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 Turning Despair to Hope

استعرض الموضوع السابق استعرض الموضوع التالي اذهب الى الأسفل 
كاتب الموضوعرسالة
Dr.Hannani Maya
المشرف العام
المشرف العام

الدولة : العراق
الجنس : ذكر
عدد المساهمات : 38191
مزاجي : أحب المنتدى
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
الابراج : الجوزاء
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مُساهمةموضوع: Turning Despair to Hope    الإثنين 11 أبريل 2011, 23:24

Turning Despair to Hope

As the US., and UK., rope in NATO and a few straggling cronies to bring freedom and democracy to Libya with Cruise missiles, and free the oil, water and gold bullion rich country of a "tyrant" - in the latest barrage of terror tactics, launched on 19th March, the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, do they have a thought for the "collateral damage", the scale, the horror imposed in 2003, and ongoing?

April 9th ., marks the eighth anniversary of the shameful specter of Burmese born Cpl., Edward Chin (23) covering the face of the statue of Iraq's President in Firdos Square, with a US., flag; the statue being toppled. It was certainly symbolic - a symbol for the onset of the destruction of society, history, culture and lives decimated under the Stars and Stripes - continuing unremittingly. (Chin later said he had second thoughts about what message the use of the flag might send to the Iraqi people, that it might suggest US., occupation.) "At that moment, I was just doing what I was told to by my Commanding Officer", he said.

Part of the tragedy which that moment marked, is the also the "collateral damage" of the nearly five million Iraqis displaced since. Fleeing an ethnic violence, engendered (some say orchestrated) by the invasion, amongst peoples who had lived together for centuries. For Iraq's "huddled masses", bombed, bewildered, despairing, dispossessed, just seventeen million US$'s were alloted - compared to two hundred Billion$'s for military purposes.

The majority have fled to neighboring Jordan and Syria. Syria has population of under twenty three million. Jordan's population is under six million, of whom UNHCR estimate that between 750,000 and a million are Iraqis displaced since 2003. The number may well be an underestimate. Many have fled with what savings they have, from a country where some estimate unemployment since the invasion as high as seventy percent. They have fled kidnapping threats, bombings, militia, sectarian death threats, envelopes with bullets in put through the door with their name on - the bodies of those they love dumped, horribly mutilated outside their homes.

For those without $US or other hard currency, the Iraqi Dinar at the time of writing 1,183 Iraq Dinar buys one Jordanian Dinar. An Iraq Dinar barely buys a few postage stamps in Jordan.

Frequently they arrive with just that which they can carry. Jordan's economy and employment has suffered from the influx, desperate Iraqis will work in the black economy, for lower wages. The government offers residency to Iraqis who can pay at least $150,000. Few can. Others are "temporary guests", with no legal status or work permission. When the permits expire, most then decide to stay illegally rather than return to the terror they fled.

Over-stayers (of any nationality) in Jordan are expected to make payments to the Jordanian government for every day over the allowed period. Most unable to do so, they remain in legal, residential and financial limbo, also outside the health care system, many suffering from injures and serious medical conditions. Their children cannot go to school and for those on any firmer legal ground, they cannot anyway pay the entrance fees, uniforms, books.

Sasha Crow, from Oregon, went to Iraq with hundreds of others, from numerous countries, as a Human Shield, in 2003, a final desperate effort to prevent the bombing and invasion, which, short of a miracle, was clearly inevitable. She has, in a sense, been trying, against all odds, to be a human shield for Iraqis ever since.

In response to the totality of the "collateral damage" at every level, Crow, with fellow Oregonian, Mary Madsen, set up the "Collateral Repair Project" (CRP) now based in Jordan's capitol, Amman. "Crisis is the everyday reality for nearly one million Iraqi refugees in Jordan. Without prospects of returning to their country, professions, homes and extended families, they languish in poverty and a growing sense of hopelessness for their future and that of their children. For them, the war is not over and thoughts of returning home are untenable. The threats to their lives remain a terrifying fact and hope slowly dissolves into despair and clinical depression. The sense of having been forgotten by the rest of the world is common throughout the refugee population", she says.

This small hands on, grass roots project responds instantly to a call for help, no bureaucracy, form filling, queuing, Crow and the "skeletal staff", she has now gathered, some Iraqi refugees themselves, simply respond by knocking at a door, listening to the problems and attempting to meet basic needs. Frequently they are shatteringly basic.

