The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

No Subject

Kathy Kelly, A Remarkable Woman With A big Heart 

The genocidal embargo against Iraq is entering its
tenth year , the children of Iraq are still dying.
Kathy Kelly and the Voices of the Wilderness are
fighting tirelessly against the deadly blockade. Here
what she had to say: 

AL-MOHARER - Kathy, the deadly blockade against Iraq
entered its tenth year. Iraq is still suffering from
shortages of
medicines and food stuffs . We know that you worked
hard in the past and are still
attempting to help smash the genocidal embargo imposed
unjustly by the United States under the name of the
Nations and its Security Council.....We would like to
introduce your Organization ( Voices in the
Wilderness) to our
readers, and would like to know about your role and

KATHY KELLY - Thank you very much for your ongoing
interest in our campaign to end the economic sanctions
against Iraq. I am writing to you from Washington, DC
where six of us are on Day 24 of a fast calling for an
end to the
We're accompanied by six other fasters in various
parts of the US along with a wide range of people who
have made a
special point, during the past three weeks, of
contacting their legislative representatives,
religious leaders, and local media
to urge them to challenge the economic sanctions. 

Calls to US Congressional offices, from activists
across the country, have helped us with efforts here.
One congressional
aide invited us to meet with him after he'd received
an unprecedented number of calls and letters about the
We were pleasantly surprised to realize that many of
the offices on Capitol Hill are already aware of our
campaign. It's also
been helpful to let government officials know that we
represent a growing number of community and faith
based groups
who oppose economic sanctions against Iraq. 

This week, we'll be joined by activists from Detroit,
Philadelphia, Colorado Springs, New Hampshire, and
Luck, WI, all
of whom plan to visit their representative's offices.
Tuesday will be particularly full. Some of us will
attend Representative
Kilpatrick's briefing at the Rayburn Bldg. 
(10:30 a.m.) while still others will leaflet and
banner at a presentation Secretary of State Albright
will give to the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. 
Our banner will say "Compassion for the Children of
Iraq." Throughout the day we'll help host a blood
drive at
Georgetown University where people will donate blood
locally but do so on behalf of Iraqi people who have

Early this morning we sent letters to Ms. Madeleine
Albright (we write to her every day) and the Iraq Desk
of the State
Department inviting them to join us when we break fast
on Friday morning. 
We want to break the fast with Iraqi dates and yogurt.
This will be a means of breaking the embargo
as well. 

The fast increases a longing we know is shared by
communities throughout the world: we long for the day
when people
who already have so much won't feel entitled to get
more, when US people will gladly and generously share
resources, and our future. 

On February 19, our 31st delegation will leave for
Iraq. Each delegation tries to "hit the ground
running" upon return,
reaching out to their local communities to educate
them about the terrible consequences of the economic
sanctions and to
share with them briefings received in Baghdad from UN
workers, religious leaders, and Iraqis who work so
hard to
maintain the country's infrastructure and education in
spite of harsh frustrations imposed by the sanctions. 

AL-MOHARER - Do you have branches or affiliated
organizations outside the United States that support
the work of the
Voices in the Wilderness in its fight against the
Embargo ? Can we have the addresses of these
organizations to publish
them so our readers might contact them ? 

KATHY - We work out of my home in Chicago, an
apartment which I share with my father and various
other friends
from time to time. Dad's presence with us is a
blessing, - he needs full time health care, and as we
look after his needs
we're ever reminded of how keenly Iraqi brothers and
sisters want only to protect their loved ones and look
after their
needs. Following a nine year state of siege, the most
comprehensive embargo ever imposed in modern history,
it is nearly
miraculous that Iraqi people whom we meet still extend
to us so much hospitality and friendship. Still, we
realize that the
embargo sorely afflicts a new generation. Adding to
the the pain are regular bombardments. Recently, one
of our
delegations visited a school in Mosul. Students at the
school were terrified upon hearing that Americans were
in their
Three parents were summoned to the school to comfort
their children who sobbed uncontrollably. Small
Days earlier, a US bomb exploded near enough to the
school to cause all of the windows to shatter. The
children were
covered with broken glass and shrapnel. 

Beyond the United States, we know of many groups that
work hard to end the embargo against Iraq. In London,
Voices in
the Wilderness UK has been active since late 1997.
They've sent six delegations to Iraq and regularly
plan events in the
They can be reached by contacting: 

Mil Rai
12 Trinity Road
East Finchley
London 8JJ United Kingdom
fax: 011-44-171-700-2357 

Andrea Needham
128 Bethnal Green Rd.
London, E2 6DG United Kingdom

AL-MOHARER - It is well known that the Voices in the
Wilderness is facing many legal difficulties in the
United States
for defying the embargo. Can you tell us how do you
challenge them ? 

KATHY - The governments of the United States and the
United Kingdom have regarded our actions as criminal
as we
bring medicines and toys to Iraqi children. 
We refuse to be governed by cruel and pitiless laws,
and we want to dramatize our confrontation with a US
led sanctions
policy that forces the United Nations to wage economic
warfare against children. The US government has
threatened us
with 12 years in prison, one million dollars of fines,
and a $250,000 administrative fine. In December of
1998, we were
given a pre-penalty notice for $160,000 in fines. My
passport was confiscated by the United States
government in February
of 1998, and in November of 1997 customs agents seized
belongings of four of our travelers when they returned
to the
United States. We've repeatedly thanked the US
government for the clarity of their warnings, assured
them that we will
continue to visit Iraq and deliver needed medicines,
asserted that we will not be paying any fines, and
invited them to join
us in our efforts. 

AL-MOHARER - Can you brief our readers about your last
visit to Iraq by your group and Ramsey Clark's ? 

KATHY - I was quite grateful for an opportunity to
visit Iraq with a large group of people, assembled by
Ramsey Clark
and the International Action Center, in May of 1998.
This was the first of three delegations which they
have organized in
the past two years. Following the May '98 visit,
travelers began to work very effectively to end the
economic sanctions.
Several of us have worked together before as members
of the Catholic Worker community, a group dedicated to
service, sharing of resources, and advocacy of
nonviolent resistance to injustice. I feel very
pleased to now be
linked to these people in our present fasting. We'll
soon join together in New York City, February 12 - 14,
for a time of
teach-ins, retreat and actions at the US Mission to
the UN. 

We feel awkwardly and painfully conscious of the fact
that we can simply choose to end our fast. Such a
luxury is not
available to Iraqi brothers and sisters who have
endured a long night of deprivation, of doing without,
of bewilderment so
well expressed by teenagers I recently met. 
They asked me, "What is the fault? What have we done?
And what would happen to us if we were to do to any
country in the world what is being done to us?"
What a privilege it will be if in any small way we can
be a voice for them. 

A Note
Kathy, you are a remarkable woman with a big heart, we
salute you and salute your efforts,
I am sure that history will record your heroic
endeavors in its annals.
The children of Iraq will never forget you. 
Voices in the Wilderness is a campaign to end
sanctions against Iraq. 
Kathy Kelly is Co-Founder of the campaign. She has
traveled to Iraq numerous times and
AL-MOHARER was honored to interview this remarkable
Lady through the Internet. 

Ibrahim Ebeid

Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.
This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
For removal from list, email
Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]