Technology with attitude

Iraqi men tattoo IDs on their bodies

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Iraqi man with ID tattoo on his thigh.
It’s so when they turn up dead, their relatives will be able to identify them even if they’ve been tortured, mutilated or blown up.

Ali Abbas decided that his upper right thigh was the best place for a tattoo because no one gets tortured there.

He’d seen hundred of bodies in the city morgue and dozens of hospitals during his 18-day search for his missing uncle. He’d seen drill marks in swollen, often unrecognizable heads, slash marks across necks, bullet holes in backs, abdomens and swollen hands. He’d seen bodies that had been thrown into the river, so swollen they’d barely looked human. But by and large, the thighs had been intact.

So that’s where he decided to have his name, address and phone number tattooed, in case the day comes when someone is searching for his body.

Tattoos are considered a sin in Islam, which holds that believers shouldn’t deface their bodies. And tattoo shops are difficult to find in Baghdad. They’re often in the basements of more reputable shops.

But at least some tattoo shops are seeing more and more Iraqis who, like Abbas, are willing to risk offending Islam to ease their families’ grief in the event of their deaths. The owner of one tattoo shop in central Baghdad admitted that he’d done such tattoos, but said he didn’t want to talk about it for fear that he’d be killed.

Yep, things are going swimmingly. I’m sure the only reason Iraqis are doing this is because Western reporters are underreporting the good news.