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 List, Yesterday I got an email from a list member. It was a a gentle rebuke for posting the CounterPunch article "Albright's Tiny Coffins". The article is "good value", the message said. "However... [it] leaves out the essential information that [someone else's research] has publicised." Admittedly, the CounterPunch article is not a definitive treatise on the sanction system, nor is it meant to be. What had annoyed my respondent, I think, was my intro: "it's worth reposting". He is right, of course, this does sound rather presumptuous. And since I have probably annoyed most other list members with my postings, I'll answer on-list. The article was meant as a reminder - an emotional appeal ("Don't forget the Victims...). And I posted it in solidarity with Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar. In solidarity with the pain, the anger, and the bitterness Ghazwan must have felt when he responded to the Washington Post article someone had submitted: "'Scorched Earth' Plans in Iraq Cited". (This was only one of one many similar articles I have seen on casi since I subscribed.) I realize that I have no right to make such pronouncements, especially not as a very recent subscriber - an outsider. More than half of my life has been spent as an outsider, an exile. The people I identify with are other exiles. And I don't see the world as East and West, South and North. My friends and acquaintances come from different cultures. Like most people, I have experienced pain and sorrow. But all of it appears trivial compared to the pain and suffering Ghazwan has been exposed to for 12 years - and with him 22 million other Iraqis. Now, after lingering for 12 years on death row, the Iraqi people are awaiting the final blow. And the so-called "civilized western world" is making up excuses for this genocide to veil their own shame and guilt. I was born in Germany. Once, on a train journey from Frankfurt to Brussels, a holocaust survivor told me about her feelings of anger and hatred. I was too young and ignorant to understand and kept thinking 'but this was long ago....' As I listened, I came to understand. At the end, the lady offered to shake hands - with difficulty, I think. And perhaps I had helped a little, just by listening. It has helped me when people listened, rooted for me. And I have always found people willing to do that whatever country or place I happened to be in. Ghazwan is right when he says that the western conscience will be "washed clean" by claiming it was Saddam Hussein who caused all the suffering. That wash-cycle started long ago and is now running at high speed. Not only that, the western conscience will be further assuaged by the cynical claim that the West actually "liberated" the Iraqi people. And I wish the world would listen - acknowledge the suffering inflicted on Iraqi men, women, and children. I wish the world would root for the Iraqi people, especially now when they are about to be "liberated". It's not enough to be "opposed to what is going on", the genocide committed on the Iraqi people must be dignified with the truth. And we all can help to make that truth public. In the "Winslow Boy", the British playwright Rattigan makes the distinction between "justice" and "right": "It's easy to do justice, very hard to do right." In the play, doing "right" meant getting the responsible party (a government agency) to acknowledge that wrong had been done: "Everyone can feel shame at having done wrong, once that wrong has been made public". They did acknowledge that wrong, albeit implicitly. And the defending counsel, a proponent of "cold clear logic", wept at the verdict: "right had been done". The wrong done to the boy Winslow was a minor affair. The wrong done to the Iraqi people is genocide. It's easy to do justice by allowing the Iraqi people, after a new wave of destruction, to resume a semblance of the life that was theirs before 1990. The "international community" could then pat itself on the back because finally _justice_ has been done. But to preserve even a shred of humanity, right must be done. The western conscience must not, as Ghazwan rightly fears, come out "lily white at the end!" The truth must be exposed to the whole world. And anyone willing to acknowledge that truth cannot help feeling shame. So in that sense, right will be done. Please forgive me, everyone, for this personal and emotional outburst. I wanted to illustrate why I have been pestering you with my postings. But I'll try not to let it happen again. To Ghazwan and all people in Iraq, I am thinking of you. greetings, Elga P.S. I am enclosing a poem written by an exile who believes that many things can only be shared by like-minded people. SHARING by Gregory Gilbert Gumbs I join hands with every exile wherever their road may lead them I'm one with every exile no matter where they are from I share in every exile's ongoing restlessness I share in every exile's constantly haunting traumas and hidden unhappiness I share in every exile's dangerously conflicting tensions I share every exile's endless longing I share in every exile's lasting hope I share every exile's nagging uncertainty I share in every exile's Recherche Du Temps Perdu which they're condemned to carry on like modern day Sisyphusses At Home and abroad For as long as they live. ### _______________________________________________ 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