AS VIOLENCE FALLS IN IRAQ, CEMETERY WORKERS FEEL THE PINCH
By Jay Price and Qasim Zein, McClatchy Newspapers
Tue Oct 16, 2:40 PM ET
NAJAF, Iraq — At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.
A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds....
...Dhurgham Majed al Malik, 48, whose family has arranged burial services for generations, said that this spring, private cars and taxis with caskets lashed to their roofs arrived at a rate of 6,500 a month. Now it's 4,000 or less, he said... The burials aren't expensive, usually $200 or less, but many people draw their income from them....
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