/ liberty as death /
Dr. Entissar Mohammad Ariabi, a pharmacist from Yarmook Hospital went to the US to talk about what's really happening in Iraq, three years after the invasion, from her experience as someone who works in one of the largest hospitals in Iraq. Her testimony is truly horrific and infuriating, as it points to a willful (and murderous) mismanagement for the sake of profiteering, that defies any sort of ethics, apart from the deadly toll of an already immensely murderous campaign:
After our hospitals were bombed and looted, millions of dollars were given to contractors to repair them. We suggested that this money be used to buy things that we urgently need, but the contractors refused and instead bought furniture and flowers and superficial things. Meanwhile, we suffer from a critical shortage of medicines, emergency supplies and anesthesia, and there is no sterilization in the operation rooms. As the director of the pharmacy department in my hospital, I refused to sit on a new chair while there were no sterile operating rooms.
And confirms that the health situation in the country is even worse than it was under the UN sanctions:
Diseases that were under control under the regime of Saddam Hussein, diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, meningitis, polio, have now returned to haunt the population, especially the children. Death due to cancer has increased because treatment programs stopped and medicines are not available. The health of the Iraqi people is also devastated by environmental contamination due to the destruction of our water and sewage systems.
The health of women, particularly pregnant women, has deteriorated. Many pregnant women suffer from malnutrition. When it comes time to give birth, many women prefer to give birth at home because they fear being shot on their way to the hospital and they know the bad conditions in the hospitals. As a result, more women are dying in childbirth, and more babies are dying.
Before the occupation, with all the problems we had under sanctions, Iraq ranked number 80 in the worldwide list of deaths of children under 5. Today, we have jumped up to number 36. UNICEF has said that the rate of severe malnutrition among Iraqi children has almost doubled since the occupation.
So it seems that when the occupation forces are not busy killing six-month-old infants and two-year-old children with their own hands, they are spreading death much more efficiently through institutionalized negligence.
Three years ago, as the US armed forces invaded Iraq, creating what was an easily predictable catastrophe in an already ravaged land, millions of people world wide demonstrated against the intervention, sensing (I suspect) directly or indirectly that this would be the opening act of a much larger campaign of recolonisation and of war. In the process the ethos of the US government was demonstrated in the killing fields of Fallujah, in Abu Ghraib and in the myriads of theatres of the most horrendous violence and repression, already far beyond what Saddam would have been able to inflict on his own country. The net result is a brewing low intensity civil war in Iraq, that threatens at any moment to erupt on a grander scale, coupled with unfathomable destruction and looting by the partners of the Bush regime - a gang of kleptocrats that would put Yeltsin to shame. The mantra that if the occupation forces leave now the situation will only become worse, is tired already and will possibly become a self-fulfilling prophecy if they are not removed now, but are rather left to watch over a civil war whose flames they can only fan. The only reasonable chance that Iraq has of avoiding a total civil war is immediate negotiated withdrawal of occupation forces now.
As we speak it seems possible that the same crew of warmongers is preparing the ground for an attack on Iran which, most rational people would agree, will create an even more deadly and dangerous world. In this event anti-war demonstrations are not enough. Any government which chooses to ride the Bush bandwagon should be brought down by demonstrations, strikes, and every imaginable sort of campaign. This is not only for the sake of the people of Iran (for whom an aerial attack on nuclear facilities will be a disaster of immense scale), but for the sake of our own lives and the lives of our children.