excerpted from SpinTech Magazine, Oct 12 1999:
|OUR WAR AGAINST IRAQ IS ALMOST 9 YEARS OLD.
Time to stop the slaughter.
The Arab Holocaust
by Raed Battah
…The "Arab Holocaust." To call it that is risky, I know - after all, the Jews lost 6,000,000 before they earned exclusive rights to that term. But now we have a fresh humanitarian catastrophe. Yet, …some people still find opportunities to justify sanctions.
Should've, could've, would've, is how some people usually begin, most often referring to what Iraqi President Saddam Hussein should have, could have, or would have done. This process of thinking leaves these people in worse shape than if they knew absolutely nothing at all about the situation, because it allows their inhumanity to go unchecked.
[Besides the sanctions] I will briefly highlight some of the other nightmares that are a result of our 'liberation' of Kuwait. A key element in the liberation was our extensive use of toxic depleted uranium (DU) munitions.
These penetrating projectiles were quite a party for the soldiers in the battle ridden Iraqi desert. Our troops were never told of the potentially hazardous side effects of DU exposure. Nearly 300 tons of this earth-old, radioactive chemical were sprayed all over southern Iraq.
Each DU-tipped round (about 18 inches long and 10 pounds) would create such heat upon impact that the uranium coating would transform into an aerosol mist. This mist contains radioactive particles that emit alpha rays. Iraqi Under-Secretary Minister of Health Dr. Showqi Marcos told our delegation,"Alpha rays radiate over time and cause mitosis of the cells. This mitosis leads to cancer."
One of the side effects of DU exposure is the high instances of congenital birth defects among Gulf War Veterans, both Iraqi and Coalition. These defects include babies born with no heads, no genitals, no faces, limbs grown together, webbed feet, and stunted limbs. At the Basra Children's Maternity Hospital, Dr. Jinan Galeb Hassan showed me and other Voices delegates album after album of horrifying deformities. One child was equated to a conglomeration of tumors.
Should I stop there or tell you that a combination of drought, a high water table, and dilapidated water and sewage facilities, plus the refusal of vitally needed medicines and medical equipment by the Sanctions Committee, and the outright abandonment of the international scientific community, has snowballed into an almost irreversible health catastrophe? Oh God, I'm dying inside with these people!
My family in Iraq is dying! Uncle Jagoob, Uncle Elias, Aunt Hecina, Aunt Khemi, Cousin Behegia; they are all dead. I couldn't save them. And the rest of Iraq can't be far behind with living conditions as toxic as they are today.
The Arab Holocaust: 2 million are dead. We cannot prevent it because it has already happened. All we can hope to do is stop it in the future to save our souls.
Raed Battah is a student at Eastern Kentucky University.