Shortly after three o’clock on a hot afternoon 37-year-old Nazif Mamik Tofik, an Iraqi Kurd, approached the border post carrying two five-gallon canisters of fuel. She hoped to cross to the Kurdish-controlled side and sell them for a pound or two, which would help feed her eight hungry children.

As she stepped up to the Iraqi checkpoint, a military policeman suddenly pulled a knife, slashed open the flimsy plastic containers and splashed petrol all over her. Then the head of the Iraqi border guard casually walked up to her, pulled a lighter from his pocket and set her ablaze. Soaked in fuel, she began to burn like a torch. That was on Monday afternoon. Yesterday Nazif lay in Sulaimania emergency hospital, on the Iraqi side, whimpering with pain. She had third degree burns and doctors said she was lucky to be alive….

In a faltering voice, she said: “They said absolutely nothing, just looked at me with hatred. Then they set me alight. My whole body was in flames. I can’t describe the pain.”

Comments the doctor treating her,

“It will be a month before her skin begins to heal. Only then can we begin the slow, painful process of grafting.” [Daily Telegraph, 3/7/03]

So the next time you see an antiwar-monger crying about the “innocents” who might be killed by Saddam when the U.S. overthrows Iraq, think of Nazif Mamik Tofik. [Thanks to Paul Blair for the news sighting.]

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