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Photo of the Day: Childhood cut short in Baghdad E-mail this
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Jeff Severns Guntzel, Electronic Iraq, Oct 20, 2008

The captions to the photo essay that accompanies the recent Los Angeles Times piece on childhood in Sadr City are snapshots enough. View Raheem Salman's photos here. Read the story the captions tell here:

• Karrar Raad, 12, works in a muffler shop in Sadr City. His brother Allawi, who is only 10, works in the adjacent garage. The owner offered them work, paying about $3 a day, after he saw them scavenging for cans — a dangerous living in bomb-prone Baghdad. Their father is ill and has no job, so the two are the breadwinners for a family of 10.

• Ali Kadhim Baidani, right, tries to fix his tractor with the help of an unidentified friend. With his father unable to work, Ali uses the tractor to collect garbage for a local contractor, starting at 5 a.m. each morning until 2 in the afternoon. "The happiest moment for me,” he said, “is when I receive money from the contractor and give it to my father to spend on my family."

• Sajjad Hassan Saadi, 12, quit school in the 4th grade to earn a living selling government rationed flour diverted to the black market. It's illegal but unremarked upon in Iraq. He can earn $8 to $12 a day, but on a recent afternoon, he had no money in his pockets. He fears he has no future unlike other children who go to school.

• An Iraqi boy drinks from a broken pipe in Sadr City. A United Nations report found that 94% of boys in Iraq attend elementary school, but that number drops to 44% by high school. For girls, 81% start elementary school; 31% go on to attend high school.

• An teacher leads a class on the first day of school at Al Rasafi elementary in Sadr City after the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the Eid al Fitr holidays.

• A young boy watches worshipers during Friday prayers in Sadr City. Children in the poor walled-in Shiite Muslim neighborhood have been shaped by war and poverty. They are witnesses to sectarian violence, Shiite militias, angry sermons and troops patrolling.

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Page last updated: Oct 20, 2008 - 9:38:02 AM

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