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Geert Lovink on Thu, 12 Jan 2006 16:49:35 +0100 (CET)

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URGENT APPEAL TO SAVE IRAQ'S ACADEMICS. * Sign the petition online *

A little known aspect of the tragedy engulfing Iraq is the systematic
liquidation of the country's academics. Even according to conservative
estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated, and many hundreds
more have disappeared. With thousands fleeing the country in fear for
their lives, not only is Iraq undergoing a major brain drain, the
secular middle class - which has refused to be co-opted by the US
occupation - is being decimated, with far-reaching consequences for the
future of Iraq.

Already on July 14, 2004, veteran correspondent Robert Fisk reported
from Iraq that: "University staff suspect that there is a campaign to
strip Iraq of its academics, to complete the destruction of Iraq's
cultural identity which began when the American army entered Baghdad."

The wave of assassinations appears non-partisan and non-sectarian,
targeting women as well as men, and is countrywide. It is
indiscriminate of expertise: professors of geography, history and
Arabic literature as well as science are among the dead. Not one
individual has been apprehended in connection with these

According to the United Nations University, some 84 per cent of Iraq's
institutions of higher education have already been burnt, looted or
destroyed. Iraq's educational system used to be among the best in the
region; one of the country's most important assets was its
well-educated people.

This situation is a mirror of the occupation as a whole: a catastrophe
of staggering proportions unfolding in a climate of criminal
disregard. As an occupying power, and under international humanitarian
law, final responsibility for protecting Iraqi citizens, including
academics, lies with the United States.

With this petition we want to break the silence.

1. We appeal to organisations which work to enforce or defend
international humanitarian law to put these crimes on the agenda.

2. We request that an independent international investigation be
launched immediately to probe these extrajudicial killings. This
investigation should also examine the issue of responsibility to
clearly identify who is accountable for this state of affairs. We
appeal to the special rapporteur on summary executions at UNHCHR in

You can sign this petition online or write to
info {AT} brusselstribunal.orgif you want tosupport the campaign.

This petition was launched by the BRussells Tribunal and is already
endorsed by CEOSI (Spain), the Portuguese hearing of the WTI,
Iraktribunal.de (Germany), the Swedish Antiwar committee, the IAC
(USA), the International Association of Middle East Studies (IAMES),
the German Middle East Studies Association (DAVO) and the European
Association for Middle Eastern Studies (EURAMES), and several
personalities, like Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Tony Benn, Harold
Pinter,Eduardo Galeano, John Pilger and Michael Parenti. See the list

of principalendorsers.

See also the call for action underneath and more information on

Other languages:Dutch - Arabic - Spanish - Portuguese - Japanese: *

Read the petition *


Call for action to save Iraq's Academics

1. We call upon all people, especially academics and students, to help

end the silence that surrounds the ongoing crime of the assassination

of Iraqi academics and the destruction of Iraqi's educational
infrastructure, and support Iraqi academics' right and hope to live in

an independent, democratic Iraq, free of foreign occupation and

2. We urge that academic institutions and organisations declare
solidarity with their Iraqi colleagues.

3. We urge that academics forge links between Iraqi educators, both in

exile and in Iraq, and universities worldwide.

4. We urge that student organisations link wi
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