May 10 update from Voices

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Monday, May 12, 2003 at 2:22PM :

Dear Friends,

Experiences of Iraq Peace Team members during months leading up to
Operation "Shock and Awe" and throughout the US bombing, invasion and
occupation confirm for us the simple adage: "Where you stand determines
what you see." Today we read several reports of ongoing chaos,
exchanges of gunfire, and outbreaks of water-borne diseases, such as
cholera, which the World Health Organization warns could become
epidemic. As we continue to focus a spotlight on Iraq, we agree with Mil Rai,
of Voices in the Wilderness UK, who insists that in order to prevent a "next"
war we must effectively counter the propaganda surrounding this current war
and occupation.

We're indebted to Voices in the Wilderness members living in Iraq to help
us gain insights into experiences of ordinary Iraqi people as they try to cope
with the aftermath of "Operation Iraqi Freedom." In the desperately poor Al
Thawra district, three generations in one family spoke with Caiohme Butterly,
a Voices delegate currently in Iraq, about the uncertainty and apprehension
they now face:

"It is like waking up from an operation," said Dr. Karim. "The anaesthetic not
quite worn off, one slowly trying to get a sense of things around oneself,
trying to discern shapes, objects. There is pain, and fear, and apprehension
dulled a little by the anaesthetic, but still there. It is pure, and complete
confusion, we feel we are dreaming, waking up from one nightmare, the
previous regime, perhaps to descend into another."

A neighbor, a young engineering student, explains, "Perhaps we have less
to fear than others. We have little to lose. The services the municipal
authorities once provided to others, we never received, because of this we
don't miss them in their absence. We are used to surviving with little
resources. The only thing the government ever brought us was suffering. Our
people are our only resource. We are an oil state, but look at the poverty we
live in."

His mother agrees, "Oil is our curse. It brought us nothing but tragedy under
Saddam. It will bring us nothing under the Americans. They should not have
subjected us to another war."

"But let me dream," says Karim's father. "Maybe they have changed."

Today the U.S. presents to the UN its resolution, calling for a lifting of
sanctions and further the appropriation and authority of Iraqi oil sales to be
dictated solely by the US and UK. To our dismay, and to further devastation
for Iraqi people, their struggle to regain control of their resources and right
live in peace is once again dictated by a power that does not represent
them. The United States has insisted on the implementation of sanctions for
13 years, sanctions that have killed innocents, among them children, the
sick, the elderly, and now have the nerve to criticize anyone that questions
their intentions, as made evident by comments made by Ari Fleicher this
week: "There is no reason for the people of Iraq to suffer sanctions any

There has not been a single, justifiable reason for Iraqi people to suffer for
over 13 years. Economic sanctions are inherently criminal, as they fail time
and time again to achieve any goal beyond the punishment of people. We
stand for the lifting of economic sanctions, as their continuation will only
prolong the desperately needed reconstruction of civilian infrastructure and
transport of much needed medical aid and supplies. We support their
removal and the commitment to realizing their abolition, and the recognition
of economic sanctions as both a failed and genocidal policy. We continue
to oppose the umbrella of military violence, occupation, corporate control,
and foreign developed leadership that Iraqis have been told is their

Like Karim, we too dream that things can change. We dream that Iraqis will
at last be able to live without the fear of a brutal dictator or a corrupt
U.S.-installed regime, without incessant threats from foreign invaders and
the perpetual violence that has been waged against them for far too long,
and without the sanctions that have robbed them of their ability to maintain
their health, society, and economy. We also dream of a U.S. where our
money is not concentrated in the militarization of our society, where we feel
represented in our own communities and governments, and where all
people are granted education and medical care.

There is much work to be done. Please continue to stay with us. We need
each other now to continue the work more than ever.


Kathy Kelly
Bitta Mostofi
Danny Muller
Ceylon Mooney
for Voices in the Wilderness

-- Sadie
-- signature .

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