Recently, they : "received a desperate call" from a family. Their story is not unusual. Unable to work, money exhausted, they were four months behind with the rent. The water and electricity had been cut off due to non payment. The father of the three young children (7, 4 and 3) had been kidnapped by the militia, and tortured for twenty two days. The day he escaped, they fled.

They cannot return to Iraq for fear he will be kidnapped again and he cannot even work: "hauling things on the streets in the busy downtown area." UNHCR have decided they are not eligible for resettlement abroad, thus, their asylum seeker registration form, and the protection it guarantees in the right to remain, has been removed. Without that paper, if he becomes visible, is asked for it and found without, they can be expelled from the country.

They: "live in a two room hovel, cold, bleak, the only furniture a single mattress leaning against the wall. There are no bathing facilities, the bathroom is a floor toilet, encrusted with mold. The kitchen is cockroach infested - and there was no food at all." The wife is pregnant, near full term, has not been able to afford to see a doctor. If she goes to hospital for the birth, it will cost $600. They have been able to plan no baby clothes, blankets, even small carrier for the baby to sleep in. The youngest child has anaemia - and they can no longer afford the iron tablets.

Sasha and Mary Shepherd, who joined her recently at the project, had brought small gifts of candy, paints and crayons for the children."They immediately ate the candy - then they ate the crayons and paint as well. We both had to look down to avoid them seeing the tears in our eyes." With the economic downturn, the Emergency Assistance budget is empty, but the family were given food, as a start, from the two's very minimal salaries.

The needs they try to meet are enormous, as is the mental toll they take.

One family arrived with just $7 to hopefully start a new life. CRP provided rent and basic necessities for two months. Another, Zeinab, a widow, was left to bring up six children, after her husband was killed in Baghdad, passing an area targeted by US., forces.

Another family, followers of the Sabean faith, were repeatedly the victims of militia attacks for being non-Muslim (unheard of before the invasion.) The husband was violently beaten, then their house was burned down. They moved, but there was no escape. The bodies of tortured, murdered victims were dumped in their yard. They fled, leaving everything. "In Baghdad we were wealthy, now we have nothing", she said, as the tears flowed.

Hussein, was working in maintenance for Baghdad City. Three masked men pulled up and opened fire on him: "Probably because he was a minority sect in his neighbourhood." They left him for dead, with nine bullets in his body, one exiting through his left eye, destroying it. He is now paraplegic. When he was recovered enough, he and his family too left for Jordan. "What resources did they have?" The only thing they had left of value was his electric wheelchair - which he sold for $400.

They paid two months rent on a "tiny sub-standard apartment." Hussein now spends his days in bed, looked after by his frail mother, who had managed to pile some blankets behind him and a small end table, so he can at least sit up. CRP., is trying to buy him a new wheelchair, and rehouse them in an apartment which is wheelchair accessible, with enough space for him also to be able to move around in his chair within. He needs a hospital bed - and they need rent and food money.

Semira and her father, were set on fire by militia, after beating them badly. She survived, he father did not. "She receives approximately $100 financial assistance - her rent is $70." The apartment had: "huge areas of wall missing, making it impossible to heat - but she had no heater." CRP hired their Iraqi handy man to repair the wall, reinforce the badly leaking roof - and provided a heater.

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Iraq Blocks Aid to Iranian Exiles

The government of Iraq continued on Saturday to block the delivery of American humanitarian aid to Iranian exiles who were wounded in clashes with the Iraqi Army at a camp north of Baghdad, an American military spokesman said.

On Saturday, a spokesman for the People’s Mujahedeen, an Iranian exile organization that the United States classifies as a terrorist group, said the number of people killed Friday by the Iraqi Army rose to 33, including 8 women. Members of the group are essentially stateless but are supposed to be protected by the Geneva Conventions.

The State Department and the United Nations have condemned the attack at Camp Ashraf, but the exact details of the episode remained murky on Saturday, and the United States military has said the Iraqi government denied it permission to deliver humanitarian assistance.

Iranians in the camp say Iraqi security forces opened fire on them, but the Iraqi government has denied that.Reporters Without Borders, an advocacy group, condemned the Iraqi government, saying in a statement: "This news blackout is unacceptable. The security forces are denying journalists access to the camp to hide abuses committed against civilians. Anyone trying to take photographs of the clashes is being attacked in a systematic and targeted fashion."

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الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
Turning Despair to Hope
استعرض الموضوع السابق استعرض الموضوع التالي الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة 
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