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.
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Dear discussion list members, I am writing this e-mail for two reasons: first, to solicit responses to a particular idea on how we might try to mark the 10th anniversary of sanctions' imposition on Iraq; and, second, to implicitly encourage people thinking, talking about and planning for this anniversary. Ten years is a long time and I think that there is growing concern in the UK about the sanctions' effects on Iraq. The anniversary would be a very good opportunity to try to focus those concerns. The particular idea is just that now: it is not a CASI project but just an idea that I've mentioned to one or two people and would like feedback on. It is this: that we collect 500,000 cards, drawings, letters written by Brits on behalf of an individual in Iraq, or the people of Iraq generally. The number 500,000 represents Unicef's estimate of the number of extra Iraq children under five years of age who died between 1991 and 1998. We then, on the anniversary, burn all of these, perhaps reading from or displaying selected ones before they are burned. My sense is that the mood should be one of sombre reflection and mourning. I wondered about calling the project, "Iraq: a decade of ashes". I also wonder about the exact date: 6 August (the sanctions' imposition) would not have happened without 2 August (Kuwait's invasion). Does 4 August reflect the reality that the people of Iraq have been caught between two warring parties, one choosing the 2nd, the other the 6th? My belief is that this could be an incredibly powerful event. Personally, I have a great deal of difficulty understanding a quantity as large as a half million and fear that this difficulty increases each time the number rolls off my tongue. I think that watching half a million pieces of paper be incinerated would help impress on me some more of the horror of this number when counted in human lives. I am asking the list about this idea because I think that there would be a great deal of work involved. 500,000 is almost 30 times the number of signatures that we collected for the national petition. Against this, we have almost two more months to prepare and people can send in more than one card, drawing or letter. Nevertheless, I think that going ahead with this idea would require a broad national sense that this was a good idea and worth the thousands of hours and pounds that it would require. If people on the list thought this a worthwhile investment I would propose the formation of a working group to move the idea forward. Thank you for your attention. Best wishes, Colin Rowat 393 King's College www.cus.cam.ac.uk/~cir20 Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)870 063 4984 -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi