Friday, August 31, 2007

Iraqi Refugee Music

This music video is done to the song "Right Now!" The Youtube website says this: "Impact of War on Iraqis and the refugee explosion. What is America doing to help? Call your congressman and ask!"

I strongly recommend the same action.

I do have a history with this song, however. It was played, to different photos (very different photos) at the memorial service for a young man that I had been friends with. He was about 26 years old when he died, and he died in a whitewater kayaking accident. His friends put together the music and photos, and I understood it completely because I also used to do whitewater kayaking. Other people at the memorial service did not understand it at all. (And I had some trouble with the line 'turn this thing around' since death is not reversible.) What they saw was a young person who risked his life and lost it in the process. What I saw, and the others who were really into whitewater kayaking also saw, was someone who lived his life to the fullest and took serious risks to do that. And he lost, which we all knew could happen. It was not the first kayaking death that we were exposed to.

With whitewater kayaking, the river takes and holds your full attention. There is no time to think of extraneous things when you are in the middle of a class four or five rapid. (I never did class five stuff, just some class four.) The water absorbs you completely, and in those precious minutes you know you are fully and totally alive.

Scott Bristow was the young man who died back in 1998. That memorial service, and the other events around that sad time, really showed me the power of relationships on the internet. These relationships are as real as face-to-face relationships, and reach across time and distance. Never doubt that.

Maybe one day, instead of the internet changing our lives, we will use the internet to totally change our world. God bless to all the kayakers and the peacemakers. Here are some words to the song:

"Don’t want to wait until tomorrow – why put it off another day?

Turn this thing around – right now – until tomorrow – come on, it is everything.

Right Now – catch that magic moment and do it right here and now."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Major cholera outbreak

AT RISK: Iraqi children gather around a pool of water at a refugee camp in Najaf, the southern city where UNICEF has reported cholera cases among children younger than 12. HUSSEIN AL-MOUSAWI / EPA

In northern Iraq, there are nearly 4,000 people being treated for cholera, or at least, what they suspect is cholera. Eight people have died so far. There are a total of 82 confirmed cases so far. This is happening in Kurdistan, and at least for the province of Sulaimaniya, I do not think that we can pin this on the ongoing military occupation or prior bombing.

Here’s what a World Health Organization official had to say:

"A health catastrophe could emerge in Kurdistan if help is not urgently offered by other states and the World Health Organisation (WHO)," minister Zairyan Othman told Reuters. Othman said Kurdistan had declared a state of emergency to prevent the spread of the acute intestinal infection, which is caught through contaminated water or food.

There are two major outbreaks that they are covering – one in the province of Sulaimaniya and the other in Kirkuk. The hospital in the province of Sulaimaniya is reportedly well organized and well handled. It is being blamed on a contaminated well, which residents are forced to use because of a shortage of drinking water. In Kirkuk, the contamination is blamed on cracked water pipes. It is unclear if this is due to an aging water system or from bombings in the area, or maybe a combination of the two factors.

This is disrupting many aspects of life in those areas. Let’s hope it is under control soon.

More information on Iraq Today blog.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Comments on Woodward's book

Email from October 2006

A friend sent me an email praising Woodward’s latest book, and this is what I responded with:

Deb, just a little information on why I don't like Woodward and his book, from the anti-war blog website:

"The War Party did more to enlist journalists in the cause of invading
Iraq than deploying Judith Miller. Bob Woodward's new book, State of
Denial, reveals a top secret meeting chaired by Paul Wolfowitz, on
November 29, 2001, attended by thinktank wonks, government officials,
and two "journalists": Fareed Zakaria, editor of the international
edition of Newsweek and columnist for that magazine, and Robert D.
Kaplan, currently on the staff of The Atlantic Monthly. The purpose of
the group was to produce a paper dealing with the aftermath of the
invasion of Afghanistan and which countries to invade in the Middle
East. President Bush reportedly found the paper illuminated the
"malignancy" of all those damn Ay-rabs in the Middle East, especially
Iraq, who had yet to be "liberated."

Both Zakaria and Kaplan signed confidentiality agreements, and the
former, at least, appears to be living up to his as best he can: Zakaria
denies that he knew a document would come out of the meeting, although
Kaplan says most of the meeting was spent drafting the document. The New
York Times asked Senor Kaplan: "Could any of the participants have been
unaware there was a document in the making?" "No," averred Kaplan,
"that's not possible." Who's lying, here?

