Innocents who are victims of the 'immoral' sanctions

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 9 May 2002 08:50:57 +0100

THE professor of linguistics at Basra University was desperate. "What
could we do?" he asked in perfect English learned without leaving Iraq. 

His 11-year-old daughter had severe epilepsy and was dying. He knew the
expertise to deal with her illness was available abroad, but because of
economic sanctions, he said, the appropriate treatment was impossible. 

Kadhim Al-Ali, our delegation's official translator in Basra, was
speaking during a tour of the Saddam teaching hospital where the
authorities allow visitors to see the impact of economic sanctions and
alleged victims of military aggression. 

The professor's sadness was tinged with anger at the iniquity of a
system that was condemning his daughter to a premature death. 

The three senior doctors we spoke to throughout our visit to the
teaching hospital and the children's hospital in Basra insisted that
depleted uranium was the cause of the increased incidence of patients
with cancer and leukaemia. 

Their professional integrity was offended because they knew they were
doing less for their patients than they could with the appropriate
equipment and medical supplies. 

Whether the Iraqi government could do more to help patients is now
academic. Everybody mentions the draconian sanctions and the lack of
medicine, from Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister, to street traders
in Baghdad and Basra. 

One doctor said: "All our people know the situation and know the truth.
They know the shortage of drugs is about sanctions. They know the truth,
they really know the truth." 

Svend Robinson, a Canadian MP opposed to the sanctions, certainly
believes the US and Britain have lost the propaganda battle. 

Speaking to The Herald yesterday, he ridiculed suggestions that
sanctions may be working. "They are absolutely not, you just have to
look at the reality of it. Saddam has certainly not been weakened, and
over 500,000 children, according to Unicef figures, have died as a
direct result of the sanctions. That is profound immorality," he said. 

On new sanctions likely to be endorsed by the UN, Mr Robinson added:
"They are idiotic. In real terms, they won't improve the lives of the
ordinary Iraqi. The only smart move would be removal of economic

Iraqis also agree privately that, as long as sanctions remain, any focus
of discontent will be targeted on the international community rather
than domestic politicians. The Iraqis boast they are a proud people and
will not be sanctioned into submission. 

Hussein Hassan, a poet and journalist, said: "A US general threatened to
bomb North Vietnam back to the stone age ... A US secretary of state
said the same thing about Iraq 12 years ago. We are still here." 

Source:  The Herald

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