An Iraqi family in a barren picture of life in Iraq.

(This painting is similar to Pablo Picasso’s Blue Family.  It is a somber picture done in faded colors almost as if life is being drawn from the two figures and the children at their feet. 
There is no evidence of life from the trees, as if they too are in the death mode.)

A mother weeps for her sick or dying child.

(War is violent – again dark colors of greenish blacks in the foreground and greens and yellows on a very ill child.  A distraught mother is unable to get help for her child who is a victim of war.  It is a very sad scene.)

The pictures presented here were photogaphed from a larger display of childrens' art in Basra, Iraq in September, 1998.

Comments in parentheses provided by Sr. Patrice Steffes, C.H.M., who teaches art to children at Holy Trinity Catholic Mission School in Davenport, IA.

courtesy Chuck Quilty, Voices in the Wilderness, 
October 1998

The U.S. and Britain have simply announced, very clearly and loudly, that they are…  intent on destroying totally the fabric of international  law, a fabric that has been built up laboriously over many years. They have announced that they will do as they please and will use violence as they please, independently of what anyone else thinks. 

            Even the timing of the bombing was chosen so as to make this position very evident. The bombing began at exactly 5 p.m. EST in the U.S., just as the Security Council was opening an emergency session to deal with the emerging crisis in Iraq. The U.S. chose that moment to launch a war crime - an aggressive illegal act of force - against Iraq 
without even notifying the Council. That was surely intended and understood to be a message of contempt for the Security Council. It is in fact another underscoring of the lesson of the Gulf war, which was explained very clearly by George Bush when missiles were falling on Baghdad. At that time, he announced his famous New World Order in four simple words -  "What we say, goes." And if you don't like it, get out of the way. 

            The more ominous aspect of this situation is that it proceeds - in the U.S.completely and in Britain to a large extent - not only without any criticism but without public awareness about it. I have yet to find a single word in the      mainstream media or in other discussion in educated sectors suggesting that it might be a good idea for the U.S. to 
observe the principles of international domestic law. If this question is ever raised, and that happens only at the margins, it is dismissed as a technicality. It may be a technicality for a criminal state but for others it is not a technicality, any more than a law against homicide is a technicality. 

  – Noam Chomsky, in a recent interview with India's National 
Magazine, THE HINDU, Jan 2 – 15 1999

Jan 27, 1999

Since the bombing of Iraq which the U.S. initiated Dec 16 – 19 of 1998, there have been over a dozen incidents where we have bombed their facilities – including all of the last 4 days. Yesterday the U.S. announced that Clinton has approved ‘expanded rules of engagement’ – a polite term to mean the U.S. can now bomb anywhere they like in Iraq, whenever they like.

The U.S.’ continued bombing of Iraq compounds the crime of starving their people to death – a campaign the U.S. has waged against the people of Iraq for 8 years now.  UNICEF studies show that 5,000 Iraqi children are dying every month, as a result of the sanctions.  As many as a million Iraqis have already died.  The sanctions are the opposite of ‘smart bombs’ – they target the children, the elderly, and the sick.

Under the Geneva conventions of international law, which were drafted to prevent crimes like Nazi’s Germany committed, ‘starvation is an illegal means of waging war.’

The former UN coordinator for humanitarian aid in Iraq, Dennis Halliday, recently quit the UN in protest over the suffering due to the sanctions.  He said, “We are in the process of destroying an entire society.  It is illegal and immoral.”

Back Again from Iraq:
reflection on Matthew 25

I was hungry
and expecting my third child. The birth was much more painful since there was no anesthetic. But the deeper pain came after Majid's birth. I was too anemic to nurse him. Although I closed his eyes after three months of struggle, the question in those big and wonderful eyes is still with me.

I was thirsty
    and the doctor asked my mother if I drank polluted water. I was ashamed that I disobeyed her, but I was so thirsty. Now she sits by my bed in Qaddisiya Hospital. I know her heart is broken, but I was so thirsty. I'm still so thirsty, and there's still no way of cleaning our water.

I have become a stranger
    to those who in Cambridge Medical College once applauded my medical future. They have returned to their countries and moved on in their specialties. I returned to Iraq-to a practice more primitive than my classmates could imagine. I have become a stranger to advances in medical practice. I have set my jaw as I move backward. I was in prison
    -the whole of Iraq has become a prison. No one feels it more than her flyers, grounded nearly eight years ago. People speak of no-fly zones in the north and in the south. But it's all non-fly. Our tourist industry is dead. Aviators like me junk one taxi to save another. Or we just walk the streets and feel the bars around us and above us. And you are criminal if you come to visit us.

I was naked
    stripped psychologically, stripped intellectually. The chodor can cover me in Baghdad's streets, but where is the material of knowledge I once fashioned with skill?
Where is the fabric of hope required by our artists? Where is the cloth of evolving images needed by our poets? We are stripped and I, a writer, feel weirdly naked.

I was sick
    of it all. And I called out to you: End the sanctions! For God's sake, for our sake, end the sanctions. But now, in the light of final judgment, I call out
            For your sake, end the sanctions!

                      -  Sister Eileen Storey
                        Pentecost, 1998