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Two items: * Forwarded message from Magdalene Szuszkiewicz, a medical student from Maryland, who will be travelling to Iraq at the end of this month with an international mission called Physicians for Social Responsibility; * Forwarded message from Rania Masri (Iraq Action Coalition): Iraqi Voices (including the personal narrative of an Iraqi living in the US) ******************** >From: <email@example.com> March 10, 1999 Dear Friends and Colleagues I am a third year medical student from University of Maryland. March 28-April 8, 1999, I am going to Iraq on a humanitarian mission, organized by Physicians for Social Responsibility. This is an international mission of physicians, medical students and nurses. The participants are from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We are going on an invitation from Iraqi Red Cross (Red Crescent). These are the goals of the mission: 1) To bring humanitarian aid for the sick and suffering of Iraq, especially for the pediatric population, affected most severely by malnutrition and poverty of last 8 years 2) To bring medical educational materials for Iraqi physicians as a symbol of our solidarity, to inspire hope among Iraqi physicians and their patients 3) To conduct workshops for Iraqi physicians to update them on medical advances of last 8 years 4) To become educated on the situation of public health in Iraq: to visit medical facilities, to meet with physicians and public health workers, and become acquainted with current treatment methods and limitations in medical practice in Iraq 5) To raise awareness of the tragic situation in Iraq Upon my return, I am planning to prepare a presentation about the public health situation in Iraq and about my experiences during this mission in. I will keep you posted on when this will take place. Please support this mission with donations of medical supplies, text books and journals as well as with financial contributions. Any donation of $5 to $500+ will be greatly appreciated. I will use the money to purchase additional medical supplies and cover some of the costs of the travel. Please make a check payable to Physicians for Social Responsibility and mail it to the address below. This donation is tax deductible. Magdalene Szuszkiewicz home ph. #: (410) 737-8013 17917 Shotley Bridge Pl my pager #: (410) 582-6990 Olney, MD 20832 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Please contact me if you would like me to pick up any donations of supplies, books or journals. If you have any questions do not hesitate to call me or page me. This mission is one of many successful missions organized by PSR and International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War. I have articles about previous missions, which I will be happy to send to you if you are interested. This is a list of needed supplies: · Anti-microbials · Anti-diarrheals (prescription and OTC) · Anti-emetics · Analgesics (prescription and OTC) · Anti-inflammatory (prescription and OTC) · IV supplies · Syringes · Textbooks - after 1991 · Medical Journals - after 1991 · Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) · Pen-lights · Tongue Depressors · Wound dressings/band-aids · Vitamins · Paper notebooks · Pens, pencils · Single bed sheets Thank you very much for your attention and I am hoping to hear from you soon. Sincerely, Magdalene Szuszkiewicz, medical student University of Maryland School of Medicine ******************** Enclosed below is a personal narrative from an Iraqi currently living in the US. It is one example of an Iraqi Voice. In an effort to encourage further personal narratives from Iraqis, I am setting up a section called "Iraqi Voices" on the Iraq Action Coalition website <http://iraqaction.org>. The "Iraqi Voices" is an opportunity for Iraqis to share stories about their personal struggle *during this sanctions war.* How is the family coping? How are they coping? We need to make people recognize that we are not dealing with mere statistics, with the lives of individuals, people with dreams and loves and families. (Please note that the 'Iraqi Voices' section is not designed to become a vehicle for either the anti or pro-Iraqi government organizations.) If you have any stories to share, or would like more information, please e-mail me at either <email@example.com> or <firstname.lastname@example.org>. In Solidarity, -Rania Masri Iraq Action Coalition ______________ Iraq Forum Saturday 13 March I am 32 years old. I left Iraq when I was 16. I would like to begin by talking about my memories of the country as a kid. I would like to emphasize that what follows is from my own personal experiences and those of people that are very close to me. During the early 1970s, the government in Iraq nationalized Iraqi oil and withdrew the rights from foreign companies to exploit the oil fields of Iraq thus keeping the majority of the profits. >From that point on there was a boom in every aspect of life, economic, cultural, scientific. I come from a large extended family with 17 uncles and aunts and an average of 3 kids each. If I include my friends and their families I would be describing the lives of well over 100 people that hail >from different walks of life and different parts of the country....they range from research scientists, veterinarians, doctors, dentists, teachers, engineers, civil servants, factory workers, mechanics and jewelers. They also represent three different religions (Muslim both Shi'ite and Sunni, Christian Catholic and Mendaii) and three ethnic groups (Arabic, Turkoman and Kurd) ...all had a decent standard of living. All either owned their houses outright or were living in the family homes (usually big enough for two to three families). A few of my school friends that came from poorer families were in fact given government renovated or built housing at no or only nominal charges and rents....many of these families as well as government employees (including many of my relatives and family friends) helped in the building of these houses. These projects were referred to as popular labor housing projects. I myself with my family lived in such a dwelling for one year prior to moving to our family home which was being built at the time. Almost everybody had at least one car and many vacationed abroad. At that time, one Iraqi Dinar was equivalent to three US dollars. During that period of time, the government rewarded academics and scientists who had distinguished themselves in their work...for example my father (and many of his peers) was given a free plot to build a house (600 sq. meters ~ 5400 sq. feet) which was finished in 1977. He also paid $2000 to buy a new Mercedes with the