The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Dear List, Morally, if perhaps not legally, the UN has been an accessory to the crimes perpetrated for 12 years by the sanctions regime. Now the UN led by Kofi Annan has become an accessory after the fact to the crimes perpetrated by the occupiers directly. The UN lead by Kofi Annan has been watching from the sidelines as the current human catastrophe is unfolding: -- It has not protested against the US/UK's utter disregard of the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Convention on the duties [of occupying powers] that requires them to ensure the welfare of the population. -- It has not protested against the human rights violations the US/UK are committing by depriving the population of basic human needs: food, water, medical care, proper burial for the dead... and protection against attacks on people's lives and property. -- It has done nothing to ensure that humanitarian groups willing to provide the desperately needed food, water, and medical care can do so in safety. -- The UN has merely "urged" - and waited. So in my view, the UN is guilty as charged. But this does not help the suffering Iraqis. Here is an example of what they are up against: According to IRC reports, the psychiatric clinic El Rashad in Baghdad was ransacked between April 9 and 11. The looters took almost everything and set fire to the rest. All of the 1,050 patients had to flee and several women patients were raped. About 300 of the patients have returned, said Amir Abi, the director of the clinic. But they now live in conditions not fit for human beings since the looters had destroyed everything - including patients' records. There is hardly any food or water. The IRC said it has supplied the clinic with 30,000 litres of water. [APA/AP/sda in Der Standard, April 18] This is just one of the many horror stories that have created the human catastrophe in Iraq. Or should I say 'liberation' catastrophe? The ICRC reports that Al-Kindi Hospital has been ransacked completely - even the beds were taken. The fate of the patients, after the Hospital was abandoned by its staff, is largely unknown. Many other hospitals and health facilities in Baghdad have closed their doors in fear of looters. (Ali, the young boy who lost both his arms and all of his family, is in a hospital in Jordan He is feeling a little better.) Fadela Chaib, Spokeswoman for the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that "Security and Health" cannot be maintained without "civil order": "it is virtually impossible for hospitals to function effectively". And these are Secretary-General Kofi Annan's comments on this human catastrophe: With keen perception Kofi Annan "noted that there appears to be no functioning government in Iraq". This must be the understatement of all times. Mr. Annan also "reaffirmed that the coalition had the responsibility of the welfare of the people in the areas of Iraq under their control." But the "coalition", it seems, needs more than reaffirmation. No doubt they are well acquainted with the Hague Regulations and the articles Geneva Convention. To be fair, Kofi Annan is doing something while the looting and lawlessness continues in Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, Mosul... Mr. Annan is waiting: "The UN is awaiting US CENTCOM's official policy position on this extremely critical situation. This was expected yesterday but has not yet been issued." In other words, if the "US CENTCOM's official policy" favours disregard for the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Convention, Mr. Annan will just wait - while people are starving and dying. (Perhaps he finds it difficult to annoy his US patrons who procured him his position.) These quotes are taken from a UN report "Aid for Iraq" (Transcript of the UN humanitarian briefing in Amman, Jordan), April 11, 2003. http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocusnewsiraq.asp?sID=9 This report includes a "Questions and Answers" part. The questioners are presumably the press. One of the questions, addressed to Nejib Friji, UN Spokesman, aims to find out if the UN is going to _wait_ forever, assuming USUK shirks its responsibility: "Q: (unrecorded) we seem to get a response that indicates that they either don't feel it is their job or they don't have enough people there to handle the security situation. It seems that if this is what we are waiting for, then that is not going to happen. What do you consider is a solution?" The UN spokesman seems to consider "waiting" the solution: "I am afraid that we have to refer you to what the Secretary-General said, that it is the full responsibility of the occupying powers..." etc., etc. But the questioner persists: "Q: I don't mean to be argumentative, given they know this call is being made & their response haven't been pro active, in the meantime you see people dying, if they don't respond, is there anything the UN can do without their help?" Answer: "waiting": the occupying powers are responsible etc. - "they are the only ones who can take action." The UN can but wait: "We have all urged... yet we don't have a reply. We are waiting patiently for some action to be taken. It is not happened yet... We are waiting, we cannot go & deliver safely otherwise." Again, the questioner persists: "Q: What has been the response of Center Com. to the appeals, anything definite?" Short answer: "We are still waiting for a response." So Mr. Annan is "waiting" for a USUK response... and for Iraqi children and adults to die for want, be killed by thugs (US or locals), flee or otherwise 'liberate' themselves from their wretched lives. (The brutal sanctions regime must look wholesome by comparison.) And while he is waiting, the UN Commission on Human Rights is holding its annual session in Geneva. Presumably the Commission will be discussing serious questions of human rights violations. On this occasion, the human rights violations Mr. Annan has left in limbo were put forth by some 100 members of several Iraqi groups. These Iraqis have protested against the "UN's spectator role" in the catastrophic situation in Iraq. On Thursday (April 17) the Iraqi demonstrators handed a letter to Kofi Annan outlining their grievances: "We are deeply concerned", the letter said, "about the spectator role the UN is playing in this human catastrophe, about the violations of human rights, and about the condescending attitude towards the people of Iraq." Demonstrating outside the United Nations building in Geneva, the Iraqi protesters spoke out against the US-British occupation in Iraq. They were