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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] --- davey garland wrote: > To: firstname.lastname@example.org, > email@example.com, > firstname.lastname@example.org, > email@example.com, > firstname.lastname@example.org > From: davey garland > Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 11:30:38 +0000 (GMT) > Subject: [du-list] Felicity Arbuthnot´s speach at > Holy Innoncents day service > > If folk can circulate this amongst their lists then > that would be grand, as Felicity is having "trouble" > getting out articles etc. > cheers > davey (pandora) > > > > Felicity Arbuthnot - address at: > > St Martin¹s in the Fields Church, Trafalgar Square, > London - Holy > Innocents > Day Service, 28th December 2002. Dedicated to the > Children of Iraq. > > Last year in Athens, I spoke at a Conference to mark > the start of the > International Decade for the Culture of Peace and > non-violence for the > Children of the World (2001 2010) a decade clearly > quickly forgotten. > > I talked particularly of Basra, Iraq¹s beautiful, > battered second city, > from > where Sinbad departed for his magical journeys and > the > Biblical Tigris > and > Euphrates rivers meet at the Shat Al Arab. Basra, in > the eye of Desert > Storm > in 1991 has an unimaginable childhood cancer and > leukaemia rate and > birth > deformities equally unique, which have been linked > to > the depleted > uranium > weapons (DU) used by the US and UK, during the Gulf > war. > > The chemically toxic and radioactive DU dust which > has > entered the > water > table and fauna and flora in Iraq, former Yugoslavia > and now Afganistan > will > still be polluting our earth when the sun goes out: > it > has a half life > of > four and a half billion years. > > In response to what I had said an extraordinary > political lyricist, > David > Rovics* wrote a song, which says in three verses, > more > than I could say > in a > million words, it is called Song for Basra¹: > > If I could sing a song for every bomb that flies > I'd sing each and all the days > If there were to be a verse for every dying child's > cries > For every helpless father's gaze > If I wrote a love letter to each corpse as it is > carried > I'd never still my pen > If I had to stop a moment for each one that's been > buried > I'd never move again > And the stocks are going up somewhere in America > Sing a song for Basra > > If I could shed a tear for every home that bombs > destroy > I'd never stop crying > If every broken brick were a heart of a little girl > or > boy > All the world's children would be sighing > If I could hold each shattered body, each baby > stilled > at birth > I'd have no time for loneliness > I'd spend all my time embracing the people of this > savaged earth > Feeling the poisoned wind's caress > And the billionaires are laughing in some safe place > in America > Sing a song for Basra > > If each barren pharmacy were a woman's shining eyes > I'd fall in love forever > If every bombed-out kindergarten were a factory in > disguise > Wouldn't that be clever > But bricks are only bricks, and dust is only dust > And death is all around > Each day another missile falls and sometimes the > only > thing to trust > Is the shaking of the ground > And they're loading up the warplanes in some safe > place in America > Sing a song for Basra > > About an hour¹s drive from Basra Is Ur, believed > birth place of > Abraham, > father or Prophet of Judaism, Christianity and Islam > whom legend has, > was > suckled on two fingers, one which gave forth milk > and > the other honey - > thus > land of milk and honey¹. Nearby is Qurna, believed > site of the Garden > of > Eden and not far away, Babylon, where the site of > the > Hanging Gardens > can > still be visited. In the talk which has over taken, > of > weapons of mass > destruction and Saddam, we forget that Iraq - > Mesapotamia is all our > common > heritage. > > The great ziggurat at Ur is pockmarked by shrapnel > from the British and > American missiles which bomb the region on an almost > daily basis > (illegal > bombings for which there is no UN mandate) - two > professed Christian > leaders, bombing Abraham¹s birth place...... > > But I learned about reconcilliation at Ur. Two years > ago I had agreed > to > travel with a group from Sheffield Against Sanctions > on Iraq and to > devise > an itinery for them. On the way to Ur, I failed to > find the correct > turning > and we drove up and down the main road a number of > times, past > moonscape > scenes of recently bombed buildings, homes, power > stations, a water > purification plant, grain stores, resultant from the > UK and US sorties. > > I suggested to the driver that we return to an army > checkpoint and ask > the > way. One of the soldiers said he was coming off duty > and lived near the > Ur > turning, in exchange for a ride home, he would show > us > the road. The > group > had brought leaflets in Arabic, a mission statement > saying they were > against > sanctions and has come in friendship and to learn. > Should we give him > one? > They whispered to me - he a soldier, we from > countries > responsible for > the > decimation of his home region we were so graphically > witnessing. > Absolutely¹. I said. > > He took the leaflet and read it slowly and > carefully, > then re-read it. > Then > he turned to us, nine is all, and said: It is > incumbant upon us, here > in > the south, to offer hospitality to travellers. My > home > is simple, but I > have > five chickens, you will eat well.