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Dear Listmembers, I thought I'd share the tactics that I use in discussing sanctions with people. Over the years, and after many fruitless discussions (seemingly, though I try to remain hopeful), I've discovered an order of raising the issues that I find most productive -- it induces the most humane reponses. I hope it is useful to others. I start by asking why they think that a humanitarian programme of food distribution -- the biggest, longest and most complex in history -- is necessary in Iraq. I have found that that this is the most effective way to begin. The US/UK government propagandists have focussed their efforts on promoting the claim that Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government are responsible for failures of the programme, and -- not surprisingly -- say relatively little about the reasons for the existence of the programme. So when ordinary people think about Iraq they tend to recall what they have read (``Saddam is witholding medicine'' ``Saddam is not distributing enough food'') and are ready to respond with this reflex when asked why thousands of children are dying every month. But they have not usually stopped to think why Iraqi people need the humanitarian aid in the first place. On this simple point, they have no protective veneer of manufactured answers and you can reach their human feeling quite directly. Begining the discussion away from the failures of the aid system and the dispute over who is responsible for them, focusses the attention on the reasons the aid is necessary: the destruction of infrastructure in 1991 -- electricity, water, sanitation, transport, communications -- and the complete civil economic collapse caused by sanctions leading to widespread poverty and destitution. These things there is no dispute about. There is no dispute that there is a desperate need for food aid. And there is no dispute that we have caused it: they were our bombs, it is our blockade, imposed by our warships. Once this is established, the simple question can be asked: is it right to reduce Iraqi children and their families to poverty so extreme that they require humanitarian food aid and maintain them in that poverty for 12 years? Most people repond in a moral way. Of course the propagandists do try to throw the blame for the very existence of sanctions onto Saddam Hussein too but that is where their argument is absolutely weak: If Iraq complied then sanctions would be lifted. But that is an admission that the entire population of millions of innocent people to is being held to ransom and most people consider that to be wrong. (That's even without needing to go into the fact that the US/UK don't want Iraqi compliance with the UN at all as we see so clearly at the moment.) It seems this might also be a useful tactic in addressing public figures, ``Why do the Iraqi people require humanitarian aid, Mr Blair?'' Almost any answer to that question immediately exposes the immorality of US/UK policy. Best wishes, Fay ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ + Fay Dowker Physics Department + + Queen Mary, University of London + + E-mail: email@example.com Mile End Road, + + Phone: +44-(0)20-7882-5047 London E1 4NS. + + Fax: +44-(0)20-8981-9465 + + Homepage: http://monopole.ph.qmw.ac.uk/~dowker/home.html + ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk