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Direct Aid Update, March 2009

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  • BPAC Peace
    Noah Baker Merrill, Project Director of Direct Aid Iraq will speak in Bloomington, IN on March 25th at the Benefit for the People of Iraq. Join us! Date: Wed,
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4, 2009
      Noah Baker Merrill, Project Director of Direct Aid Iraq will speak in Bloomington, IN on March 25th at the Benefit for the People of Iraq.
      Join us!

      Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2009 13:39:22 -0500
      From: ben@...
      To: BPACpeace@...
      Subject: Direct Aid Update, March 2009

      Direct Aid Iraq | Invest in Peace


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      Photos by Sama Al-Shaibi in Amman, Jordan. More photos and videos from Sama will be posted soon at DAI's website.
      Salaamu Alaykum,
      As the sixth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq approaches this month, many Americans look upon President Obama's announcement of a gradual troop withdrawal with a sense of relief. For the one in five Iraqis who are displaced, however, relief remains a distant dream.
      We are very lucky this month to be able to offer you a small glimpse of what the millions of people who have been displaced to Jordan and Syria face on a daily basis. Thanks to the work of Sama Al-Shaibi in Amman and Refugees International in Damascus, these pictures and videos are a powerful reminder that although the American military footprint may grow smaller, and the American media may for the most part ignore Iraq, the people of that country will be paying a very high price for many years to come because of the actions of the United States.
      In a time of deepening economic crisis and uncertainty, we believe that a relatively small investment now - whether it be time or money - in friendship, support and reparations can pay for itself many times over in building a foundation for a future without trillion-dollar wars, humanitarian catastrophes, and political instability that threatens the world's economy.
      We hope you'll join us in building that foundation in whatever way you can. The stories below illustrate some of our ongoing efforts, as well as a few of our successes.

      New videos on the lives of refugees in Syria and Jordan

      Our colleagues at Refugees International are at the forefront of policy advocacy work in Washington, D.C. to improve conditions for displaced Iraqis. DAI's Noah Baker Merrill has shared panel discussions with RI's Senior Advocate Kristele Younes several times, and we believe their policy work is powerful and important. They've recently produced a series of short YouTube videos highlighting the plight of Iraqis in Syria and steps you can take to encourage improvements in US policy, and we wanted to share them with you in the hope that they will inform, inspire, and move you and others to action in support of Iraq's displaced.

      View the videos from Refugees International
      This winter, award-winning Iraqi-American filmmaker Sama Al-Shaibi has been in Amman, Jordan accompanying Iraqi coordinators of Direct Aid Iraq in their work, and learning from some of the people whom DAI has been able to help with your support. Several of these stories - full of tragedy, injustice, dignity and hope - are shared in a new, never-before-seen film that will be ready in time for screenings around the country this Spring as part of DAI's campaign called Remember Iraq.
      Watch your email in the coming days for more news about Remember Iraq and how you can get involved, or email us at remember@...

      Action Alert
      Ruqayya and Her Family are Coming to the United States - Please Help Us Help Them
      Ruqayya, a married mother of three from Kerbala, Iraq who suffers from Hodgkins lymphoma, is seeking to be resettled in the United States with her family after being forced to flee to Amman, Jordan and then Ankara, Turkey from their home in Iraq. In collaboration with other organizations, DAI is helping to organize a network of support for Ruqayya and her family. 
      While she and her children have received initial approval, there are several obstacles to overcome before her arrival here becomes a reality. The resettlement agencies are requiring that there be a $10,000 fund for Ruqayya set up before she is allowed to come to Chicago, where a community has formed to support her. DAI has agreed to accept tax-deductible donations specifically for Ruqayya's resettlement so that she and her children can begin to rebuild their lives and seek the treatment she needs for her lymphoma while they wait for their husband and father to be able to join them. We are particularly asking those of you in the Chicago area to offer what time and help you can to make this resettlement happen. You can read more about Ruqqaya's case here.
      Please contact DAI at info@... for more information on how you can help. If you would like to donate to Ruqayya's fund now, please click here and be sure to note that your donation is intended for Ruqayya.

      Murtadha and Mahdi

      After each of these teenage boys lost an eye to a car bomb explosion, DAI was able to arrange for Murtadha and Madi to have surgery in Suleymaniyeh, Iraq to receive prosthetic eyes, thanks to the support of a group of parents and children called "Project Farasha" - farasha means "butterfly" in Arabic - in California. In addition to being an example of how building relationships can offer help and support and change the lives of war victims, these boys' cases illustrate ways DAI is strengthening our ability to support further crucial medical care inside Iraq.

      Abu Abbas
      by Najlaa Al-Nashi 
      Abu Abbas, which means "Abbas' father" in Arabic, is an Iraqi Shiite Muslim whose wife is Sunni Muslim. Together with their five children, they live in Amman, Jordan where they fled after Abu Abbas was threatened by a Shiite militia. I want to tell you some of their story to illustrate not only the resilience and courage of Iraqis in the face of degrading violence, but also the importance of cooperation among the NGOs who assist them.

      Upcoming Events

      DAI Project Director Noah Baker Merrill will be speaking in Chicago, IL, March 11-13 and in Bloomington, IN on March 25. Those of you in the area are encouraged to attend his informative presentation and learn about ways you can share DAI's work with others through your local organizing and education efforts.

      See the events calendar at www.directaidiraq.org for details, or email events@...

      Thanks to all of you for your care and support, from everyone at Direct Aid Iraq.

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