¹ The next day was > the end of Ramadan > and > the great Muslim Feast of Eid and we knew what those > chickens¹ destiny > was - > yet he was prepared to sacrifice them for > representatives of the > enemy¹ who > had attempted to put out the hand of friendship. > (Needless to say, we > made > excuses and declined, moved beyond words.) > > Another abiding memory of the reality of bombings is > from February > 1998, > when the world was convinced Iraq would be bombed > again. I was in > Baghdad > and had gone to talk to a woman with yet another > heartbreaking story to > tell. I talked to her in a large, previously well > appointed, but now > empty > living room. In common with many, she had sold all > her > furniture to > provide > and survive. > > As we talked, the room began to fill up with > children. > A stranger is a > rare > treat in isolated Iraq and they crept in, sitting on > the floor, quiet > as > mice, watching my every move, heads following my pen > as if at a mini > tennis > match. Dusk was falling as I left and they followed > me out in a small > wave > as I went to the battered car, perhaps fifty of > them, > between about > three > and thirteen. > > As we drew away, they ran alongside, laughing, > waving, > blowing kisses. > When > they could no longer keep up, I looked back and they > were standing > together > in the road, still laughing and blowing kisses. It > was > February 23rd, > the > night the military planners estimated would be the > darkest night¹, the > one > the most optimum for bombing. I went back to my > hotel, > lay on the bed > and > wept. > > In the event, Iraq was not bombed that February, > instead it was bombed > in > time for Christmas, with Prime Minister Blair > standing > in front of his > resplendent tree outside Downing Street, announcing > the onslaught. > Forty six > percent of Iraq¹s population is sixteen or under. > Those who were just > four > years old when the embargo was implemented and > resultantly have had > their > entire childhood snatched away, are now just old > enough to be drafted > into > Iraq¹s army and end their fledgling lives as cannon > fodder in George > Bush¹s > war for oil. > > And make no mistake, this will be a nuclear war, we > are looking into > the > abyss. In 1991, at a press conference in Tel Aviv, > the > Israeli military > spokesman was asked what would happen if Iraq sent > missiles to Israel > in the > impending Gulf war. Without missing a beat he > responded: We will turn > Baghdad into a sheet of glass.¹ The last Bush > Administration restrained > Israel, this one will not - Defence Secretary > Rumsfeld > has made it > clear he > has no hesitation in using nuclear weapons. > > Imagine the unimaginable - wiping out the country > which brought the > world > writing, the first fomestic laws nearly two thousand > years before > Christ, > algebra, mathematics; which had the first irrigation > systems twelve > thousand > years ago, invented the first time piece, used > Pythagoras theorum > seventeen > hundred years before Pythagoras. The world¹s first > College of > Pharmacology > was established in Baghdad. Astronomy was > established > in Iraq - the > three > wise men learned how to follow the star from > Mesapotamia¹s teaching. > For > twelve hundred years, Baghdad (Dar Es Salaam - City > of > Peace) was > regarded > as one of the most refined, civilized and festive > cities on earth. Iraq > is > not Saddam - it is our common heritage - a world > heritage site. > > William Blum, in his new book: Rogue State¹ (and he > is not referring > to > Iraq ..) offers a new way to conflict resolve, he > writes: If I were > President, I could stop terrorist attacks ... in a > few > days. > Permanently. I > would first apologise to all the widows and orphans, > the tortured, > impoverished and all the many millions of other > victims of American > imperialism. Then I would announce, in all > sincerity, > to every corner > of the > world, that America¹s global interventions have come > to an end ... I > would > then reduce the military budget by at least ninety > percent and use the > savings to pay reparations to the voctims. There > would > be more than > enough. > One year¹s military budget of three hundred and > thirty > billion dollars > is > equal to more than eighteen thousand dollars an hour > for every hour > since > Jesus Christ was on earth. > > ³That¹s what I would do in my first three days as > President. On the > fourth > I¹d be assassinated¹, concludes Blum. Friends, > somehow > we must attempt > to > force our reckless, feckless leaders to strive to do > just this. > > Perhaps I can finish with two memories. One is from > way back in 1993, > walking round a hospital in Baghdad with film maker > Miriam Ryle and a > young > doctor, who was lucidly explaining the conditions of > her young patients > - > and that each one of them was unlikely to survive, > for > the want often > of the > simplest medications. Suddenly her composure cracked > and she simply > said: > There¹s a hole, where my heart should be.¹ I think > there is a hole in > the > heart of anyone who visits Iraq and sees for > themselves. > > The last words are those of a young father, in > October > this year, who > was > helplessly watching his ten year old son die of > leukaemia. If he could > send > a message to Prime Minister Blair and President > Bush, > I asked him, what > would it be?Tears welled in his eyes and he said: > Please, just tell them: stop this slaughter of > innocents.¹ > > Thank you. > > *www.davidrovics.com (or > http://members.aol.com/drovics/home.htm) > www.folkweb.com/davidrovics > www.mp3.com/davidrovics > > > > > __________________________________________________ > Do You Yahoo!? > Everything you'll ever need on one web page > from News and Sport to Email and Music Charts > http://uk.my.yahoo.com > > ------------------------ Yahoo! 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