Children in Iraq still suffering psychologically from war trauma
Bursting into tears, Jasim came forward and embraced his six-year-old
son Omer who was shivering and crying excessively with fear "they will
take me and kill me," as he had already seen some heavily armed soldiers
walking towards them in the volatile province of Diyala.
"My poor son is screaming, completely lost in hysteria as soon as he
sees Americans or Iraqi troops," said Jasim who declined to give his
full name for security reasons.
Jasim explained the cause of his son's psychological malady that
appeared nearly two years ago when Omer saw an insurgent was killed and
two others detained by a joint dismounted patrol of U.S. and Iraqi
troops during clashes near their house in the provincial capital city of
Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad.
"The bloody fighting had affected severely the psychology of my son
who became so scared as soon as he sees armed soldiers," Jasim said with
tears in his eyes.
Asked about the roles of psychiatrists in his city in treating his
son, Jasim replied hopelessly that he has frequently taken his son to
them but his attempts went in vain.
In the past six years, Iraqi children are suffering severely from
relentless bloodshed, especially from the fear of being killed or
Um Kholood said that her 7-year-old daughter Kholood had suffered
great pain and discomfort since a year and a half ago as a witness of
his father being killed by militants.
"My daughter saw veiled armed people killing her father in front of
her eyes while she was with him in his car in an area outside Baquba,"
Um Kholood broke into uncontrollable sobs.
"My daughter's psychology has improved after the incident of her
father but it just relapsed when she saw veiled security members in
checkpoints or streets," Um Kholood said.
The Iraq war and the following violence had affected millions of
children. Lots of Iraqi children have been killed and the lucky
survivals are found to be suffering from serious stress. The negative
affect of violence on Iraqi children is pervasive and will alter their
lives in unimaginable and horrible ways for years.
Some psychological doctors warned that the bloody war and sectarian
killings will see children in Iraq growing up either deeply scarred or
habituated to violence, which will severely damage their growth.
Six-year-old Khalil Muhiee have the same miserable story with Kholood.
Hiding in a chickens' coop, he saw a group of militants stormed his
house in southwest Baquba two years ago and killed his father who was a
member of local security forces. "After the militants fled the house,
Muhiee got out the coop and saw his father beheaded, lying on the floor
stained with his blood, " said Kamal Abdul Rahman, Muhiee's uncle.
Rahman revealed that since that day his nephew has always carried a
fake plastic Kalashnikov and said "I will kill the murderers of my
father and behead all of them." Khaldoon Qasim, a psychological
researcher in Baquba, told Xinhua that a wide slice of children in
Diyala suffer deeply from violence in the war-torn country as shootings
and bombings have become a part of their daily life. "Horrible images of
torn dead bodies scattered in streets and the scenes of their fathers or
relatives being killed in front of their eyes will remain firm in the
children's minds for many years and will leave negative psychological
stamps in their future behaviors," Qasim said.
"They may keep the pattern of violence and hatred going on as they
enter adulthood," he added.
Mrs. Nahid Aws, who works as a teacher in a kindergarten in the city
of Baquba, said that some children behave cruelly and strangely with
their classmates. "I saw a boy in the class carrying a plastic dagger
and threatening by waving it towards his classmates," she said.
"Then, I found out that the child is an orphan who has not only seen
his father killed by militants but also seen the dead body of his father
lying in front of his house for four days. Nobody dared to move it and
transfer it to a morgue because the armed groups at that time prevented
people from moving the dead bodies killed by them," Aws said. "Such
incidents have negative impacts on the child's psychological mood and
behavior," Aws said dejectedly, adding that the local psychiatry service
for children is very "underdeveloped".
BAQUBA, Iraq, (Xinhua)