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[casi] Devastating effects of a new war on Iraqi children

Dear List Members,

A team of experts in child psychology, health, nutrition
and emergency preparedness has recently assessed the impact
of a new war on the more than 13 million Iraqi children.
The Canadian-led team interviewed families in Baghdad,
Karbala and Basra from January 20-26, 2003. The report of
their findings is entitled "Our Common Responsibility - the
Impact of a new war on Iraqi Children".

"Iraqs 13 million children are at grave risk of starvation,
disease, death and psychological trauma", the experts concluded.

Weakened and malnourished by war and 12 years of sanctions,
Iraqi children are far more vulnerable now than before the
Gulf War. While the number of expected death and injuries
is impossible to predict, the team's leader, Dr. Hoskins,
said there could be tens of thousands and possibly hundreds
of thousands child casualties. (Dr. Hoskins has been to
Iraq at least 25 times.)

The children live in great fear of a new war.

The team's psychologists, Atle Dyregrov and Magne Raundalen,
who spoke to Iraqi children in 1991, carried out the
"first-ever pre-war assessment of children's mental health."
Children are "fearful, anxious and depressed," they found.
Even children as young as four and five had clear concepts
of the horrors of war. "Many have nightmares. And
40 percent do not think that life is worth living."

And these are not children stricken with a disease. These
are children who in normal circumstances would be as
resilient as children elsewhere usually are. These are
children whose sorrows could normally be soothed with a
hug and a kiss - and the promise that everything is going
to be all right. But parents in Iraq are unable to make
such promise. They live in fear themselves - in fear of
what the future may bring, what tomorrow may bring.
Children sense that fear so they won't talk about their own.

For months parents (and other adults) have been taking
valium to cope with the fear of the new horror the US means
to unleash on Iraq. Children are given valium too. Iraqi
doctors feel it would be better if parents could talk to
their children about this fear. But what would you tell
your child, Mr. Powell, if you lived in Iraq now - had
been living there for 12 years?

Many Iraqi children can no longer cry; they cannot play.

There are teens who still remember the day their parents,
friends, neighbours were burned alive when the US dropped
two missiles on the Amiryah shelter (February 14, 1991).

And 40 percent of the children interviewed think life is
not worth living.

Meanwhile George W. Bush prays in his Oval Office - every
morning. He is a good Christian - a _good_ man. He is the
type of good man Bertrand Russell warned about in his essay
"Why I am not a Christian".

"Our Common Responsibility - the Impact of a new war on
Iraqi Children". - The report is available at:

Video footage of the International Study Team's assessment
in Iraq is available on APTN and Reuters, or through the
contact below.

Aubrey Charette, Communications Director,
War Child Canada
416-971-7474, Cell 416-949-0532,

Copies of this report were sent to the U.N. Security Council,
the government of Iraq, and the Canadian government. So the
members of the Security Council must know what they are about
when they are casting their votes.

On January 30, the team held a press conference in Ottawa to
discuss their findings. So far, the mainstream press (here
and elsewhere) has ignored this report. Apparently the
Berliner Zeitung ran a story, and may
do something. Other than that, silence, it seems.
(Too busy reporting on military WMDs - imaginary or real.)

The press release noted that the team was backed by Canadian
NGOs and charities, but that "they did not receive any help
from the Iraqi government". I find this disclaimer ironic,
but someone was bound to come up with the rejoinder
"it's all Iraqi propaganda". Sad. - What happened to common

Bush has children - and Rumsfeld, Powell, Albright (she
who felt the price was worth it).... Their counterparts
in Europe and elsewhere have children. Still European
political leaders have been accessories to this crime
for 12 years.

What really seems to have upset European polititicans
was Rumsfeld's perceived scorn for their cultural heritage.
'Old Europe indeed', they huff, citing with wounded pride
Europe's democratic values, her humanistic values... values
inspired by the Age of Enlightenment - also called the
Age of Reason. Not unreasonably, America lays claim to the
same heritage.

Now together they are poised to destroy the helpless people
of one of the oldest civilizations on earth - a civilization
that never sank to the equivalent of the Dark Ages. This
civilization has bestowed on the young western upstart, among
many other things, knowledge about astronomy and algebra,
ideas about free speech... and everything worth knowing about
the fickle art of translation.

In gratitude the West has now ensured that today 40 percent
of children interviewed in Iraq are so traumatized that they
think live is not worth living.

Is the enlightened solution 'more bombing', Messrs. Bush
and Blair?

Are you proud of your 'humanistic values', Mr. Chirac,
Mr. Schroeder, et al? What if the US destroyed European
children? Or do children of les autres not count?

-- Elga Sutter

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