ME and Ophelia

Sunday, May 16, 2004

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Norman Geras collected a number of different items he'd read in the last couple of days about the state of things in Iraq. Here are some extracts (note the last sentence):

Mohammed at Iraq the Model: The point behind all these pictures and stories I mentioned [earlier in the post] is that the people started to speak out and express their feelings and here we're in great need for support from the free world to back the progress. Moving back is absolutely unacceptable; we've put our feet on the right way and we need help from the others. Never let the bad pictures lay their heavy shadow on the good, bright ones.

Pam Bone in the Melbourne Age: There are other stories in Iraq too - money on a scale not seen since the Marshall Plan is being spent on water, sanitation, training, public health; 3 million children are being vaccinated; more than 80 new women's groups have been formed and last week Baghdad's first women's refuge was set up. On Wednesday full authority of the ministries of foreign affairs and of water resources was handed back to the Iraqi people. Iraq has been reinstated into the UN and the Arab League. The supervisor of 17 recent town council elections reported that nearly all the successful candidates were educated moderates. "Enthusiasm for these elections was enormous," the supervisor said.

Ann Clwyd in the the Times: There are many positive signs of renewal. Dr Latif Rashid, the Minister for Water and Irrigation, is co-ordinating the effort to restore the Marshlands, drained by Saddam. Thousands of displaced Marsh Arabs are returning to the area to resume a way of life and culture that was 5,000 years old. Civic society is flourishing. There are 91 TV and radio stations, 106 newspapers are regularly published, hundreds of Iraqi journalists are being trained to question rather than parrot regime press releases. Voluntary organisations such as the Free Prisoners' Association are proliferating. It gathers documents detailing the atrocities of the fallen regime to help to inform those who are still trying to trace their relatives. They have recorded 120,00 killings so far with a mountain of documents to work through. For them the grief and the suffering under Saddam is not yet in the past.
There is little nostalgia for Saddam and a mixture of apprehension and optimism about the future. The task of rebuilding Iraq was never going to be easy. The years of brutalisation and deprivation brought Iraqis to their knees. I asked Dr Ali Allawi, the new Minister for Defence, what Britain could do now. His answer was swift: "Just stay the course."

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Ann Clwyd MP
Wins prestigious political award

Ann Clywd MP, Vice-Chairman of the British Group of the IPU, was chosen as Campaigning Politician of the Year in Channel 4’s Political Awards for 2003. Ann who won the award in a ballot of MPs has been doggedly campaigning for years on behalf of the Kurds in Iraq. The year before, as the Prime Minister’s special envoy on human rights, she gave a graphic and moving account to MPs in Westminster of her post-war visits to mass graves in Iraq and Saddam’s torture chambers. Ann is also noted for her work as a long-standing member of the IPU’s International Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 5/16/2004
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