Fallujah begins work on terror victim monument

Work is under way at the site of Fallujah's new monument for the victims of terrorism. [Mohammad al-Qaisi/Mawtani]

Work is under way at the site of Fallujah's new monument for the victims of terrorism. [Mohammad al-Qaisi/Mawtani]

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Work has begun on a new monument in Fallujah that will honour victims of terrorism and memorialise the destruction that has struck the Anbar province city in recent years.

Anbar's local government is funding the project, which kicked off December 17th, and workers say the monument should be finished by July or August 2013.

The monument is located in the centre of Fallujah, Anbar governor Qassim al-Fahdawi told Mawtani, "and its construction is being supervised by an Iraqi construction company and a number of Iraqi sculptors".

Similar monuments will be built in other Anbar cities to memorialise victims of terror, al-Fahdawi said.

The Fallujah monument "is meant to be a remembrance of our beloved ones who were taken from us by blind hatred and a wave of terror", he said. "It is also a reminder to all of what might happen if we allowed terrorism to be in control of our society again."

The monument will be built from stone and black and white marble and will stand 10 metres high when completed, al-Fahdawi said. It will be a landmark -- elevated so that anyone entering or leaving the city will see it.

"The monument is composed of a large base of an 8-metre diameter, from which a mast of an Iraqi flag rises up, supported by a band of arms, representing the unity of the world -- and that of the Iraqis in particular -- against terrorism," he said. "A number of white pigeons splashed with blood are strewn near a poisonous snake, which represents terrorism."

Fallujah district council chairman Hameed al-Hashem told Mawtani the idea for the monument was conceived during a conference that compared the city's pre-2008 condition to its condition now and sought to single out negative and positive aspects of the city's reconstruction. Officials also wanted to incorporate the ideas of young people in developing the city.

Al-Hashem said the idea for the monument "was born out by the city's youth who endured that phase and survived it with difficulty".

Additionally, he said, "a number of citizens and businessmen made generous donations to help build the monument, out of their belief that any work that immortalizes victims of terrorism and condemns the terrorists would be a service to humanity and religion, which was built on goodwill, peace and compassion, and not as the current killers interpret it."

Taha Maarouf, a craftsman and construction supervisor, said the final project should be completed within eight months and will include a surrounding garden, benches where people can sit and a blank wall on which visitors can write messages.

"We are still in the first phase, which includes levelling the land, digging the foundations and then pouring the concrete mortar," he said. "This is expected to last about six weeks due to the continuing rainfall on the city."

Maarouf said he and four other artists had turned down payment because the memorial honours their families, "including my son and the son of a colleague, who were killed in a terrorist car bomb explosion three years ago".

"The work will be strictly dedicated to those who were deprived of the gift of life without having committed any wrong," he said. "It will also be a reminder to the killers and terrorists -- who are still lurking among us -- every time they pass by it to know the extent of their lowliness and the amount of contempt the people feel towards them."

'The monument is a message of peace'

"The value of the memorial monument is more than immortalizing the victims and condemning the terrorists by depicting them as snakes," said Jabbar Ali al-Alwani, chairman of the "Peace organisation", a civil society group that cares for terrorism victims and those disabled by attacks. "Rather, it is a message of peace to all the city visitors, confirming that the people of Fallujah reject and condemn terrorism."

"The city residents try in any way to immortalise the city's martyrs by visiting their graves, or giving their streets the names of religious leaders, security men or children who were killed in terrorist attacks," Fallujah mayor Adnan al-Dulaimi told Mawtani.

"I believe the monument will be a crowning achievement of their attempts to commemorate victims of terrorism, as well as renouncing it," he said.

