Saturday, December 08, 2007

Waging Peace -- Taking Responsibility

We talk a good deal about the horrors of war. As progressives, we have taken to the streets, written letters to representatives and letters to the editors, staged die-ins, created documentaries and poetry, and many other things to try to bring an end to the war and occupation of Iraq. The body counts are tremendous with nearly 4,000 officially acknowledged US dead, and over 1 million Iraqis dead (which is a number 3 times greater than the number reported in most U$ media).

As American's we have a responsibility in this madness being perpetrated by "our" government, in our name, with our money. It is our moral imperative to do what we can to stop this terror, and also to mitigate the suffering that has been done in our name, for the benefits of the ruling elite.

Last Friday, I interviewed Maxine Fookson, a Portland pediatric nurse practitioner who started a local chapter of No More Victims. She got the idea when she was listening to Democracy Now! on KBOO, and heard a man named Cole Miller talk about his work with national group.

No More Victims (
) is an organization that works to alleviate the suffering of Iraqis, especially children, by providing essential medical supplies and services. Remember that this war for "liberation" has demolished most of Iraq's infrastructure, and the situation is hellish. Even without the incredibly vicious war, the situation is dire: according to an OXFAM study, 90% of medical facilities lack the necessary supplies to give adequate care. A UNICEF report states that Iraq's water and sanitation systems are so heavily damaged that 70% of people do not have access to safe water. The World Health Organization reports that diarrhea and acute respiratory infections account for about two thirds of deaths among children under five. 21% of Iraqi children are chronically malnourished.

This is where No More Victims comes in. Through organizing in local chapters across the country, they are fundraising to send much needed medical supplies to Iraq. In doing so, they educate the wider community in the US about the daily misery of Iraq.

They also arrange to bring kids that has been seriously injured in this hideous war to the states for medical care that they couldn't get in Iraq. The local chapters work to find medical professionals and facilities to donate their services, and families to host the child and parent through their medical treatment. The child and parent then go home to Iraq, knowing that some people in the US want to bring healing to our worlds. A bridge of compassion is built, peace is taken out of theory and put into action.

The Portland chapter is called the Iraqi Child Project, and it is very new. Maxine says that they need people to get involved, and they need money. They want to raise enough funds to bring a child to Portland for treatment. That's going to take a whole lot of work, but what is peace worth?

You can get more information about the Iraqi Child at 503-234-3501 or emailing

I believe that making these human connections is one of the most effective ways to wage peace. The corporate owned press sanitizes this war into a video game with no consequences. The words "collateral damage" are obscene. We must speak the truth about war, and take the steps that we can take to end this madness, and bring healing.

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