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That’s not a chip on my shoulder. That’s your foot on my neck.  – Malcolm X

"We must never, ever give up. We must be brave. We must be courageous." John Lewis, activist, congressman. 1940-2020 

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama

"Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public."  Professor Cornel West.

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat."  Audre Lorde

"The serious function of racism is distraction". 1995, Toni Morrison; Portland lecture, Playing in The Dark

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.” Nora Ephron

"Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another." author Toni Morrison (1931- 2019)

“If I tell the story, I control the version. Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me”; Nora Ephron, author/comedian

"Make your story count". Michelle Obama

"Social pain is understood through the lens of racial animus". Researcher/author Sean McElwee writing in Salon, 2016

"We are citizens, not subjects. We have the right to criticize government without fear."  Chelsea Manning; activist/whisleblower

“My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I’m going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you, And no fascist minded people, like you, will drive me from it. Is that clear?” Paul Robeson; activist/singer

“We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent”. from civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?” Frederick Douglass, WHAT TO THE SLAVE IS 4TH JULY? 07.05.1852 (full text in blog)

Senator Elizabeth Warren "We're a country that is built on our differences; that is our strength, not our weakness"

"We are more alike than we are different" ~ Maya Angelou

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singe

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain

 

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

 

 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:

 

"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

Longstanding war diseases--recylced by media

2010-03-13

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

There is little good news from Iraq. Especially so for anyone who has observed and recorded the decay of the nation’s civil society for 20 years.

This week, an enthusiastic and appropriately disturbed BBC reporter visiting Fallujah, Iraq told us about the alarming increase in abnormal births recorded among its people, at least those who remain after the American assault there in 2004. News?

In my 1996 research into deteriorating conditions across Iraq, (later published in my widely circulated essay “Gravesites”) I reported that both Iraqi farmers’ and doctors’ noted rising numbers of birth abnormalities and miscarriages. They assumed toxic pollution of various kinds resulting from the 1991 war and the sanctions were causal factors. Not surprisingly. Since the 1991 attacks used depleted uranium and since normally clean water, air and fields were polluted by numerous sanctions related breakdowns.

By that time, Iraqi health authorities had begun assembling data of these health conditions and diseases. They were comparing records of birth abnormalities and other new diseases from all parts of the country, and likely links to the 1991 bombardments and the sanctions.

Significantly, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US forces, it seems that those records were “lost”. Selected Iraqi ministries, were destroyed along with these documents. Little could be done for the victims. But the record of the diseases and related factors could have been useful. The record was expunged.

With the result that this recent BBC report suggests that today’s health crisis is new. As if Iraqis’ war experience were new. Of course, the ‘new’ findings call for research studies, according to a western medical researcher interviewed in the report. He calls for yet another study to determine the causes of these ‘disturbing’ abnormalities.

What’s new? The media tag today is Fallujah, a name that resonates with the world public. They may recall Fallujah was the site of a major US assault –Operation Vigilant Resolve—in 2004. Perhaps a center of ‘Sunni resistance’?

The BBC report gives the clear impression that Iraq’s health difficulties began only recently. The earlier bombardments are no longer part of the war record, no longer evidence of a long history of suffering and US war crimes.

 

See : Inside Fallujah by Ahmed Mansour (2009) and Swimming Up the Tigris, Chapter 12, by BN Aziz (2007)

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