von Peter Nowak (translated for special) - 13.02.2003 18:43

The power lords plan a massacre on the Iraq population which is lead to
impoverishment, illness and death by embargo an other measurements since 10
years. With delegations of solidarity internationalists from all over the world
want to show, that they are on the side of the Iraq population. Here is the
reporte about a delegation. The author is available for events of the delegation
and shows, that the embargo is part of the war against the Iraq population.



from Peter Nowak - 12th Feb. 2003 00:21 a.m.

The power lords plan a massacre on the Iraq population which is lead to
impoverishment, illness and death by embargo an other measurements since 10
years. With delegations of solidarity internationalists from all over the world
want to show, that they are on the side of the Iraq population. Here is the
reporte about a delegation. The author is available for events of the delegation
and shows, that the embargo is part of the war against the Iraq population.

"You will travel to Iraq?" one looks at you incredulously if you told this
destination to your friends. Even the most educated pal, who does not get
his/her daily information by the yellow press is shocked a little, if you tell
him/her, that you want to travel this country which is indisputably No. 1 of
the rogue nations since months. Jokes are made about the very bluff
war-propaganda. But to drive there and to look into the eyes of people who could be
military targets of the Pentagon very soon, hardly anybody wants. After all a
journey to Bagdad these days isn't so easy, like tourists are used to
nowadays. The embargo makes direct-flight is impossible. You can arrive to Bagdad,
by bus or airplane only via the Jordan capital Amman, one of the Middle East
linchpins. On the outward journey we decide the quicker way.

First impression of the "evil empire" is nearly disappointing banal. A
clear, modern airport welcomes the few passengers, comfort and commodiousness is
nearly the same as in many German airports. Discreet music helps the time pass
while we wait for the visa. Not that discreet, but also not that noteworthy
is the portrait of the head of state Saddam Hussein, like the airport is
named. Formalities are handled quickly. Now all mobile phones are numbered and
collected. Iraq is one of the few cities where the use of mobiles is not
possible. Although the order to hand out the mobiles is declared very
authoritatively, the disobeyance has no consequences. I had mine in my backpack during the
entire stay in Iraq. With hinsight i don't want to blamed to have yield
the orders of a dictationship.

Then we drive to hotel Rashid. For most of the travelers is was like a
cultural shock to stay in this luxury hotel. It is only allayed by the chance, to
spurn Bush senior, commander of the USA in the last gulf-war and father of
the present US-president. His protrait flaunts on a big doormat in the hotel
entrance. Buttler every time and everywhere, who open the lift-door with
servile kindliness. The basement floor is decorated in x-mas style, cause the few
foreign journalists celebrate Christmas and New Years Eve. "We cannot catch up
with the population here", a travel passenger jokes.

But the very next day we found ourselves in the middle of a crowd. Like an
official state delegation, on top a jeep with flash lights, we went to
Saddam-city, the poor district of Bagdad. The last years, especially Shiit people
from the South of the country were settled here, so that the population figure
increased rapidly. Even through the bus window the poorness of the population
can be seen. Many children walk barefoot on the dusty alleys, althought it
is not warm enough. Having reached the destination, a crowd awaits us. As soon
as we get out of the car slogans are scanned. "Saddam, Saddam, we give our
blood for you", they are translated for us. Besides they wave little pictures
of the Iraq head of state. Obviously school clases were made to marsch and
celebrate affirmation for the regime. What's noteworthy is, that the older
youngsters don't scant slogans but watch the scene in an amused way.

Contrast to Saddam-city is the inner city of Bagdad. The government
boulevard can compete with any European city when it comes to luxury. The country
deleted the damages of the first gulf-war in a remarkable hurry. Saddam-tower,
stadium and palaces are spotlighted even at night. Images of the president,
who can be seen everywhere in various poses, heap here. You can see him wearing
the uniform of the commander, a few miles ahead in a white suit and a dove
of peace. Also on television you can see Saddam Hussein at prime time. The
audience needs patience and humour. Approx. 20 minutes you can see, how a couple
of military officers court the head of state, including curtsies and
imbrasings. After this ceremony everybody present sit down on a round table to have
a conference. Subsequently an astoundingly modern song is played and pictures
of mass marches are shown to praise Saddam.

In many regions in Iraq the inhabitants have to do without the daily
broadcast of Saddam, cause they simply don't own a TV set. People in Basra in
the South of Iraq have totally different problems anyway. Daily power
plackouts and queuing for the most necessary things of everyday life affect their
lives. You can see the traces of last war everywhere. Many houses, which were
destroyed within the war Iran vs. Iraq were not rebuilt. But a monument was
raised for the military who died in that war. On the river of Shatt-el-Arab
soldiers stand in line as monuments in life-size. With their fingers they point
to the other side of the coast, where the Iranian region is. So as if they
want to say: "You bare the blame!"

But you can feel the war bewteen USA and Iraq of the early 90s even more
intensive. In the mother-child-hospital in Basra you can see a heir to war which
is special perfide. The number of
leukemia-cases quintupled in the South of Iraq since 1991. 3 % of all
newborn have heavy abnormities. Not only physicians are aware that the damages in
the increasing number of leukemia and physical abnormities arise from the
approx. 300 tons of uran ammunition, which was shot from the US army in the
region around Basra. "We can only allay the pain. But we cannot rescue the
children", a physician sais resigned. But there are medicaments, which could save or
at least lengthen the lives of many patients. Because of the embargo they
are not allowed to be imported. Even the centrifuge for blood-cleaning, bought
by an Austrian help-project "Aladdins Wunderlampe", were held back from the
embargo comission pushed by the USA. This way it is impossible to implement
the measurements of blood-cleaning which are essential for a person with
leukemia.

In the desert around Basra there rest numerous burned down tanks. "During
the vamoose retreat from Kuwait they were shot by US-military like chicken", a
man who lives in that region reports, "the number of dead people was nearly
tenthousand. Nearly everybody lost relatives". Therefore it is even more
incredible how evenminded the people live and work facing this new menace of war.

"People here are not afraid. They know what war is like", the Iraq vice
president Tarik Asiz explains. He invited several foreign delegations for an
audience in a hotel in Bagdad. It was clear, that the regime put on a propaganda
appearance. It was nearer to reality to talk to the population instead of the
statement of the vice president. An old man in a tea-house in Bagdad said:
"We have to live here. We have no other place to go." And he added: "we
Erheblich näher als das Statement des Vizepräsidenten kam man der Realität, wenn
man mit der Bevölkerung ins Gespräch kam. So meinte ein alter Mann, der uns in
einem Teehaus in Bagdad freundlich begrüßte: "Wir müssen hier leben. Wir
haben keinen anderen Ort, wo wir hingehen können." Und er fügt hinzu: "So many
things are needed here, except war".

Peter Nowak

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