** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website **


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 assassinations.

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

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 Geneva.


*You can sign this petition online
* or write to

if you want to support the campaign.

This petition was launched by the B/Russell/s 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 principal endorsers

See also the call for action underneath and more information on

Other languages: NL – 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 hegemony.

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 with Iraqi student organisations.

5. We urge that educators mobilise colleagues and concerned citizens to
take up the cause of the salvation of Iraq’s intellectual wealth, by
organising seminars, teach-ins and forums on the plight of Iraq’s

The world’s academics and intellectuals must act now to save the lives
of their colleagues in Iraq.

[The B/Russell/s Tribunal, in cooperation with other organisations, has
started to build a network of contacts and raise public awareness and
can provide information and support to individuals and groups who wish
to mobilise on this issue. We are able to act as a depository and hub
for this campaign]


Other languages: NL – Spanish – Arabic – Japanese – Portuguese: **
**Read the petition*
* **