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GROUND ZERO TO BAGHDAD: Milan Rai goes to Europe, New York, Iraq

Dear friends,

This is to let you know that I am about to undertake another 
delegation to Iraq for Voices in the Wilderness UK in a month's time. 
Voices UK campaigns for the immediate and unconditional lifting of 
economic sanctions on Iraq. I am a founder and joint coordinator.

Tomorrow, I will be embarking on a three-week solidarity tour of 
European anti-sanctions and anti-war groups - in Spain, Portugal, Italy, 
Germany, and France.

Then, at the beginning of December, I will be travelling to New York 
to join Voices US and my fellow Voices UK delegate Matt Barr 
(interviewed in the latest issue of the Voices newsletter) for an anti-
war protest at the site of the September 11 atrocities. Matt will have 
been on a Walk for Healing and Peace from Washington DC to New 

Days later, Matt and I will travel together to Iraq with Kathy Kelly and 
other friends from Voices US. This will not be an ordinary ‘sanctions-
breaking’ delegation (though we will be breaking the sanctions), 
because of the threat of military action while we are in Iraq. 

My first visit to Iraq in February 1998, with Martin Thomas of the 
Gulf Peace Team, was also an ‘interposition’ delegation, when strikes 
were being predicted for the fifth day of our presence in Baghdad. 
Due to the valuable work of Kofi Annan, the military attack was 
averted on that occasion (though President Clinton did launch major 
strikes at the end of the year).

Matt and I are fully aware of the risks involved in our delegation. But 
we believe that our presence in Iraq can be a helpful contribution to 
the ordinary families of Iraq. Personally, as a father, having seen tiny 
children suffering and dying in Iraq because of economic sanctions, I 
cannot stand by. 

I wish I could guarantee my six-year-old son Arkady that I will return 
from Iraq. But I am certain that this is the right path for me to take. I 
hope that Arkady will accept my taking these risks when he grows up. 
I feel I have responsibilities to other children as well as to him.

UNICEF said in August 1999 that the economic sanctions had 
contributed to the deaths of 500,000 children under the age of five.

When Voices started in this country, it was very much a one-man 
band. I’m glad to say that it is now a strong and seasoned team of 
campaigners who I am proud to work with. I have no qualms leaving 
the campaign in their hands as I tour Europe and travel to New York 
and onto Baghdad.

On behalf of Voices, I would like to thank everyone who has 
supported us this far in the campaign. The battle is being won, slowly 
but surely. With your support, Voices in the Wilderness UK will do 
everything in its power to bring forward the day that economic 
sanctions on Iraq are lifted.

Matt and I would be grateful for any contributions you can make 
towards our joint delegation, and for the work of voices uk. If you can 
help, please make your cheque out to <Voices in the Wilderness UK> 
(however large or small the amount!) and send it to 16B Cherwell St, 
Oxford OX4 1BG.

We will try to keep this list updated on events, and we will post 
material on the ARROW website also - 

With warmest wishes,

Milan Rai

Milan Rai
Joint Coordinator, Voices in the Wilderness UK

PS Please feel free to forward this email, or to release it publicly 
wherever you feel is appropriate.

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