"Are We Less than Animals?"
Iraqi Dominican Sisters Appeal to President Bush, American People

March 14,  2003

To all people of good will round the world, Love and Peace of Christ be with you.

We are addressing President Bush and all the American people as human beings, not as a president of United States. We presume that as Christians you have hearts full of love and compassion. You will pity our Iraqi children, our elderly, and our youth that have no hope in a better future and a decent life.

We, Dominican sisters and brothers in Iraq, are living and sharing with our people in their sufferings. The Iraqis have been going through hard times for twenty-three years, for they have witnessed two disastrous wars. If President Bush starts another military attack against Iraq, we think this will be a catastrophe. We believe that you can feel the danger that is looming over the Iraqi civilians. That is why millions of people from different countries round the world are demonstrating, writing letters and trying to put pressure on President Bush not to initiate a new military attack.

President Bush defends the rights of animals. Have we less value than animals? He claims that he is trying to defend human rights in Iraq. He is willing to build a new Iraq. He tried to convince the people in the US and the peoples round the world that he will only bomb the army and the weapons in the country. He promises that he is not going to bring any harm to the civilians. Is he throwing flowers on people? He is going to use mass destructive weapons, which are going to result in great damage to our culture, our land, and history, and cause the death of thousands of our innocent people of all ages.

As some of you who have visited Iraq may know, the army camps are very close to people's houses. We have two convents: one at the beginning of the army camp and the other at the end. Will the bombing kill the soldiers or the people? We are living in great fright, panic, and extreme worry. We are suffering not only a military war, but also we have been suffering from very hard psychological situation since President Bush has started his inhuman threats to initiate another war on our people.

The uncertain moments and the hard current times have made us wait for our death in no time. Everyday we thank God for being alive because we do not know what tomorrow has hidden for us. The nightmare of the new war is haunting us always and everywhere. God has granted us life freedom as His precious gifts. Why Does President Bush want to take it away and deprive us of our freedom?

You cannot imagine that even our children can no longer stand these threats and can no longer bear the psychological tension and despair. They inquire, when will the war begin? You are deceived and we are captured by your mass media, which is the biggest liar. Our children, women and people are dying of malnutrition and starvation because of the inhuman sanctions. The sanctions have caused the death of one million and a half of Iraqi people, mostly women and children. Why do you want to finish them by a new war? We will ask the American youth, "Do they face or wait for their death every single moment? If so, will they not explode?" Why should the American people have the right to live in peace, safety and prosperity? Is their life more valuable than the life of other people, for instance the Iraqi people? Our university students have waved goodbye to each other on Saturday, the 15th of March and they are prepared for the war. They have no mood for study. We think they are right because they are disappointed and hope for them seems the most hopeless thing. A couple of days ago, we could dream of safety and peace, but now we no longer know what these words mean because violence, suffering, and fear are enfolding us.

At last we would like to say that we are not cured of the Gulf war. How can we persevere the effects of the new one, which will be even worse? The war is not only disastrous and destructive in its direct effects, but also in its lasting effects. The innocent people will not only be the victims of the bombing, but also the preys of contaminated drinking water, polluted environments, depleted uranium, inadequate medical supply, and crippled electric power. We ask all of you who have compassionate heart and love for humanity to bring the suffering and the worry of the Iraqi people in every pulpit, every classroom, and every place where the Word of God is preached. Let everyone hear about the truth of the Iraqi people's pain. Please listen to the cries of the Iraqi children and double your efforts to stop the new war from happening. In this way only you can eliminate the anguish, calm down the cry of the Iraq Children in the midst of their sleep: "Here are they come to bomb us and bring about our death." Is it fair to be going through all this? Is it acceptable? Is our crime that we are floating on a huge sea of black gold? What is the use of it, except to pay for our death? Why are we unable to dream of a bright future and a decent life?

We greatly appreciate your efforts on our behalf and also your prayers. Love and prayers can work miracles.

God bless you all!

Your Dominican Sisters in Iraq