These guys are "journalists" in the same sense that the old staff of
Pravda, the mouthpiece of the Soviet Kremlin, are "journalists" - that
is, they aren't real journalists in any meaningful sense of the term.
They are propagandists, pure and simple: shills for the government. When
the State is pushing a course of action - an invasion, either of a
foreign country or the rights of its own citizens - these people respond
like Pavlovian parrots, rationalizing and "explaining" from their
perches in the "mainstream" media, outdoing one another in their
obeisance to Power, in the hope that they'll be invited to the next
secret meeting of shills and ass-kissers."

Woodward would have nothing in his book that I have not known for years now (I certainly knew those meetings were going on - yet he waits years to mention the fact), and further, Woodward is still (in a different way) shilling for the military-media-industrial complex. That "complex" is only turning against the Bush administration because they are becoming unpopular. But the media is still, underneath it all, still shilling for them.

We had Clinton on FAUX News last month bragging about how he could have bombed more and better, if only the right wing branch didn't tie his hands behind his back. What that means is he could have killed more innocent people (Clinton bombed A LOT during his presidency), since our intelligence agencies SUCK. (I'm sure you have noticed!). I am sick to death of all these people in power and in the media who think killing is okey-dokey as long as it is NON-Americans. When the political winds shift and the public turns against a war (which the American public is doing only because we are losing, not because it was immoral and illegal and a violation of our constitution), then the slimy "journalists" turn against it too - and the US public and the slimy politicians go their merry little way and forget about the death and suffering they have caused.

But you can count on the fact that we will pay a price one day.

9/11 happened for a reason.

As of recently, Bush has killed more Iraqis than Saddam has. In overall killing, Saddam is still ahead, because he killed a lot of Iranians too. But Bush is catching up quickly. It is all so disgusting, and people like Woodward and John Edwards have made a TON of money off of it, with no pangs of conscience to be found anywhere.

The corporate media of the USA is now going on and on and on about how Iran is developing nuclear weapons when in truth, there is NO evidence to support this claim. But they don't give a damn. They just go on shilling for our goverment of the corporations, for the corporations and by the corporations. Who cares about truth and useful information when you can help get a war on? God help us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

No head, only body parts

Yesterday, I went down to Clemson, South Carolina to pick up the “Iraqi Peace Flags” that the Unitarian Universalist church had made use of last April. The story of these flags, and how they were received, has been written on this blog last March and April. The women who had the idea of putting up the 1,600+ Iraqi Peace Flags came up to Asheville last April to pick them up. She was due to return them last May, but tragedy struck her life, and they have been in the trunk of her car ever since.

Her husband was killed by a speeding car. He was working for a local TV news station, and he was filming an jack-knifed semi, that has spilled a load on the local interstate. Two cars hit him – one was so damaged that he could not drive further. The other one left the scene and drove away. (If I hit someone with my car and hurt them or killed them, I likely would never be able to drive a car again. I might never be able to even leave my home again!) Needless to say, this lady has been overwhelmed with the death of her husband in such a violent and sudden manner. She showed me pictures of the funeral – her husband was also a fire-fighter, so fire companies came from all over, even from New York City. It was a very large funeral. She said she got her husband in a body bag, and that she could not even look at him. His body was destroyed. She also said that her husband was killed by violence. It is of a very different sort of violence than the violence of war, however.

I then went on to my second errand yesterday – to meet with Ann and discuss the Iraqi girl named Salee that is in Greenville for medical treatment. We decided that it would be a good idea to have Salee, her father, interpreter, and Cole Miller, the founder of No More Victims to come to Asheville on September 19th, to stand with the Peace Coalition during our vigil. This vigil is to mark four and a half years of US occupation of Iraq. We are also going to hold a pot-luck for Salee, and then a short program for her father to describe what happened to them and for Cole Miller to talk about No More Victims.

Salee was injured by a US bombing of her home in November 2006. She lost the lower part of her legs, her brother, her best friend in that bombing. She was rushed to Fallujah hospital, where she nearly died from losing blood. The Iraqis had to defy curfew (and risk getting shot by US troops) and get some people in there that had Salee’s blood type. Apparently in Iraq, everyone knows their blood type. Salee is in Greenville getting surgery and double prosthetics. Ann says she is very stoic, and does not talk about what happened that day of the bombing.

Her father has pictures, however. He has a picture of his dead son – no head, just body parts. No body bag for him, either. Just the naked reality of seeing your son in pieces in front of your eyes. And your daughter bleeding nearly to death. This father told No More Victims that he did not know that there were Americans who opposed this war. I am hoping that a large crowd on September 19 will show him that there are many in my town who opposed this war.

And what was Salee, her brother, and her friend doing when the US bomb dropped on them?

