Posted by Stella from dsc02-chc-il-7-99.rasserver.net (188.8.131.52) on Thursday, March 27, 2003 at 1:59AM :
by Cathy Breen, RN
March 26, 2003
It is impossible to describe. It is like we are submerged in a glowing yellow-orange cloud here in the city. Our Iraqi friends say they have never seen anything like it. It is eerier than any science fiction film I've ever seen. Some say it is caused by a combination of the burning oil and the
billowing smoke from the bombs. Both near and far the bombs continue to fall.
Heavy bombing woke me out of a deep sleep last night. Earlier I'd been on the telephone with a friend who told me that in her neighborhood a missile had struck the day before wounding 29 and killing 5. Among the dead was a 12 year old. "Cathy" she said, "please tell them (the U.S.) to stop talking about humanitarian aide." Apparently this keeps coming on over the television news. "Please tell them to shut up!" How ludicrous to speak of humanitarian aide as the country is being bombed, people being killed and wounded and their homes destroyed!
The Bush administration said a couple of days ago that the war has been
successful because so far there have been only 500 casualties. I am anxious to get word to you about some of these "casualties" as I've been to the trauma hospitals these last 3 days to see for myself. This is not to mention the trauma of fear and terror of the bombing which has no end. As I write
you the bombs continue and the windows threaten to explode. Should I move
somewhere else? There really is no safe place.
Let me tell you about Amar, a 7 year old boy whom I saw in the hospital this
morning. He has an emergency chest tube to drain blood as he suffered
multiple shell injuries. His mother, Hannah, died in the direct hit to their house this morning. He is from a farming village on the outskirts of Baghdad. Then there is Mueen, 8 years old also the son of a farmer, but from
another area. He is in the bed alongside Amar and also has a drainage tube.
But his is from the abdomen. The doctor showed us a plastic bag holding
parts of his small intestine which had to be removed during surgery in order to try and get to all of the shrapnel. His father died in that bombing, and his 6 year old brother Ali was wounded in the head.
Shall I go on? Ten year old Rusel was wounded in an explosion outside her
door. We saw the shrapnel in her chest on the Xray and she too has a chest tube. Her right hand is fractured. I had seen her yesterday and to my surprise she remembered me. We played with the finger puppet of the frog for a moment and I decided to leave it with her. I told her that I was going to
tell other children what a brave little girl she is. Her father said "Bush said he'd bring democracy to Iraq. This is not democracy. This is terrorism!"
Nada Adnan is a 14 year old high school student who came in with a deep gash
and fracture to her right forehead. She also has a hunk of shrapnel in her upper thigh.. Some of our folks were present when she and her family were brought into the hospital. Her mother had to be restrained as she was so
distraught. A missile had crashed into her uncle's home where they were staying, causing the walls to collapse. Nada's 8 year old sister had died as a result. Nada said "Is this good what is happening here? How many children have been killed? How many wars they've done to us? And we have so much
pain.All the countries know that Bush has committed a crime."
An elderly woman, Fatima, had fallen in fear during the bombing and fractured her hip. She had already had surgery for the hip, but her ankle too is in a cast and her knee is wounded. Mohammed her husband said "We are
not the enemy or against you. We love freedom for everyman, for every human
in the world. Bush is not human. He is the enemy against humanity."
We meet Ali and his wife in the hospital, the parents of four young children. They tell us that they want the war to stop for the children's sake, for the mothers. They say that families are all leaving their homes to run away from the bombs. They try and stay all together at one of their
relatives homes. "If we die, we want to die together." Ali works in a food shop, they explain. But all of the stores are closed and there is no work.
No money coming in. The children no longer go to school. All of their children are fearful and hiding under the covers.
And Mr. Bush says the war is successful. Children maimed for life. Children
orphaned in an instant. Their homes destroyed. Their young men forced to
fight. A peaceful people visited by unspeakable terror and violence. Oh tell
me Mr. Bush, what should I do with my anger, with my rage? Can you tell me
what to say to the people here when they ask me what have they done?, when they ask me why is this happening?
They know I am from America. As I meet their questioning eyes and despairing
expressions I have no words. Mr. Bush, shall I tell them that the war so far is a success. I can only say "I'm sorry" on behalf of us all. And, please
God stay the hand of my nation.
Cathy Breen, 54, is from New York City and is in Baghdad as a delegate of the Iraq Peace Team. A health and human rights worker Cathy has lived in many places, including Panama, Puerto Rico, and Germany. She later studied Geriatric nursing and worked as a nurse in Hamburg, Germany, as well as
obtaining an R.N. degree in the United States. She spent 10 years in Bolivia, working in the area of health and human rights. She was a founding member of Andean Information Network, a grassroots non-governmental organization, where her work focused largely on documenting and publicizing the negative effects of U.S."War on Drugs" in Bolivia and the human rights
abuses (arbitrary detentions, wounded, deaths) that were/are a direct effect
of those policies. This work took her to Washington, DC, to the U.S. State
Department and Senators' offices.
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