Iraq: A Country Without Statistics

We are a country without statistics to the extent that we have no exact figures on the number of our people who get killed or go missing. We are a country without charts and tables and it seems that in Iraq, numbers, an essential part of a civilized society, have lost their significance.

Our politicians try to distance themselves from statistics whether they have a bearing on the economy, our current status or future plans. Figures and numbers apparently embarrass them before their own people, so they see fit to avoid them.

Even when it comes to death we are perhaps the only country in the world with no exact statistics. We have no exact figures on the number of our dead and victims of violence, whose innocent blood flows like rivers in front of our eyes.

As a result is that there is no way for a relief agency or humanitarian group to extend help to the families of these victims, and the reason is simple: the government doesn’t have the figures, our occupiers do not care and the insurgents have no idea.

Estimates of the number of Iraqis killed since the 2003 U.S. invasion vary wildly and the international media quote conflicting figures. Some say 100,000 Iraqis have perished since the invasion, others say 50,000. But what is most disturbing is the reticence of our government vis-à-vis a critical issue such as this.

For us Iraqis it is proof that the authorities are simply not concerned about our tragedy and have no intention of even documenting those of us who get killed or wounded. But the absence of statistics since the U.S. invasion is not confined to a count of those who have perished, either directly or indirectly, due to ongoing military operations.

While most nations have monthly, quarterly and yearly records of their imports and exports, we are in the dark about what enters and leaves the country. There are questions marks, for example, looming over the statistics for our oil exports, the nation’s main hard-currency earner. There are no figures available regarding our exports of dates, sulfur, phosphate, fertilizers or cement. No figures have been issued in the past two years about our trade balance, education, industry, agriculture, transport, etc.

The situation is gloomy and dark and the winners are those who want to govern through empty political rhetoric. The authorities have invented ready-made excuses for their failure. For example, it is always easy to blame the former regime, or occasionally foreign troops and repeatedly the ongoing insurgency.

But what they forget is that they have failed to build a school, a factory or a road. They forget that they have failed to raise our oil or non-oil exports and have done nothing to improve living standards, health conditions and public amenities.

What would they need the figures for, then?

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