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Thanks for the interview excerpt, Glen. Here are some further recent comments of Denis Halliday's: --------------------------------------------- U.N. Official Resigns over Iraqi Sanctions By Craig Aaron Denis Halliday had seen enough. A 34-year veteran of the United Nations, Halliday, 57, resigned from his post as U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq in late September to protest the continuation of economic sanc-tions against the country, which have been in place since 1990. Halliday, who is from Ireland, was in charge of the U.N. "oil- for-food" program, which allowed Iraq to sell $2 billion worth of oil every six months to purchase basic foods and medicine for more than 20 million people. Following his appointment in August 1997, Halliday became an outspoken critic of sanctions and succeeded in convincing the Security Council to double the size of the oil-for-food program last February. But after witnessing little change in the widespread malnutrition, mortality and social decay that afflicts the country, he stepped down. Halliday spoke with In These Times from New York. In These Times: Why did you resign from your post? Denis Halliday: The conditions in Iraq are appalling. Malnutrition is run-ning at about 30 percent for children under 5 years old. In terms of mortality, probably 5 or 6 thousand children are dying per month. This is directly attrib-utable to the impact of sanctions, which have caused the breakdown of the clean water system, health facilities and all the things that young children require. All of this is just not accept-able. I don't want to administer a program that results in these kind of figures. Sanctions are being sustained by member states, knowing of this calamity. I wanted to be in a position to speak out on sanctions and the dreadful impact that they are having on the people-particularly the children- and the future of Iraq. I want to work with different groups and see if we can come up with some alternatives to sanctions as a means of the United Nations imposing its will in situations where it's required. ITT: 'What are the social consequences of sanctions on Iraq? DH: The traditional Iraqi family has begun to disintegrate. Many of the wage earners are now overseas. Some of them have taken their families, many have not; there are an increasing num-ber of single-parent families, usually headed by women who are struggling to keep food on the table. Women now find themselves driven out of jobs and into menial tasks because they can't afford to do the intellectual type of work for the gov-ernment, the civil service, universities, whatever. They are turning to sweatshops to make a living. Iraq enjoyed a very high level of both health and edu-cation facilities for its people. These have collapsed, dam-aged by the war years, but now unable to recover because of a lack of money due to sanc-tions. A whole generation of Iraqis are not being educated. Among young chil-dren the dropout rate is more than 25 percent in the cities. They are turning to begging and street crime, which were once foreign in Baghdad. Crime was unknown here before. Now the city clos-es down at night because people are no longer secure. Another area of real concern is the isolation factor. Young people are grow-ing up isolated from the real world, only aware of the anger and resentment around them. It's going to lead to a dangerous sense of alienation from the rest of the world. I don't think we can afford that kind of situation. Some member states seem to believe that this sort of pressure will result in a change of government. But that's not likely to happen. Iraqis aren't thinking about democracy. They're struggling to survive and feed their families. ITT: 'What actions should the United Nations take? DH: It has to look at the economic sanctions carefully and understand that they don't justify the ends. Right now we're killing people, we're killing chil-dren. Maybe there's a risk in lifting the economic sanctions and having the country run itself-which is what they could do best and do more efficiently- but it's needed to get the people up to a level that they were at 10 years ago and to restore the quality of life, education, jobs and so on that the Iraqi people need and deserve. They are, after all, innocent of any of the decision making that resulted in the Gulf War disaster. ITT: Are you hopeful that things will change? DH: I'm always optimistic. I think that people are beginning to understand the unacceptable damage that economic sanctions are doing. We are sustaining a program that is killing people, and noth-ing justifies that in my mind. There has to be some other way. We need a more focused sanctions, perhaps. Undoubtedly the member states will want to sustain the effort of disarmament. In the mean-time, we have no reason not to allow the economy and the people of Iraq to get back on their feet. (IN THESE TIMES 4 NOVEMBER 15, 1998) [received 7th Nov -- seb] -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email email@example.com, NOT the whole list. Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html