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Home >> World
UPDATED: 16:08, February 03, 2007
Feature: Tattoo, Iraqis' new means of identification under gloomy security situation
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In face of the gloomy security situation, many Iraqis fearing to be victims of the unidentified are turning to a new means of identification: tattoo.

According to local media, more and more Iraqis are tattooing their names, telephone numbers or residence addresses on their skins because of their fear of changing to be unidentified bodies after deaths in cases of kidnappings and killings on the hands of the armed groups or to be victims of the recurring explosions and random gunfire.

Xinhua has polled some Iraqis' views in Baghdad about this new phenomenon.

Abdullah Salim, a male citizen at about 40, told Xinhua that "I am assured now about my returning to my family if I will be exposed to any emergency case since I have tattooed my identity on my skin."

He added that he would never like to be buried in the cemeteries of the unknown as an unidentified body in a case of death.

Nasir Ahmed, a policeman, also told Xinhua that "I also tattooed my identity on my skin since I know very well that kidnappers or killers steal the killed documents from the bodies."

"The tattoo will not be removed from the skin easily, that's why I decided to make it to prove my identity," he explained.

Muheimin Abdullah, a trader, described the tattoo as a very good way to ease the operation of identification of the dead, saying "the tattoo of identity on the skin is not only confined to the security members. Some very important persons and traders have also done it, as I know."

An Iraqi police officer told Xinhua on condition of anonymity hinted that tattoo might be helpful for identification operation as "the problem is not limited to the loss of documents but the bodies themselves."

"Most of them (bodies) often bear signs of severe torture, including acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances, missing skin, broken bones, missing heads, missing eyes, missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails, so all these deformed bodies make the operation of distinguishing them so hard," he said.

However, Sabeeh al Ahmed, a specialist in skin diseases, has had a different view about the tattoo, saying "although tattoo is important in Iraqi lives nowadays to confirm their identities, it is unhealthy at the same time because of the pollution of the atmosphere which may cause the moldiness of the skin."

"The tattoo should be done by using sterilization materials," he said.

Violence rages in Iraq as sectarian killings, suicide attacks, bombings, abductions cause dozens of Iraqi casualties daily.

In twin suicide bombings attacks in a busy market in Hilla City 120 km south of Baghdad on Thursday night alone, some 57 people were killed and more than 150 wounded, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua.

According to the Iraqi police, its patrols find daily dozens of unidentified deformed bodies across the country, especially in the capital and delivered them to the morgue, wherein the afflicted Iraqis can have a look on the bodies to identify their killed relatives.

But many unidentified bodies which have no one to know them, who will be buried in the cemeteries of the unknown by the morgue after passing more than two months.

The Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has recently announced a new security plan, seeking to quell the sectarian violence and growing militia dominance that have pushed the country to the verge of a civil war.

Nowadays, Iraqis are eager to implement the plan effectively to guarantee security of the people and the society, observers here said, hoping "tattoo" identification will be the no-need means as soon as possible.

Source: Xinhua

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