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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] 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." (http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/pressrels/040202.htm) 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 TO PUT A QUESTION MARK ON THE SENTENCE, I TOLD HIM I WAS HURRYING....I 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 _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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