Two stories that I have read in the print the last two weeks about Identity issues in the Arab world that are worth surfacing.
First of all this story in Newsweek Iraq:A Deadly Name Game
By law, all Iraqis carry jinsiyas, or national ID cards. But in a country where your ethnicity can make you a target, a jinsiya can become a death warrant. If your name is Omar you’re likely a Sunni Muslim, named after a seventh-century imam despised by Shiites. If you’re Amar or Aamer, pronounced almost the same, you could be from either sect. If you’re Ali, you’re probably Shiite. As a result, many Iraqis have started carrying two jinsiyas—a real one, and a fake one linking them to the rival sect. The demand for false ID cards has spiked as bodies pile up in the Baghdad morgue at the rate of 35 to 50 a day, frequently bound and blindfolded, a jinsiya in their shirt pocket.
It seems that we often think of identity in the context of western liberal democracy this situation in Iraq makes me wonder about what it means to make ‘really secure’ documents and identifying papers for people.