Playing hopscotch.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What we choose to ignore

A brief summary of presidential directives, executive orders, and congressionally approved bills that where signed into law over the last 40ish years. And no, this isn't a bunch of conspiracy nonsense. They are simply facts. (But they really would not put these directives to work, would they? That's like saying they would allow American babies to die of dehydration at a major American landmark in a major American city - oops! that's exactly what they did in New Orleans in 2005. - dancewater)

They likely are dimwits

A Canadian soldier in Afghanistan had this to say about anti-war protestors at home:

“They look at us like dimwits.”

Yes, those young men think they are there to bring freedom and democracy to the poor people of Afghanistan. Like one of the powerful elites in Canada just took it into their head to liberate the poor country of Afghanistan so that little girls can go to school. (Funny thing though, the elites are not sending them to countries that are at peace right now, but too poor to educate their children or even keep them from starving or dying from contaminated water. This promotion of "better living" is only for those countries they want to use weapons on.) Or maybe they think that they are somehow keeping Canadians safe from the people in Afghanistan - who just want the foreigners out of their country, just like they wanted the Russians out of their country. The fact is – those troops are there for someone, somewhere to make a big pile of money. The fact is – those Canadian soldiers will kill other people, some of them total innocents, and some of them will get killed in return. And none of it will provide stability for Afghanistan or safety for Canadians. And one day, that soldier may think back on what he thought before he went into Afghanistan. And he will likely see himself as someone who needed some real education, or in other words, a dimwit.

And today, we hear that the US forces in Afghanistan bombed three British soldiers and killed them. Now, I don't get too excited about "friendly fire" since it is an accident. And accidents happen in all human activities. I still drive most days, even though I know I could get killed by an accident. But, when you hear of an accident were combatants are killing their fellow combatants in an unlawful occupation of a foreign country, you just have to reflect on the utter waste of it all.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Evil From Over a Century Ago

"I went down on my knees and prayed to Almighty God for light and guidance ... and one night late it came to me this way. We could not leave (the Philippines) to themselves--they were unfit for self-government--and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's was. .. There was nothing left for us to do but take them all and educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianize them." - President William McKinley

And so it goes. Since time began, men have decided that “GOD” wants them to brutalize another people while lining their own pockets. I cannot imagine what kind of “GOD” they are thinking of when they claim this – I suspect it is all a pack of lies. Pure, unaltered lies.

And what is it like to bring such “light and guidance” to people of another land? Well, here’s a clue:

“Our men have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of 10 up.. Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to "make them talk," and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses." - Philadelphia Ledger newspaper in 1901, from its Manila [Philippines] correspondent during the US war with Spain for the control of the Philippines

Thanks to Information Clearing House for sending this information to my email box. The guy that runs that site does a wonderful job, and if you only read one website per day, I would recommend that site highly. He updates it daily.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dennis Kucinich speaks the truth

From the You tube site: 2008 Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich Urges Conversation about Impeachment. To learn more about Dennis go to

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Senator Burr on Iraq - pure idiocy and evil

From Senator Burr on Iraq:

I remain committed to bringing our troops home as soon as possible, but not if it means U.S. forces would be required to return to Iraq to end a humanitarian crisis or genocide. I do not support an artificial, arbitrary deadline for withdrawal of U.S. forces that does not take into account the potentially devastating consequences of a quick withdrawal or that ignores the current success of the campaign against al-Qaeda. Decisions about troop levels in Iraq should be made by the Commander-in-Chief and the generals in Iraq, not by politicians in Washington.

In September, the military will deliver a report to Congress detailing progress made in achieving our goals in Iraq. Preliminary reports indicate that the United States has been successful in fighting Al-Qaeda and insurgent groups working to destabilize the country. We owe it to our troops and to the Iraqis to allow the Baghdad security plan time to work.

ABOVE is from an email from Senator Burr.

He is apparently UNAWARE that Iraq is in a humanitarian crisis right now. One out of six Iraqi are displaced, half do not have water to drink and most have an hour or two of electricity per day. Unemployment is very very high, the security situation is so bad that children cannot go to school.


There is about a million Iraqis dead at this point, so we are well on our way to a full-blown genocide.


As to the claim that decisions should be made by the Commander-in-Chief – he is the murderous sociopath that got us into this mess. We cannot continue this course of ruining the country of Iraq and committing genocide against the people of that country. THEY DID NOTHING TO US. TO KILL THEM IS FLAT OUT MURDER.

Monday, August 20, 2007

This could be you!

Come to Asheville and get arrested! This young man looks like he is having fun.

