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“We are not afraid of the bombs”

28. March 2002

First report by the International Solidarity Delegation from besieged Iraq

Only a few days in Iraq are sufficient to give us a clear impression about the people´s opinion. Whether we are talking to people on the streets in Baghdad, Basra or in the Shiite holy cities Kufa, Nadshaf or Kerbela, whether we are interviewing official representatives, the answer is everywhere alike: “They might as well bomb us. We cannot do anything about it. But they won´t get us on our knees.”

The embargo lasting for more than ten years has had devastating effects on Iraq. Especially in the hospitals and above all in the Southern region around Basra we experienced terrible situations. After the usage of depleted uranium ammunition by the US, the toll of cancer and malformations has incredibly risen. The delivery of medicine needed for the treatments is being prevented by the sanctions imposed on Iraq. The explanation given by the UN is that it “could be used for military purposes”. Recently, the import of polio-serum was prohibited, as the director of Baghdad children´s hospital states. Many of the patients, also those whose diseases would be curable, do not have any chance to survive. Especially the mothers are well aware of this terrible fact and of who is responsible for their children´s death.

Despite of the difficult situation, Iraq is far from being on its knees. Everywhere we can see economic activity as for example reconstruction and infrastructure civil works both in the public and in the private sector, although the level of before war is far from being reached. However, the main problem is that the import of indispensable facilities, as for example equipment for the production of drinking water, is systematically blocked by the UN.

Despite of the plight, survival is possible. Moreover, Iraq´s potential wealth is obvious to everyone, consequently, there are strong anti-western, mainly anti-American feelings throughout the whole population.

Everywhere, even in hospitals, the International Solidarity Delegation was told: “We do not need charity. What we do need is political solidarity. Prevent a new military aggression against our suffering country and oblige them to lift the embargo!”

Baghdad, March 27, 2002