Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Half of the population of Iraq is under 18

When I was doing a bit of research, trying to make sense of the Iraqi vote numbers that the main stream media were showing, but that weren't adding up, numerically, I found the above stat. It is startling, especially in light of the fact that the US and Coalition military have stated that they have targeted mainly adult male insurgents. Whether the body count of dead Iraqis is 100,000, or 50,000, or 10,000, I think that what the alternative media has been reporting is true.
What the IVAW presenters have said is true. What CODEPINK has said is true. That the US has killed, through bombings and other means, mostly children and women. Half of the population is under the age of 18. I can do further research and see what the population mix was for Fallujah, a city the size of Miami, before it was bombed, but, I doubt if it was mainly populated by adult male insurgents.

And the killing hasn't stopped--according to Daily War News, there was a body count of 19 today. And January was a deadly month for US soldiers--between100-102 died this past month. I don't have a count for the wounded, yet.

---I was in Morocco for nine days last spring. I met some very lovely people. The landscape looks hauntingly similar to Iraq's. The manner of dress is similar. The children look similar to the pictures coming out of Iraq, of the Iraqi children, as they run from bombs and play in the ruble of their homes. On one of those nine days, I was hiking down a tiny mountain path in the High Atlas mountains, trying to find the next, hopefully larger town, when a young lady dressed in traditional garb, and head scarf, stopped me. Through hand gestures she wanted to know if I had medicine for a tooth ache. She was incredibly beautiful, and in pain. She showed me her tooth. It looked badly abscessed. I was told later that the nearest "dentist" was at the bottom of that mountain, in the main square, in Marrakesch. I hope that he wasn't the same dentist that I saw there a few days later, dirty, sweating, sitting in the hot sun, in front of a table with plyers and numerous sizes of dentures. I kid you not.
The living standards are not the same as America's. In the gite that I stayed in, heat did not exist. The electricity to heat the hot water tank was so expensive that it was on for only a short time, once every evening. Cold showers, in cold weather, were the norm. For the tourists. The residents of that area could not shower. They washed up instead. Every little local "store" I went into had laughing cow cheese packs, chips, candy and assorted cheap, cheap, junk food. At the airport, crowds of youths hovered around, "madame, please. dollar?"
I was so afraid to sleep on the bedding that covered the bed in the "nice" hotel in Marrakesch, that I put my sleeping bag and hard camping liner on top of it, and slept on that. Marrakesch is one of Morocco's larger cities.

The last day of the trip, we went to the huge square full of souks. The souks, Moroccan stores, are vibrant, busy, colorful, noisy, and sell nearly everything. While walking into the souk area where I was told I could find coffee, I saw huge glass bowls, the size of punch bowls, filled with various kinds of colorful olives, beans and vegetables. I was going to pick up some of the glistening olives when one of the bowls tipped, and spilled it's olives all over the grimy asphalt floor. The clerk grabbed the bowl, and scooped the mass of olives up. They were, of course, covered in dirt, sand, and ugh. The solution? The clerk "washed " them in the sewer water that bubbled up all nice and pale brown from the metal grate in front of my feet.
And placed them back on the counter, glistening anew.

I can't imagine how the lively children in mismatched clothes, smiles ready and glowing despite the caked dirt on their cold tiny faces, would ever recover if their one room adobe homes melded to the High Atlas mountains, were bombed into nothing ness. They had so little, materially at least, to begin with. Young girls and old women scoured the scree strewn mountain paths daily for bits of kindling for their fires. They washed their clothes in the stream right outside the gite, in the freezing cold weather. The mountain guide advised that we give, in addition to money as a tip, clothes. Clothes were difficult to come by in the mountains of Morocco. I'm sure that there are monied sections of Morocco, I didn't see them, though. I saw poverty. The young son of the owner of the gite had graduated high school--his father was a well respected business man in that area--he said that it was useless to attend a university. That school did not guarantee a job, in Morocco. "Maroc is not like America," Mohammed explained.

After viewing the "Children of Iraq" pics, I remembered something else the IVAW presenter, NG medic, Pat Resta, said last Friday. That they were told by their commanders that they could not treat an Iraqi unless the person was in danger of losing their life. The rationale given was a lack of money, and that the Iraqi people had to get used to using their own hospitals.

What hospitals? And how far down a dusty, rubble strewn path did they have to carry their wounded children, for care? What cold mattress without bedding did they lay their child on?

He wants 80 billion more for his war against Iraq. Building has begun in Iraq on one of the largest US embassy's ever. Let's deprive him of something for once. Help the Human Rights First Group and CODEPINK to indict him. Tell your legislators and papers that you want an explanation for the pre-emptive war. That you want an accounting of the destruction of this land populated by children.



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