IRAQ: 'Why do you do this to us?'

Issue 

BY APRIL HURLEY

BAGHDAD, March 24 — At the al Kindi Hospital emergency department, Fatima Abdullah is screaming in outrage: "Why do you do this to us?". Her eight-year-old, Fatehah is dead, two other daughters are on stretchers, wounded by a missile that crushed her uncle's home where they were staying outside Baghdad, near the Diala Bridge. An extended farming family, they have suffered from sanctions and economic devastation, shrinking their stock of animals to one cow, a donkey and chickens; they are barely able to feed themselves.

Muhammed, the four-year-old crying in Fatima's arms, has cuts from shrapnel and debris criss-crossing the right side of his face and head; his eyelids swollen shut.

Nada Adnan, 13 years old and a student at a high school for girls, states: "I wish that God would take Bush. Why did he do this to us? To me?". She has an open gash on her right cranium with an underlying fracture and a large, deep shrapnel-gauged cut into her upper left thigh. There are no pain-killers and she cries out as aides press gauze into her leg wound. Nine-year-old Rana Adnan needs oxygen for a chest laceration and lung contusion. She has concussion, a head laceration and shrapnel in her left arm.

And then there is Nahla Harbi, who was a passenger driving away from Baghdad with her two-year-old in her arms, when a military school for boys was hit and the explosion rolled the car fracturing both of her legs. Her child sustained head injuries. Less than 100 metres from Alyermouk Hospital and a school, bombing crushed the foot of 28-year-old man who was walking outside his home.

The list keeps going. A 70-year-old man shopping for food for his family now has a compound fracture of his left upper arm, a chest wound through his lung requiring a chest tube. He has rage and opinions, just as the multitude of families do these past several days.

They know that US President George Bush's administration is interested in the control of oil and that Washington has no interest in democracy for these people. Why don't Americans know this? Why did they elect this man without human feelings, they ask.

It's not easy being an American in a Baghdad emergency room seeing victims and their families. I wish that Bush was here, to give answers to their outrage.

[April Hurley is a physician from Santa Rosa, California, living in Baghdad with Voices in the Wilderness' Iraq Peace Team, a group of international peaceworkers in Iraq. Visit <http:iraqpeaceteam.org>.]

From Green Left Weekly, April 9, 2003.
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