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Iraq: Palestinian Students Freed

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  • ummyakoub
    Voices in the Wilderness Report Amidst the ongoing violence and deprivation of the US occupation of Iraq, we are able to report two positive events:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2004
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      Voices in the Wilderness Report

      Amidst the ongoing violence and deprivation of the US occupation of
      Iraq, we are able to report two positive events: homecomings, of
      sorts.

      First, we have learned that two of the Palestinian students
      imprisoned in Umm Qasr, Iraq (mentioned in our email action alert of
      January 15th) have been released from prison! Although we don't yet
      know of the reason for their release, we are glad that Mohammed Al-
      Katib Yousf Kamel and Basel Ali have been set free from their unjust
      imprisonment. Thank you to everyone who wrote letters or emails and
      made phone calls to members of Congress on behalf of these students!
      Read Kathy Kelly's article about these students for more information:
      http://vitw.us/archives/000491.html.

      Secondly, our friends Umm Haider and Mostafa have arrived home to
      Basra, Iraq. Chris Doucot, a previous VitW delegate and friend of Umm
      Haider and Mostafa, traveled with them to Basra. Chris says that our
      Iraqi friends were happy to be with their family, but in his writing
      to us (posted on www.vitw.org) he paints a desperate picture of the
      Occupied Basra to which they have returned:

      "The culture shock of traveling from the safety and abundance of the
      United States to the utter destitution of Basra is immense. Nobody
      goes out after dark in Basra beyond the small-lighted area down town.
      People are being kidnapped off the street and ransomed for as little
      as $2000. $2000 for a human life! . . . Children as young as three
      and four can be found begging on the streets; on the sidewalks are
      the prostrate bodies of other children "liberating" themselves from
      the liberation by pickling their brains sniffing glue. Mounds of
      garbage left uncollected for months extend for blocks. The scent of
      festering rot hangs in the air. It will be a long time before freedom
      is something more than an abstract idea for the people of Basra;
      especially if the languid pace of reconstruction is not accelerated."

      Continue reading Chris Doucot's article, "A Hajj not to Mecca but to
      Home" at: http://vitw.us/weblog/archives/000496.html

      Unfortunately, we realize that a homecoming to Palestine or Iraq
      right now means coming home to a country under war and occupation.
      We must continue to dedicate ourselves to the transformation of the
      world towards social justice and nonviolence. Military occupation is
      nothing that anyone should ever have to call 'home'. Instead, it can
      only be called "war" as Iraqi seventeen year-old Raghad Toma
      describes in her poem, titled simply, "War."

      "Being in war cost me everything, house, money, cousins, but nothing
      was compared with the later effects of US bombing of Iraq.

      It cost me something that comes naturally and free to all people. It
      cost me my happiness and the feeling of being safe.

      Thanks to the ones who believe in war, and to the presidents that
      caused it. And think that it is the answer to their problems"

      You can read the rest of Raghad's poem at:
      http://vitw.us/weblog/archives/000510.html

      On our newly updated website (www.vitw.org) you can also find:

      1. Reflections written by Angela Garcia and John Farrell of VitW,
      about their time with Umm Haider and Mostafa in Chicago.

      2. New letters from Iraq, including a piece by Iraqi Ahmed Kharrufa,
      called "Life in Baghdad": http://vitw.us/weblog/archives/000508.html

      3. An interview by Occupation Watch's Ewa Jasiewicz with Iraqi
      doctor, Jawad Al Ali, about the deadly effects of 'depleted' uranium:
      http://vitw.us/mic/archives/000500.html 4. A big thank you to those
      of you in our network who helped our friends, Umm Haider and Mostafa,
      by contributing to our 'Bowling for Basra' fundraiser. There is
      another Bowling for Basra coming soon! What in the world is 'Bowling
      for Basra'? Visit the Voices website for more details, at
      http://vitw.us/archives/000511.html.

      *********************************************************************

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