December 31, 2002
We arrived safely in Baghdad. The trip was long but now that we are here and rested we can see the importance of our presence. This large and beautiful country has suffered terribly under the sanctions and it is impossible to imagine that the people here now face a war that is not only unjustified but for which they have no defense. I urge each of you to redouble your efforts to bring awareness to the calamity that will occur if such a war proceeds.
This is our second full day visiting around Baghdad. I have seen with my own eyes the devastation that continues to affect children all over - both those who lie dying in the hospitals due to the effects of depleted uranium (DU) and lack of adequate drugs such as cancer therapies. At the same time, the continued devaluation of the currency and decline of the economy due to sanctions has made poor nutrition a commonplace thing in this country. The Iraq Ministry of Health estimates that 5 million children suffer from malnutrition and diseases like Tuberculosis and Polio are coming back throughout the country.
Tonight, New Year's Eve, we will hold a vigil in front of the United Nations office here to celebrate our common humanity and that despite Washington's best efforts the majority of people throughout the world are against this war and seek peace. I have been amazed at those I meet from other countries. Not a single one has evidenced anything other than complete and utter condemnation for this war. Neither those who have religious faith nor those with humanitarian conscience.
I will attempt to send out a message each day, however there may be gaps between when I write these and we are able to send them out through our one e-mail connection here.
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