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    سيف احمد

    2013-1-4

    Terrorism is not only found in Iraq, but also its roots extended further and further. This does not mean that the rights of the Iraqi victims who lost their lives in these terrorist operations would be lost. However, I see that commemorating the fall of those victims means much to their families, who are certain that the whole world has forgotten their victims because of the countless number of the martyrs in Iraq. The people remember such operations if they killed millions of the people, but if they killed only hundreds, then, this does not mean much to the Iraqi government, because it considers it a simple incident. If this was for example, in the USA or any other large state, the whole world would pay attention to it and they are right to do so because such events are rare there, while it is very natural in Iraq and it happens hundreds of times and there is nothing new in this.

  • سرمد العقابي

    2013-1-4

    I see that the memorials could be beneficial in order to remember the martyrs who died because of terrorism. The more we stress the fact that the martyr who was killed without any guilt must be honored and revered and that the terrorists would be executed at the same place where we remember the souls of our martyrs, we will make the youth and the children think that the souls of the martyrs are hovering over this place. They can also remember the filthy soul that killed the martyr too. However, I see that the businesspersons can contribute to this work, but what is the problem if we established a memorial for all the martyrs of terrorism in Iraq in addition to the schools, hospitals, and orphanages to be named after the martyrs. These activities should be in cooperation between the government and the businesspersons, side by side with the memorials. I see that the other solution is more beneficial and it would immortalize the names of the martyrs of Iraq. We want to keep their perfume among us with or without memorials. The life of the martyr live among us while we are unaware as God commanded us in his book.

  • عمر المعموري

    2013-1-2

    Building memorials in Iraq under the auspices of Iraqi businessmen is very beautiful, it is a revival of the spirit of the martyr. When the mother of the martyr wants to remember her son, she would go to this memorial and when she sees the name of her son, she would feel proud that her son was a hero and a pride for his country and his homeland so she will never consider him dead in vain. It also represents a value and status for the Iraqi people, there are voices saying that this thing is unnecessary. But, I find it important and inevitable. I do not object it be sponsored by businessmen so as not to be a burden on the state and to keep the name of the martyr immortalized in squares and also for sake of the child as when he grows up, he would go to see the name of his brother or his father, who died in the degrading terrorist bombings in Iraq. This is not harmful, and the cost of building this memorial is not the only thing to consider, what is more important for us than the financial cost is its moral value. We have to genuinely care about those who lost their lives without a reason, there is nothing to prevent having a memory in a certain place in order for everyone who wants to remember him or visit the memorial. He will become a pride for his family, country and relatives and this is the least thing which the Iraqi state can offer for his death. Terrorists will realize that the blood of the children of the homeland is precious, and we have to honor it and take retribution in the same place of this memorial, God willing.

  • سيف العرب

    2013-1-2

    I don't think there is a need for such memorials right now. I think, it is more important and more useful to build housing units to the youth and children or hospitals and schools because this is unmindful spending. Memorials are nothing but bragging and mutual boasting of countries before each other. There is no real benefit from such thing. The capacities of the Iraqi businessmen are supposed to be used in anything other than building such memorial, something that would have a great benefit on the Iraqi society. There are many Iraqi youth in a need of a place to live, education institutions and health institutions to get treatment. I do not think the memory of the martyr will be immortalized by such memorial because remembering the martyr should be in the heart. God says that we should not think that the martyr is dead, but rather alive in our hearts and lives, but we do not feel him. The building that they want is not a memorial that will immortalize the name of the martyr or make him mentioned constantly by the people. I bet that the mother of the martyr would not be able to find the name of her son on the memorial. In fact, we have to focus on what is more important and nothing else. The Iraqi businessmen can make the true glories of Iraq in the real investment and commerce, and not by spending the money on unnecessary thing. At the end, we get nothing from posting the names of those who got killed, or who did such and such, without true benefit to Iraq.

  • عراقي حر

    2012-12-28

    I would like to address the great Iraqis who have challenged Saddam, his tyranny and injustice and found the path of freedom. I would like to address Iraqis who have expelled the Americans putting the bitterness of losses behind them to help their Security Services eradicate terrorism and terrorists in Iraq. They have to make a strong union with the Police in order to put an end to terrorism as soon as possible.