Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, July 07, 2006

Students Struggle with More than Just Final Exams

Joshua Partlow of the Washington Post reports that students at Baghdad University have more to fear than looming final exams. “Black-clad gunmen have stormed a dormitory to snatch students from their rooms,” Partlow reports, and “administrators curtailed graduation ceremonies to avoid convening large groups of people into an obvious bombing target.”

Thaer Abdul Naba, a student at the University, says that before he took his last exam in accounting for oil engineers, “a gunfight erupted outside his off-campus dorm.” He says that “for much of the day, he huddled with a group of students in a common room, away from widows and the unknown assailants.”

Partlow reports that “300 staff members have requested one-year leaves of absence to flee the violence, and about half of all professors will spend the summer out of the country or in Iraq’s more peaceful northern region.” Students are also looking to leave at the end of final exams. “We are suffering from this dangerous situation: the kidnappings, the gangs that are moving freely,” architecture student Tamara Muhanned said. Muhanned and her family are also going to be leaving the country for the summer.

Baghdad University, “within the concrete blast walls and barbed wire,” is “relatively calm compared with more overtly violent areas of Baghdad,” Partlow reports. Besides the violence, Baghdad University has gone through many other changes. “Under former president Saddam Hussein, university officials required that students study the political ideology and martial history of the ruling Baath Party. After the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, those classes disappeared, replaced on the curriculum with courses about democracy and human rights.”

To read this article in full click here.


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