dismayed, they said, that the US and Britain will protect Iraq's oil wells but not its museums and libraries. And they demanded that the occupiers take action to provide security and stability in Iraq. They also spoke out against the US-sponsored opposition (Chalabi & Co) presented in Nassiriyah last Tuesday. These people have not been elected by the Iraqis but by the US, said Abdulbaki Al-Khazraji of the Arabic Cultural Centre in Geneva. [Source: Der Standard, April 17] --- Life in Iraq: hellish. To Baghdadis "It feels like living on the Titanic" The looting is only part of the truth. And many Baghdadis believe that the Americans intended to have this mayhem that is wrecking Iraq. "After one week of looting and unrest, people are screaming for law and order and the Americans are able to take ruthless measures to contain us", said Muayed al-Windawi, a university professor. ["Report from Baghdad", Der Standard, April 16] This makes sense: sponsored anarchy as a resistance breaker. Israeli-style 'pacification' would have caused worldwide outrage - and would have been counterproductive to the occupiers. Muhammad Baqer al-Hakim, chairman of the SCRI goes further than "intended unrest". He has warned against a "a civil war" organized by the Americans in Iraq. [Source: "Bush asks for lifting Iraq's sanctions"; "al-Hakim accuses US of organizing a civil war"] http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/030417/2003041712.html --- I am attaching a note from Kathy Kelly. It is dated April 10. She describes the current situation through the eyes of an Iraqi mother, Umm Zainab - and through the eyes of occupying soldiers. My apologies if it has been posted before. --Elga Sutter ------------Fwd Message------------ XVI. Note from Kathy Kelly in Baghdad At 9:40 PM -0500 4/12/03, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: Dear Friends, It was with great relief that we received an update from Kathy today. Only through unreliable satellite connection have we received sporadic word from our team still in Baghdad. We think Kathy's letter, which follows, speaks volumes to the current tragedy playing itself out on the streets of Baghdad and, undoubtedly, throughout Iraq. Please bear with us as we discern next steps, not just with our team in Iraq but here at home as well. As government and media pundits alike insist that this war is "ending," we urge the doubling of efforts to call attention to the fact that war doesn't end for those who have lost Limbs, loved ones, homes, and precious sense of security, to blind greed. Hello Friends, > >> April 10, 2003 Early this morning, Umm Zainab sat quietly in the Al Fanar lobby staring at the parade of tanks, APCs, and Humvees that slowly rolled into position along Abu Nuwas Street. Tears streamed down her face. "I am very sad," she told me. "Never I thought this would happen to my country. Now, I think, my sadness will never go away." Wanting to give Umm Zainab some quiet time, I took her two toddlers, Zainab and Miladh, outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Several soldiers stood guard not far from me and the children. I wanted to bring the children over to them, to let them behold these tiny beauties. But, no, too much of a risk -- what if it would add to Umm Zaineb's pain? Eun Ha Yoo, our Korean Peace Team friend, unrolled a huge artwork created by a Korean artist, Chae Pyong Doh, and sweetly laid it out in the intersection just outside the Al Fanar. As I write, Neville Watson and Cathy Breen are taking their turns sitting in the middle of it. A map of the world covers the top third; grieving victims of war fill the middle third; piles of ugly weapons with various flags scattered over them bulge out of the bottom third. Neville has set up his prayer stool and a small wooden cross where he sits. Cathy is wearing her "War Is Not The Answer" t-shirt. At least a dozen soldiers have stopped to talk with us since we began the vigil at 3 this afternoon. "OK, can you tell us your side of the story?" asked one young man. "Can I sit there with you for awhile?" asked another. Each of them has assured us that they didn't want to kill anyone. One young man said he was desperate for financial aid to care for his wife and child while struggling to complete college studies and work full time. He felt he could gain some respect in this world and also help his family by joining the Marines. He's relieved that he was stationed at the rear of a line coming up from the south. His role was to guard prisoners. He didn't shoot anyone. But he saw US soldiers shoot at a civilian car with three passengers as it approached. The child in the car survived - both of his parents were immediately killed. "They could have shot the tires," said the soldier. "Some just want to kill." One soldier offered earnest concern for us, saying "You're sitting in a dangerous place."We smiled. "Thanks," I said, "but we've been in a dangerous place for the past three weeks."He was puzzled. "What they mean," said a soldier standing next to him, "is that they've been here all through three weeks of bombing." "Do you try to put yourselves in our shoes?" asked one soldier after he'd respectfully listened to me explain major contradictions between US rhetoric and practice regarding Iraq. "Well, yes," I said, "We try. We're taking the same risk as you by being here, and perhaps an even greater risk since we're unarmed and unprotected. Actually, just now we're lucky not to be burdened by all that heavy gear.""Yeah," said the soldier, "It's really hot. I don't have much of an appetite. I just give away most of my rations, - gave 'em to these people." Hassan, one of the shoeshine boys, came over to join us, carrying a ration packet. He opened it, came across processed apple spread, and a few other curious items, then decided to donate it to us. Now the flies have discovered it. It looks like we're on "lock-down" for a while longer. Iraqi minders are gone, -- US soldiers are here. They're uncoiling barbed wire at the intersection. Anyone wanting to walk across the street is stopped, questioned, and searched. Since I began this letter, there have been four huge explosions nearby. Looting and burning continue, here in Baghdad. I'm sick of war -- disgusted to the point of nausea. I think all of us at this intersection, residents of the Al Fanar, journalists in the Palestine Hotel next door, and soldiers on patrol, share the same queasy ill feeling. The line, "War is the health of the state" makes no sense whatsoever here. With love, Kathy Kelly ------------End------------ _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk