Monday, August 6, 2007

Follow-Up to Nesreen and Bruce's Visit to Writopia Lab

Hi all,

After hearing Nesreen (an Iraqi teacher/peace activist) speak to us about her recent, upsetting experiences in Baghdad, many of you have asked how you can help individual Iraqis or even help end the war. Bruce, Nesreen's NYC-based colleague (also a teacher/activist) just emailed me some suggestions. Thank you Bruce! I have pasted that list below.

Meanwhile some thoughts: My Iraqi penpal, a young doctor living in Baghdad, believes that "The US started this mess, so it should help get Iraq out of this mess." I asked if he has always felt that way; he said no. "Basically, people change their minds often on this issue here. But this is what I believe right now." Bruce, on the other hand, passionately believes that the U.S. should leave Iraq as soon as possible. And, naturally, many Iraqis agree with him.


So what is an aspiring activist to do? Different groups of researchers/activists offer various suggestions. You can begin by checking out the various resources that Bruce brings to our attention, and by doing some research on your own, says Bruce.

BRUCE'S TO-DO LIST

· Call your congress person 1-800-828-0498 (Call 1-888-VOTE-SMART to find out who your congress person is).

· Go to the United For Peace and Justice website (http://www.unitedforpeace.org/ ) and click on END THE WAR ON IRAQ in the left column. They have plenty of things for you to do.

· March in the next Bring The Troops Home Now event.

· Go to the American Friends Service Committee site (www.afsc.org/ ) and click on the Take Action button. There are a few ways you can help with both dollars and signatures. Subscribe to their newsletter and stay informed about what others are doing to help.

· Stay informed. Spend 10 minutes searching the internet for “help iraqis.” Use different words each time…”aid Iraqis”, “life in Baghdad today," etc...


· Read about the UN work in Iraq (and support them with dollars if you can).

· Volunteer with the UFPJ to work to get the troops home now.

· Contact Iraq Veterans Against the War and/or Military Families Speak Out and ask them if they need your help.

· Bring your friends and family to the Eyes Wide Open exhibit on Staten Island Tuesday Aug 6.

· Start a discussion group of your friends to try and figure out the best way for you and your friends to help the Iraqi people. There are actually millions of Iraqis in Jordan and Syria who have no homes, live in tents, and would welcome donations of food and clothing and money.

3 comments:

Andrea said...

I got a chance to see the Eyes Wide Open exhibit when it came to my campus. It was unbelievable in the worst way. It's hard to see, but really gives you a sense of the need for urgency - from all of us - in response to these wrong decisions.

Carol said...

My opinions changed like your penpal's, except in reverse. I was against the war before we invaded. (International news on the internet contradicted the US news to such an extent that I was unconvinced about 'weapons of mass destruction.') But after the US invaded anyway, I thought we owed it to Iraq to stay until stability was restored. I still feel we owe it to them, but I no longer believe we can accomplish it. The longer we stay, the worse things seem to become, and now I believe we should get out - not because it is right, and not because it will stop the violence. But perhaps it might lessen the violence. Our troops are generating a backlash of violence by people who hate the US presence in the country. If we can't undo what has already been done, at least we can stop from causing more damage by staying. In my opinion, (which is changeable) the best thing we can do now is to support humanitarian efforts for refugees, try to promote political solutions to the internal Iraqi disputes, and remove our inflammatory presence from the area.

Nico said...

Fantastic insight, Carol. I was so young when the war started, I barely knew what was going on. I can't help but feel that ever since, everyone has been feeding to me what my opinion should be. There's this nasty push-and-pull surrounding the conflict, especially since it became the butt of so many jokes and a mainstream target for criticism.