atwar_bahjat.jpeg The Sunday Times: Part of me died when I saw this cruel killing (by Hala Jaber): Even by the stupefying standards of Iraq’s unspeakable violence, the murder of Atwar Bahjat, one of the country’s top television journalists, was an act of exceptional cruelty.

First she was stripped to the waist, a humiliation for any woman but particularly so for a pious Muslim who concealed her hair, arms and legs from men other than her father and brother.

Then her arms were bound behind her back. A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.

Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left.

She had nine drill holes in her right arm and 10 in her left…. The drill had also been applied to her legs, her navel and her right eye. One can only hope that these mutilations were made after her death.

We may never know who killed Bahjat or why. But the manner of her death testifies to the breakdown of law, order and justice that she so bravely highlighted and illustrates the importance of a cause she espoused with passion.

Bahjat advocated the unity of Iraq. She put it with her customary on-air eloquence on the last day of her life: “Whether you are a Sunni, a Shi’ite or a Kurd, there is no difference between Iraqis united in fear for this nation.”


America, you did not liberate Iraq. You have destroyed it.