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Sun, Dec. 26th, 2004, 01:37 am

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Sun, Dec. 26th, 2004, 01:31 am

The Baghdad sunset and goodbye E-mail this
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Donna Mulhearn, Electronic Iraq, 25 December 2004


Tomorrow morning I will drive along the treacherous highway of death to the heavily fortified Baghdad airport and then fly to Jordan. I leave with a heavy heart. As the west shops for Christmas bargains, Iraq still struggles to survive the chaos and violence of occupation.

My month in Baghdad gave me joy and sadness, hope and despair, moments of light and times of darkness. Feeling overwhelmed by the human catastrophe around me, I have to remind myself that we can only do what we can do. But do this we must – whatever it is!

I have many more stories to tell you which I will send out in coming weeks. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers this past month; please continue them for the Iraqi people.

There was a beautiful sunset over Baghdad this evening. As I sat on the roof of my hotel I watched the large, deep orange ball falling gently into the palm trees. Church spires and minarets were silhouetted against the colourful backdrop - as well as two large, black army choppers! But they did not deter the sun on its way down to meet the living city, bustling with human beings, just like you.

The sun sets softly over Baghdad too.

Your pilgrim
Donna

PS: The British and US embassies no longer permit their staff to drive along the airport road because is it so dangerous. There is at least one car bomb a day. I will be on the road from about 7.30am-9am which is 3.30pm-5pm Australian time. Please concentrate your prayers and energy during this time for safe passage. Thank you.
PPS: I'm heading over to the Holy land where I'll have a short break before joining a team of international observers who will monitor the situation for the Palestinian Presidential election. Now that's another story!
PPPS: Thanks for being part of the journey this past month. I appreciate your support and prayers.
PPPPS: "We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Mother Teresa.

Tue, Dec. 21st, 2004, 02:06 pm

"Tents to be erected in Parliament Square to demand justice for Fallujah refugees E-mail this
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Press Release, Voices in the Wilderness UK, 21 December 2004

Parliament Square - 7pm, Wednesday 22 December — 7am, Thursday 23 December

Peace activists will erect tents and stage a night-long protest in Parliament Square on Wednesday to demand justice for the more than 200,000 refugees who fled the November US assault on Fallujah, many of whom are currently struggling to find food, shelter and medical provision in near-freezing temperatures. The campers will display a banner reading 'Justice for Fallujah's refugees', as well as placards demanding housing for the refugees and protesting US war crimes in the city. In Iraq 'tent cities [of refugees] have sprung up at the Baghdad International Fair, Baghdad University and other sites' and one recent media report depicted a family of nine - including three disabled children - living in a 10ft x 10ft canvas tent with a kerosene heater as their only source of warmth [1].

'US commanders and Iraqi leaders have declared their intention to make Fallujah a "model city" meaning that, if and when they do return, Fallujah's refugees will face an Orwellian existence. The first of Fallujah's refugees are scheduled to return to the city on Thursday [2]. When they do they will 'have their fingerprints taken, along with DNA samples and retina scans [and] be issued with badges [which] it will be an offence not to wear … at all times' [3]. The US has also been floating the idea of compelling all males in Fallujah to join "work battalions" to clear rubble in the devastated city.

Wednesday's protest is backed by the former UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator for Iraq, Denis Halliday, who resigned his post in 1998 to protest against the suffering inflicted on ordinary Iraqis by economic sanctions, and by Milan Rai, bestselling author of the book War Plan Iraq. Both will be available for media interviews all day Wednesday as well as Thursday morning.

A spokesperson for the campers said: "As Tony Blair tucks into his Christmas dinner this year, tens of thousands of Iraqis - refugees from a brutal military assault that took place with the assistance of UK forces - will be huddling in tents in freezing temperatures, not knowing whether their homes have been destroyed or their friends and neighbours killed. We are here today to protest US plans to turn what's left of Fallujah into a police state and to demand instead housing and compensation for the city's homeless and bereaved and war crimes prosecutions for those responsible for their plight: Mr Bush and Mr Blair."


For more information or to arrange an interview with either Denis Halliday or Milan Rai contact 0845 458 2564 or 07952 354 722. [A] Voices in the Wilderness UK has been campaigning on Iraq for the last six years. For more info. see www.voicesuk.org."