iraqsmissing

Archive for 2010|Yearly archive page

IMC’s associated film ‘Son of Babylon’ chosen as Iraq’s official entry to the Oscars

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2010 at 12:39 pm

The press release below details the news of the IMC’s associated film ‘Son of Babylon’ being selected as Iraq’s official entry for the Oscars.

‘Son of Babylon’ Iraq’s official selection for Foreign Language Film at Academy Awards 2011.

By Cecily Barber

July 6 at 13:00, Karlovy Vary IFF, Czech Republic – Human Film and Iraq Al-Rafidain are delighted to announce that following the huge success, Son of Babylon has been chosen as Iraq’s official entry in the run up to the nominations for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards.

The awards, better known as the Oscars, are amongst the most prestigious awards a film can win and Son of Babylon’s backing, by Iraq’s Ministry of Culture, goes some of the way to show how the power of cinema can bring pride and unity to a troubled country. If nominated, Son of Babylon will be the first Iraqi film to be in the running for this award, and as a low budget feature film, this is a historic feat for the film and filmmakers.

Based on true events and the repercussions of living under Saddam’s tyranny, this film seeks to help heal the wounds of Iraq and aid the country on its quest to unity and reconciliation of the past, allowing the country to move forward towards a brighter future. The film’s humanitarian content has globally impacted audiences, critics and juries alike, picking up the Peace Award and the Amnesty International Film award at Berlin IFF this year. The film has been critically acclaimed for it’s visual aesthetics, collecting the Artistic Achievement award at Cinema City (Serbia), and received a special mention at Edinburgh IFF in June. Whilst the director Mohamed Al-Daradji was honoured with an Emerging Master spotlight this year at Seattle IFF and Cinema City IFF.

Son of Babylon was catapulted into the international spotlight during it’s North American premiere at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival 2010; the festival’s Sundance Institute was the first to spot the potential in the film and it’s makers from a very early stage, getting involved with the project in development. Now with the prospect of inclusion in the Academy Awards, the filmmakers will realise their dreams to revive Iraq’s fledgling cultural legacy, as well as being recognised for the highly creative and artistic merit of the film.

Alongside the film, the charity IRAQ’S MISSING CAMPAIGN (IMC) is being launched and hopes to find answers as to the whereabouts of those missing loved ones since Saddam’s regime. The campaign, which reflects the reality of the film’s central theme, is gathering momentum and hopes to bring international recognition and aid to the identification of bodies unearthed in Iraq’s mass graves. Son of Babylon’s selection for a potential nomination of an Academy Award would mean the human rights atrocities that the film and campaign speak out about, could be propelled into the international spotlight creating awareness alongside the film, allowing significant steps to be made towards the rebuilding of Iraq.

Son of Babylon is the second film by the director and shows a mature and artistic progression in his vision and storytelling from festival favorite Ahlaam; Al-Daradji’s debut feature. His most recently completed documentary Iraq: War, Love, God & Madness is set to hit the festival circuit later this year.† The cultural impact on Iraq cannot be underestimated and with Son of Babylon being such a visual masterpiece, as well as a compelling human story, it is a well-deserved recognition, which the Academy Award voters cannot deny has all the elements an Oscar winning film should have:
NOTES :

For information on the film or filmmakers, press, EPK, marketing and interview opportunities please contact Human Film | Office +44 113 243 8880 | cecily@humanfilm.co.uk

Ahlaam: screened at over 125 international film festivals and received more than 22 Awards also represented Iraq for Oscar and Golden Globe consideration in 2007.

Son of Babylon has succeeded in creating a bridge of unity between the West and the Middle East, through the shared vision of Human Film (UK/NL), Iraq Al-Rafidain (IRAQ), Crm-114 (FRANCE), Cinema Production Centre (Palestine), Sundance Institute (US), UK Film Council, Screen Yorkshire, UK Trade & Investment (UK), Fond Sud & CNC (France), Hivos, Doen, Nederlands Fonds voor de Film and Rotterdam Media Fonds (Netherlands), Royal Film Commission (Jordan), Sunnyland Film ART, Mawred Fund (Egypt), Pyramedia and ADACH (UAE), world sales with Roissy Films, Paris.

