Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Iraq Universities Near Collapse

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Iraq's universities are "near collapse" as a result of sectarian violence that has intimidated and killed faculty and students alike.

"Hundreds of professors and students have been killed or kidnapped, hundreds more have fled, and those who remain face daily threats of violence," reports the Chronicle.

At the University of Baghdad alone, 78 professors have been killed since 2003. Professors get threats with bullets sent through internal university mail and notes tacked to office doors. The Wall Street Journal reports an incident in which "gun-toting young men walked into a professor's office and demanded that she add the works of a Shiite cleric to the reading for a humanities class, alongside Heidegger and Kant."

This is just one example of how religious extremists in Iraq have systematically targeted that country's elites--doctors, lawyers, engineers, academics, schoolteachers--forcing many to flee as refugees to other countries. Without these more highly educated Iraqis, the future of the country is bleak, indeed.

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