Voices in the Wilderness
A Campaign to End UN/US Economic Sanctions Against the People of Iraq
November 29, 1997
Opinion polls indicate that 75% of Americans want the US to bomb Iraq. Most don't understand that the UN/US economic sanctions inflict destruction, misery and death on Iraqi civilians. They don't understand because theUS media doesn't tell them. Now, more than ever, we need to reach wideraudiences with first hand accounts of the suffering endured by Iraqi people. During this holiday season, when many celebrate a spirit of gift-giving, let us convey to brothers and sisters in the US a simple message: Stop killing children. End the sanctions now.
Amid the recent flare-up of tensions between Iraq and the US over the issue of UN weapon inspections, our eighth delegation traveled to Iraq. They carried $40,000 in medical supplies and a determination to communicate the truth about Iraqi civilian suffering . Bert Sacks, in his second trip to Iraq, repeats like a mantra this question: "Do you know that over one half million children have died in Iraq because of the sanctions?" Delegation member Dan Handelman talked to CNN in Baghdad. "It's ironic, " he said, "that there are weapons inspectors here looking for weapons of mass destruction, when they need look no further than the UN/US economic sanctions. "
Sanctions have inflicted malnutrition, epidemics and critical unemployment levels on Iraq, according to a statement signed, on November 25, 1997, by nine aid agencies working in Baghdad. "The real solution is lifting the embargo," said the agencies. On November 26, 1997, a new UNICEF report stated that some 960,000 or 32 percent of Iraqi children under five years of age are chronically malnourished. "And what concerns us now," said Philippe Heffnick, the UNICEF representative in Baghdad, "is that there is no sign of any improvement since Security Council Resolution 986 (the 'oil-for-food' deal), came into force." Heffnick also stated, "It is clear that children are bearing the brunt of the current economic hardship. They must be protected from the impact of sanctions. Otherwise they will continue to suffer and that we cannot accept."
Meanwhile, the US military commander in the region predicted, on November 27, that "If America must strike against Iraq, it will be far more than a pinprick." The deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians during past bombardments were a pinprick? Negotiations have, at least for now, lessened threats of renewed bombardment, yet the US continues building up weapon strength in the region. A Pentagon spokesperson, speaking at a televised meeting , said that use of nuclear weapons has not been ruled out.
Voices in the Wilderness opposes the development, storage or use of weapons of mass destruction, including use of sanctions as an economic weapon. We believe that the best way for the UN to reduce violence is to immediately end the brutal sanctions, foster dialogue instead of destruction, call for an end to US military buildup in the Gulf, and insist that the US and other weapon producing nations stop supplying weapons to Middle East countries.
As the crisis in Iraq continues, we plan to maintain a presence in Baghdad. Our next delegations will leave the US on December 15, 1997 and January 2, 1998.
Please consider the enclosed activities sheet and join us in seeking effective ways to nonviolently resist the sanctions. Lets do our collective best to persuade communities across this land that Iraqi people are not our enemies. Generous contributions enabled us to begin this campaign almost two years ago. We appreciate your continued support. The campaign has no paid workers but benefits from sturdy volunteer efforts. We pledge to direct all financial assistance toward crucially needed medicines, organizational efforts, outreach and cation.
Bob Bossie, SCJ Kathy Kelly Rick McDowell Chuck Quilty
Help End UN/US Economic Sanctions Against the Children and Families of Iraq
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___collecting medical supplies
___a copy of the Berkeley City Council Resolution calling for an end to
economic sanctions ___new Voices in the Wilderness brochures I need #____ brochures
___receiving a media packet for a meeting with my local media editorial board
___an updated speakers list
___organizing a vigil -- we have samples of interfaith religious services; Christian communities might want to call attention to the December 28th Feast of the Holy Innocents, commemorating the story of infants slaughtered by King Herod.
___I need enlarged pictures for the vigil ___I need sample services
___writing to my Congressperson and Senator
___writing to Kofi Annan, Secretary General Mary Robinson, UN High United Nations Headquarters Commissioner of Human Rights New York, NY 10017 New York, NY 10017 ___more information
___sending a check to Voices in the Wilderness
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