Thursday, July 19, 2007

Marked for Death

Cross-posted at The Agonist.

For a sense of fatalism which clouds the lives of many Iraqis, this story from Iraq Slogger reports on the growing trend of Iraqis tattooing their own bodies so they can be identified when they're found dead in the street:

"My age is the same as the olive tree," reads the blue tattoo on Qaisar Tariq al-Essawi's left shoulder.

Al-Eassawi, 36, got the tattoo so his family and close friends could recognise his remains if he ended up in a morgue.

"I selected this wording because only my family and close friends know about our olive tree which was planted by my father when I was born," al-Essawi, a father of two boys, told IRIN in Baghdad.

Here at home, a tattoo represents an effort to be "cool", or even slightly rebellious. It may even have some personal or symbolic meaning. In Iraq, it means you've prepared yourself to be found bound, tortured and dead in a ditch or alley somewhere. Such desperation is impossible for any of us to truly imagine.


adam said...

We truly cannot imagine that. Just like we truly cannot understand how horrible it is in Iraq right now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for filling in Xanthippas, you are welcome addition to the Agonist family. As you might have noticed we sometimes argue like brothers and sisters, but we rarely bite. I look forward to more of your posts. :)


Jeb said...