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Re: Not Shooting Ourselves In The Foot

Dear Mil and everyone

An excellent well stated argument. As an Iraqis in exile, I whole
heatedly support the sentiment. I wish to add that the horrific scenes
you saw in hospitals in Iraq are only the tip of an iceberg of a more
major and deep rooted health disaster. The cases we hear about and the
medical reports Iraqi doctors in the UK are sent from friends and
relatives in Iraq, have demonstrated that the catastrophe is beyond
description. Some of the rarest and unreported pathologies and very
aggressive cancers that we haven't heard off.  Unfortunately, these wont
cease by the end of the sanction as the problem of nuclear contamination
is deep rooted.
What is the solution? I do not know. We have stopped seeing the light
from the end of the tunnel. We have become a very sceptic and apathetic
lot of people torn apart by a ruthless regime and a corrupt clowns call
themselves 'Iraqi opposition', the majority of whom were the tools of
Saddam's oppression and torture machinery.

Iraqis have gone into recluse reverting 'negative struggle' i.e by
resorting to religion and retracting away from active participation in
events, becoming more and more isolated and apathetic. In fact they are
shooting themselves in the foot unintentionally!


In message <002a01c0a15f$75bc1780$c61a9fd4@m2u9h2>, Milan Rai
<> writes
>Dear Margarita, Felicity, Dave, John (and everyone else)
>Many thanks for your thoughtful postings.
>Like you, I've seen the sanctions at work in hospitals in Iraq, and, like
>you, I've found it a tearing experience which is very difficult to digest or
>to deal with.
>Like you, I've dedicated a large part of the last few years to trying to
>wake up public opinion back here in the West and to mobilising that opinion
>into an effective force for change, an effective force against the lies and
>deceit of the British government in particular.
>Part of that effort has been trying to gather together and distribute the
>information needed to refute Foreign Office lies as they appear (and
>re-appear, and re-appear).
>Only solid, independent, credible information can empower people to resist
>the tidal wave of propaganda we get every day about Iraq, and help them to
>persuade others, and to widen the circle of dissent and resistance.
>I'm sure we all agree on that.
>When, inadvertently or perhaps sometimes carelessly - I can think of Voices
>UK's early use of the supposed FAO estimate of 1995, for example - we
>disseminate information which is not solid, independent and credible, we
>weaken the movement. People who get that information use it (against their
>MPs or the Foreign Office, or whoever).
>If those activists then are unable to back up what they claim, if those
>activists are shown to be saying things which aren't true, that failure
>shakes their confidence, makes them less likely to campaign, undermines
>other people's willingness to hear what they are saying, sets back the hopes
>of the Iraqi people.
>It helps to prolong the agony which all five of us have seen many times in
>Iraq's hospitals.
>I'm sure we all agree on this, too.
>The point of my original intervention, and in part of Per's careful - not
>academic, but careful - posting, was to say:
>a) anti-sanctions activists in the past have claimed that the UN or a UN
>agency has estimated child deaths due to sanctions at 500,000, or total
>deaths due to sanctions at 1 million, or similar figures
>b) these claims cannot be backed up - neither the UN nor any UN agency has
>made such estimates
>c) if we make such claims ABOUT WHAT THE UN IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE SAID we are
>shooting ourselves in the foot
>I'm not urging anyone to stop saying that they believe that 1 million Iraqis
>may have been killed by the economic sanctions. This seems quite a
>reasonable figure. But it is not a figure that we can attribute to the UN.
>By making such unfounded claims, we weaken the movement, we prolong the
>agony of children in Iraqi hospitals.
>Let's put it in a suitably un-academic way:
>Making unfounded claims does not help the children of Iraq. It helps George
>Bush and Robin Cook and Tony Blair.
>All of us on this list are dedicated to ending the economic sanctions as
>soon as possible. There is plenty of solid, independent, credible
>information around to help us do that (CASI has played an invaluable role in
>bringing a lot of it together). There is no need for us to make claims that
>we cannot support.
>Let's get on with campaigning, using the best information we can and
>supporting each other as much as we can.
>Best wishes
>Milan Rai
>Joint Coordinator
>Voices in the Wilderness UK
>National Office
>16B Cherwell St, Oxford OX4 1BG
>Personal contact details
>29 Gensing Road, St Leonards-on-sea TN38 0HE
>ph 0845 458 9571 (local rate) pager 07623 746 462


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