Iraq: War, Love, God & Madness is an 82 minute film looking at the harrowing, perilous living conditions in post-invasion Baghdad. Caught between local militias, foreign fighters and suspicious American forces, Mohamed Al-Daradji and his motley crew of volunteers face immense danger and huge hurdles as they try to make art in a war† zone. I would welcome the opportunity to send you a copy of the film for possible consideration.

IMC: The Iraq’s Missing Campaign was established in 2010 to provide direct practical relief and support to the relatives of missing and disappeared persons in Iraq and is founded by Isabelle Stead (Producer), Mohamed Al-Daradji (Director) and Atia Al-Daradji (Producer) http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/iraqs-missing-campaign† http://www.iraqsmissing.org

Advertisements

Our petition goes global

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Please sign and share our online petition :

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/iraqs-missing-campaign

As well as reaching our aim of 10,000 signatures, we would also like to aim to have the petition signed by someone in nearly every country of the world. Please see the map below to view all countries in which the petition has been signed. If you know anyone in an unmarked country please forward them the petition.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=110125737516635579227.00048ac93517f83eaf133&ll=65.07213,84.375&spn=137.816496,78.75&z=1


IMC website goes live

In Uncategorized on July 8, 2010 at 9:26 am

The Iraq’s Missing Website is now live at :

www.iraqsmissing.org

Iraq’s Missing visit to the International Commission on Missing Persons in Bosnia and Hercegovina

In Iraq's Missing, Mass graves on May 25, 2010 at 10:28 am

Dear Campaigners,

A representative of the Iraq’s Missing campaign recently visited Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH), to tour the facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). Based in Sarajevo, but with offices throughout BiH and in other countries, the ICMP specialises in DNA-assisted identification of bodies.

Sarajevo at dusk

The ICMP was established by an initiative of Bill Clinton at the G-7 summit in 1996 to support the Dayton Peace Accords, with a view “to ensure the cooperation of governments in locating and identifying those who have disappeared during armed conflict or as a result of human rights violations.” Since then, its efforts have led to the successful identification of over 15,000 people in BiH, and many others who died as a result of the Asian Tsunami, the September 11th attacks in New York, Hurricane Katrina, and other disasters and conflicts around the world.

Since establishing itself in BiH, the ICMP has significantly expanded its role in other countries, providing, for example, assistance in the form of training, to the Iraqi government.

The purpose of the visit was to gather information about the work of the ICMP in BiH and Iraq and to research the process of identification, to establish what degree the process is suitable for the situation in Iraq.

Iraq’s Missing visited the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP); located in Tuzla in the shadow of the Majevica Mountains, around a three-hour drive from the capital. Tuzla was once famous for it’s salt mines (the name “Tusla” derives from the Turkish word for salt). Following the massacre of over 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica (almost all of them male), the bodies were stored in the city’s abandoned salt mines, where they were attacked by rats and water.

Inside the PIP's storage room

The PIP was established to deal specifically with identifying the victims of this atrocity and storing the remains more appropriately.  At PIP forensic anthropologists and pathologists conduct detailed human remains analysis, overseen by a criminologist who coordinates the cases. Post-mortem examinations are combined with ante-mortem data (information provided by the families about their loved one’s condition before their death), personal effects and DNA match reports, and results are coordinated with local identification authorities to return identified remains to their families.

At present, there are around 500 sets of mortal remains stored at PIP.

Graves at the Potocari memorial

Tuzla is also home the information ‘hub’ of ICMP activities worldwide. The Identification Coordination Division (ICD) – housed in an old sports centre where killings took place during the war – is where samples of blood, data analysis and all case information is processed. Samples are then sent to laboratories where DNA testing takes place and missing persons files are compiled at the ICD.

All data and information is made anonymous by a process of bar code tracking which protects, amongst other things, the ethnic origin of the victim – something that should be replicated in any efforts to identify victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq.

Plaque at Potocari calls for justice

Iraq’s Missing also had the pleasure of meeting with Hatidža Mehmedović, an outspoken member of a group of mothers who lost their loved ones in the massacre. She and her friends were vocal in pushing to get a memorial site built at Potocari, which is now home to more than 3,000 of the dead. At the memorial, a plaque (written in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, English and Arabic) reads: “In the name of God the most merciful, the most compassionate. We pray to almighty God, May grievance become hope! May revenge become justice! May mothers’ tears become prayers that Srebrenica never happens to no-one, nowhere!”


Kuwait finds Gulf War mass grave of Iraq troops

In Gulf War 1991, Mass graves on May 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

by Diana Elias

GULF WAR: Kuwaiti authorities have found a mass grave of 55 Iraqi soldiers killed in the 1991 Gulf War.

Kuwaiti authorities have found a mass grave of 55 Iraqi soldiers killed in the 1991 Gulf War, the state news agency KUNA said on Thursday.

Iraqi military badges and death certificates issued by the US-led coalition forces that fought the war with Iraq were found in the grave, an Interior Ministry spokesman told the agency.

The remains will be handed to Iraq through the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The search for the mass grave in northern Kuwait started based on tips from the ICRC and a Kuwaiti committee that has been trying to determine the fate of some 600 Kuwaitis and others who disappeared in the Gulf crisis that was sparked by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, he said.

More than 360 Kuwaitis and others who lived in Kuwait when Iraq invaded it are still unaccounted for. Remains of the rest were found in mass graves in Iraq.

Mohamed al-Daradji on The Fabulous Picture Show

In Iraqi films, Son of Babylon on April 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm

The segment on Son of Babylon starts around 6 minutes in:

Iraqi Kurds lay Saddam’s child victims to rest

In Anfal (1987-1989), Mass graves on April 28, 2010 at 11:12 pm

» Prime Minister Barham Salih (right) and former Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani carry the coffin of one of the children

* No DNA tests available to identify remains

* Most children died of hunger, disease
By Sherko Raouf for Reuters

CHAMCHAMAL, Iraq (Reuters) – The remains of more than 100 unidentified children who died of hunger and disease during a harsh crackdown on Iraqi Kurds by Saddam Hussein were buried on Tuesday in the Kurdish town of Chamchamal.

The children were detained with their families in 1988 in the town 65 km (40 miles) south of Sulaimaniya, which is 260 km northeast of Baghdad, and from surrounding villages during a wave of arrests made by the former government in April 1988.

In a solemn ceremony on a breezy, overcast day, Kurdish peshmerga fighters in full-dress uniform carried more than 100 small coffins draped in Kurdish flags and laid them in a cemetery created especially for the young victims of oppression. The bodies of two women were also buried.

Around 4,000 people attended and a brass band played solemn music throughout the ceremony.

The arrests were part of the “Anfal” campaign aimed at suppressing the Kurds, whom the regime regarded with suspicion.

The detainees were sent to prison in Dibis, northeast of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. Many of the children died of hunger and disease and were later buried in mass graves. Their bodies were exhumed after Saddam’s fall in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Saddam’s ouster was followed by a bloody and devastating sectarian war. The country has been comparatively stable over the past year despite continuing bombings but there are concerns protracted coalition talks following inconclusive elections in March could push Iraq back into sectarian conflict.

A spike in violence could delay U.S. plans to end combat operations in August ahead of a pullout by the end of 2011.

The ceremony on Tuesday was attended by Barham Salih, the prime minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government, other leading Kurdish officials, foreign diplomats and thousands of family members of Anfal victims.

Kurdish Health Minister Taher Hawrami told Reuters the regional government lacked the equipment to perform DNA tests on the children to ascertain their identities. None of the children had been identified.

“It is very difficult to identify the victims at the current time,” he said. “We will take samples from the bodies and we will make DNA tests” when testing facilities become available.

