refugees healthcare; Iraqi children

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Carleton University, Canada.

Publication date: 2008-10-24

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  • The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is a new peer-reviewed, tri- annual, academic publication devoted to the study of modern Iraq. In recognition of Iraq's increasingly important position on the world stage, the time is right for a new journal dedicated to scholarly engagement with the country.
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