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Dear M and all,

This is my last message, I promise.

To clarify what I meant:

I can imagine the following dialogue between anti-sanctions campaigner
(anyone on soc-casi-discuss) and someone pro-sanctions or unsure what to

M: 'We must lift sanctions because they're causing a humanitarian
disaster in Iraq - on the scale of genocide.'

Other: 'Genocide? How do you define that? How can you compare it to the
Holocaust? That's an insult to the Jews, Gypsies and others killed by the
Nazis. What proportion of the population has been killed by sanctions? Is
that really a large enough proportion to justify the term "genocide"?
Doesn't genocide require the intent to kill off a large proportion of the
population? Do you really believe any one on the Security Council has the
intent to do that to the Iraqi people? Can you prove it?'

etc etc

I'm sorry that M (and perhaps others) thought I meant that
_anti-sanctions campaigners_ were somehow avoiding dealing with the real
issues by debating the term 'genocide'. I hope the above dialogue makes
clear that I meant that potential converts might use the term as a way of
disengaging from their responsibilities.

Whether or not the scale of the mass killing in Iraq qualifies as genocide
is a 'side issue' to the families who are suffering there today. And it is a
'side issue' in the attempt to persuade people that (a) sanctions should be
lifted and (b) they personally should do something about it.

I totally agree with M that the movement should develop the widest
possible understanding of the forces lying behind the sanctions, and that it
is important to explain the wider context of Western policy in the Middle
East. However, I do not think the use of the term 'genocide' adds to our
understanding of US/UK policy making, or the continuities between the
sanctions policy and other military and economic policies towards Third
World nations.

best wishes to everyone


PS It is of no significance to the debate, but I feel obliged to confess
that I am a man and not a woman. My apologies.

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