Zeinat Fatah, 59, said she was held in Dibis with her two sons, who were aged eight and four. Both sons died of starvation in 1988. Her husband was killed during the campaign.

“Who are my sons?” she asked, weeping over the fact that her children’s remains had not been identified.

“We were left starving with no food for about 10 days, she said. “Many children died. I am a widow with no sons. I’ll cry for them until the end of my life.”

New Amnesty report accuses authorities of failing to protect civilians

In Refugees, US-led occupation (2003-?) on April 27, 2010 at 10:47 am

UK among countries defying UN over returning refused asylum-seekers despite violence

Amnesty International has today called on the Iraqi authorities to urgently step up the protection of civilians amid a recent surge of violence in the country.

Groups like religious and ethnic minorities, journalists, women and girls, and men perceived to be gay have particularly been targeted, said Amnesty, as it published a 28-page report – Iraq: civilians under fire – accusing the Iraqi authorities of failing to protect those at risk.

Ongoing uncertainty over when a new Iraqi government will be formed has led to a recent spike in attacks, with more than 100 civilian deaths in the first week of April alone.

The report also points out that the UK is among several European countries defying current United Nations guidelines over not returning refused asylum-seekers to extremely dangerous parts of Iraq. For example, in October the UK forcibly removed 44 Iraqis to Baghdad. In the event this led to a reported stand-off with Iraqi soldiers boarding the plane on arrival; 34 of the group were eventually flown back to the UK.

Son of Babylon director on Al-Jazeera’s The Fabulous Picture Show

In Iraq's Missing, Iraqi films, Son of Babylon on April 26, 2010 at 10:10 pm
Son of Babylon

Iraqi director Mohamed al-Daradji first appeared on The Fabulous Picture Show back in 2007, when we screened his first feature, Ahlaam, about three psychiatric patients in chaotic post-Saddam Baghdad.

It was one of the first films to be shot in Iraq after the American invasion began, and conditions could hardly have been more harrowing – the production team literally dodged bullets, and Mohamed was even kidnapped twice.

Mohamed’s latest feature, Son of Babylon, is also set just after the fall of Saddam in 2003. It follows a Kurdish boy, Ahmed, and his grandmother on a macabre road-trip as they search for Ahmed’s father, a soldier missing since the first Gulf war.

Their quest leads them to some of the mass graves where thousands of bodies have been discovered, and continue to be found – chilling evidence of Saddam’s bloody legacy.

Mohammed has used the film to help launch the ‘Iraq’s Missing’ campaign, which aims to identify the countless bodies still lying in mass graves.

He talks to FPS about the cast’s profound emotional journey while filming Son of Babylon, and the importance of forgiveness in Iraq today.

This episode of The Fabulous Picture Show can be seen from Thursday, April 29, at the following times GMT: Thursday: 0600; Friday: 0030, 0830; Saturday: 2330; Sunday: 0630, 2130; Monday: 1430; Tuesday: 0530, 1230; Wednesday: 0300; Thursday 0030.

Fallujah: The Real Story

In Mass graves, Massacre of Fallujah April/November 2004, US-led occupation (2003-?) on April 21, 2010 at 12:11 am

“It was billed as a resounding military success. Over 1,200 insurgents were meant to have been killed and another 2,000 trapped inside Fallujah. But now this version of events is being challenged. Far from being crushed, rebels claim they left the city in an organised withdrawal. “It was a tactical move,” explains insurgent leader Alazaim Abuthe. “The fighters decided to redeploy to Amiriya.” Before they left, fighters booby-trapped many bodies. People are too scared to move them so the corpses lie rotting all over the city. Rabid dogs feed off them and then attack returning residents. Far from stabilising Iraq in preparation for this month’s election, the assault on Falluja has fanned the flames of civil war. Today Fallujans are too busy trying to stay alive in freezing refugee camps to worry about ballot papers that haven’t arrived for an election they have no intention of voting in. As one resident comments, ‘We’re not interested in this sort of democracy.'”