rest of the cost picked up by the government. He drove it back from Europe in 1976. He was also awarded a 26 inch colored TV, made in Iraq, that entered service in our living room in 1978 and is still there in full working order even as we speak...obviously, not everybody got the same treatment but almost all had enough money to buy their own plots of land (as big as or bigger than our own) and built their own houses. There were no taxes to pay. My education, as that of my sisters, relatives and friends both male and female, was compulsory for the first 6 years. It was also free from the elementary level to the end of the University level. Literacy in Iraq was above 75%. Higher education (such as MS, Ph.D.) was free if conducted inside the country. For the people that attained high standards, it was conducted abroad with all the expenses paid for by the government. In fact, my fathers' Ph.D. and that of all of his peers was completed in Britain at no expense to them. New books were provided every year to every student at the elementary and high school levels by the government. The Health service, second to none in the middle east and Asia at the time, was free and available to every citizen including visits to the dentist and the optometrist. Infant mortality was low and within world health organization margins. Public transport to all parts of the country was plentiful and cheap and included trains, planes and automobiles. There was no unemployment to speak of....during all the time that I was there, the only people that I met who were without work were the elderly and the infirm who lived on government pensions and social security. In fact, until the early 1990s, the Iraqi economy had absorbed literally millions of workers from Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine and farmers from Morocco. The government also built roads, canals, bridges and delivered electricity to the most remote areas of the country. All the major cities of the country were clean and pollution free. From what I gather from my family and friends, all of this continued essentially without change until early 1991. Since the imposition of the sanctions almost 9 years ago, the people of Iraq have suffered daily. Unemployment runs rampant, with people having to hold more than one job, sometimes up to four a week, to be able to feed and clothe their families.....some people have resorted to selling fixtures such as door frames from their own homes to get enough money to survive. Many children have left school to help support their families and illiteracy is increasing...Schools have no new books and universities have been deprived of any new publications and new equipment including computers to conduct research and experiments....The computer revolution is passing the children of Iraq by as very few people can afford the hardware or the software..even if..they can get their hands on smuggled goods....many of the highly qualified young men and women have left the country for the lack of any prospects.....This brain drain has left an enormous dent that is going to leave a scar for a very long time to come. Factories, the ones that were left standing after 1991, can't run for the lack of raw materials and/or equipment that actually works....there are few if any spare parts for anything. The same situation occurs in farms across the country.....very little fertilizer is available and farm machinery stands idle .....there have been many outbreaks of diseases that have devastated the livestock populations for the lack of vaccines since most of the facilities that make them have been destroyed. Cars have had no spare parts available for almost a decade...pollution from their emissions is at a record breaking high. Food is rationed and heavily subsidized ... the rations usually last for about two weeks only....the rest of the food has to come from the open market at extremely high prices. Today, one US dollar is equivalent to 1200 Dinars. Up to 4500 children die every month (a rate of infant mortality unheard of before 1991). These deaths are direct consequence of the sanctions. Many of the children who have survived will have stunted growth and will have to live with that for the rest of their lives....the health system has collapsed.....the hospitals cannot perform the easiest of operations and the doctors are invariably left consoling parents, brothers, sisters and children for the loss of their loved ones. There are no or very few social projects funded by the government and if there are any they are usually aimed at sanitizing the water supply and fixing the sewage system that was destroyed.....still however, large puddles of sewage are available for children with bare feet to play in leaving the door open for a multitude of diseases that were eradicated prior to 1991. The historical sites of Iraq.....the cradle of civilization....at Babylon, Ur, Hatra and other locations too many to mention have been pillaged by smugglers and many of these sites have had no maintenance since the early 1990s.....this heritage of the people of Iraq and all mankind that stood for thousands of years has been slowly eroded and plundered over the last 9 years. As if this was not enough for the ordinary people.....since 1991 they have also had to endure the periodical bombing campaigns and the almost daily skirmishes...that are having grave psychological consequences on adults and children alike. The problem is not just food and medicine....people around the world...don't just eat when they are hungry and pop pills when they have headaches......there are other things that in fact separate human beings >from the animals in the zoo....what separates them is education, it is health both mental and physical, it is employment, it is having an infrastructure in the country that will allow future generations to have a better life...it is being able to provide a good decent existence for yourself and your family.....it is self esteem and pride...every thing that allows people to feel good about themselves and their families and distinguish themselves as being part of humanity in the twentieth century and indeed very soon the twenty first...it is everything that is pronounced by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it is everything that the people of Iraq are deprived of today. The death, suffering and destruction of the 20 million hostages in Iraq continues today as it has unabated for the past 2935 days......Last December when I called my parents after the bombing of Baghdad, my mother asked me....when will it all end, Samer, when will it all end? -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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