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[casi] Albright in Texas.

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Hello to you all.  Yesterday Madeleine Albright came to my college in Texas.
I was allowed to attend a small mtg. with several other Leadership Institute
students in an open forum for questions.  I was allowed to ask one question
of her.   I spent some time crafting a question that would be more difficult
to sidestep, and was heartened by the other questions that she seemed to
answer with some candor.  Sadly, when it comes to Iraq she retreats to
rhetoric.  The question that I asked her:
"Madame Albright, Richard Butler (unscom), Carol Bellamy (UNICEF), Dennis
Halliday (former coordinator UN oil-for food), and Al-Chalabi (INC) have all
said that the sanctions, as now implemented have been hurting and killing the
people of Iraq.  Alastair Kirk (Save the Children UK research officer in
Iraq) has said: "...all indications are that after 11 years of sanctions,
Iraqis living in south and central Iraq are even worse off (than the kurds of
the north).  The fact is, sanctions-as they are currently being
implemented-simply do not work.  They have a disproportionate effect on those
who are most vulnerable in Iraqi society-particularly children."
( February this year.  
I went on to say:
"If the sanctions were designed to stop Saddam from building his military
machine...then I question whether or not this goal is worth the
marginalization of an entire society," AT THIS POINT DR. WILLIAMS  ASKed ME
continued "a society filled with people, people who had, until recently, the
same hopes and dreams that you and I do." (of course this I said looking
directly in MA's eyes) "What I want to ask you is if you will stand up and
use your considerable wisdom, and I sincerely mean that, and your influence
to give these innocent human beings a future?  Someone, someone, needs to
help these people, people who love their children and dream of a future in
which their children can grow up with pride and human decency and have a
future that all the people of the world, not just the western world, but all
the people of the world should have, and sadly do not have.  Can you help
Mrs. Albright, can you, and if you can, will you....?"
At this point, I hoped that she would jump up and with tears in her eyes say
yessssss yes i will help the people of iraq, the innocents... alas, she did
not.  What she did say was that the suffering had nothing to do with
sanctions, but that it was Saddam's fault and that he could build palaces but
not buy food, that he had an unlimeted amount of wealth, and that he chose to
hurt his own people, she even mentioned that he had gassed his own people,
killed his own people!!!!!!  Which I suppose is somehow worse than us killing
his people.  Nevertheless I could not point this out for fear of being
removed.  She did say that she had been the architect for 'Oil-for-food' and
that it worked.  She went on to explain that fighting against regimes such as
this was difficult, and that we needed to focus on Afghanistan at which point
I went to sleep.  
So, I stood at the back of the room as well groomed intelligent students half
my age asked questions which she for the most part answered, and wondered if
these people thought I was some crazy radical, which of course I am.  When MA
left the room, she actually walked over to me, and shook my hand, looked into
my eyes and smiled.  I thanked her.  I do believe that she believes that she
is doing the things that she believes are right, i do not believe that they
are right however.  After I had exited the small mtg. room that we had been
in a young man walked up to me, patted me on the shoulder and said,
"politicians aren't humanitarians, but it is up to those of us who are to
remind them that they should be.  Good question, sorry she would not answer
you."  Of course, as I feared that my Austin college fellow students thought
I was some kind of ass, I was very happy for the comment!  As I was walking
down the stairs another young person walked up to me and said, "Damn good
question!  Someone needed to ask it.  I wish that she would have answered
it!"  I felt even better.  Then finally a few moments later someone else
commented on the question, saying that it was a necessary one.  I was elated,
not only had I not been physically removed from my scholarship (yet, it is a
conservative place) but I had actually struck a chord with at least three
other human beings, possibly even MA, although she of course could not
comment.  There are many students at my school who feel the same way.  The
real reason for my question was to create dialogue.  It has begun to do just
that.  My hope is that some of these bright beautiful students will go on to
become people of power and that our hegemonic conduct will cease.  I am sad
for Ghaz, Nermin, and the rest of Iraq.  I am sad for the world.  I am
hopeful because of people like you all who work on behalf of human decency.
Chins up!
Peacefully yours,

Roger Stroope
Think Uncommon Thoughts....
903-870-9888 h
903-868-8845 w

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