More later...... hopefully

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Medical Care in Iraq

There was a 60 minutes program on Medical Care in Iraq on July 1, 2007. For US troops injured or sick in Iraq, they get “full-press court” from US medical services. They work HARD on getting the injured to medical care within minutes to treat them during the “golden hour” after the injury. One helicopter retrieved a US soldier and transported him to medical care in 17 minutes. Then, when they get to the US hospital, the staff bust their asses to save lives. It is all-out, no-stop, no step too large or small, medical care. If there are injured Iraqis around the US troops, they sometimes get assistance also – nearly half the patients in the hospital being filmed was Iraqis.

In this hospital, they can hold surgeries that go on for hours. The plane that takes US troops to Germany is a full scale ICU, capable of doing surgeries while in flight. The Iraqi patients are not eligible for transport to Germany; instead they are transferred to Iraqi hospitals. In the 60 minutes piece, there was a young Iraqi girl with shrapnel in her brain. The staff determined that they could not help her, so she died in the US military hospital. (I’m not sure the final outcome would have been any different for a US soldier, it’s just that they would have kept trying, I think. I do not have an opinion on whether this was the right thing to do or not.)

One million dollars is a conservative number on the cost of medical care for one injured soldier. As we know from the Walter Reed scandal, this administration does not care for the welfare of our troops, so I am under the impression that this money is spent to keep the death toll low, so support for the war will not decrease here in the USA. I think it is worth spending that money to save their lives, but I do think the oil companies should pick up the tab, not the US taxpayers.

We have the best survival rate from war injuries in the recorded history of the world from this particular war.

And, the facilities for treating US troops is expanding into permanent structures, per this report called Curtain Falls On Iraq’s M.A.S.H.”

The opening of that 107,000-square-foot hospital, in stages throughout July, not only brings a more standard, state-of-the-art facility to Iraq. It also announces that the U.S. military, after more than 3,500 dead and 25,000 wounded in four years of war, will be well prepared to deal with severe casualties for years more to come.

And, again, there are Iraqis being treated in this US run medical facility:

But Balad's casualties are not just American. Among the side-by-side tents that serve as hospital wards, the Iraqi patient population at times has rivaled the American. On one recent night, as the quiet was broken occasionally by moans, seven children lay in a 10-bed Iraqi ward, victims of explosions and other violence whose origins — crossfire, terrorism, U.S. airstrikes — usually remain murky to those who treat them.

Hey, if I worked there, I would want it to remain murky too. And I am glad they are treating some of the Iraqi people. But I am really here to talk about the usual medical care for the Iraqi people.

How bad are things in Iraq? How much violence is the average person exposed to, or subjected to? How much stress are they under? According to this article from last March, it’s pretty bad:

The personal toll is enormous. More than half of Iraqis, 53 percent, have a close friend or relative who's been hurt or killed in the current violence. One in six says someone in their own household has been harmed. Eighty-six percent worry about a loved one being hurt; two-thirds worry deeply. Huge numbers limit their daily activities to minimize risk. Seven in 10 report multiple signs of traumatic stress.

So, things are very, very bad. And the level of stress is only going to make people more susceptible to illnesses.

In a violent situation in Iraq, they may die because they don’t reach ANY medical facilities in time, or receive any on-site medical care, not even first aid. This is generally due to the fact that the violence is ongoing, and no one can get the injured person to a hospital, or get an ambulance to the injured person. There are no med-evac helicopters available for that “golden hour” for the vast majority of injured Iraqi people. Here is one story where it took two hours for this teenager to die from a bullet wound. He bled to death while everyone was waiting for the violence to calm down.

Close and deadly contact

On a sunny April afternoon, a bomb ripped a jagged hole in the road near Abu Mohammed's small grocery store. Gunfire crackled along the street as U.S. soldiers responded to the attack. Someone pounded frantically on the grocer's locked door, pleading for help. Mohammed recognized the frightened voice as that of a local teenager and let him inside. The 17-year-old had been struck by a bullet in the chaos that followed the explosion and was bleeding heavily. Within two hours, the boy was dead. Witnesses charge he was killed by U.S. troops firing randomly. U.S. military officials say troops are trained to avoid civilian casualties and do not fire wildly. Iraqis, however, say the shootings happen frequently and that even if troops are firing at suspected attackers, they often do so on city streets where bystanders are likely to be hit. Rarely is it possible to confirm such incidents. In this case, the boy was the son of a Los Angeles Times employee, which provided reporters knowledge of the incident in time to examine it. Witness and military accounts of the shooting offered a rare look into how such killings can occur.

Sometimes, they cannot reach medical care because of US policies. This is especially true in Curfew-Bound Fallujah. They have imposed a security crackdown there, and local aid organizations are not allowed access to the city. Medical services are often inaccessible because there is no way to get around, or security checkpoints slow down movement. There is no ambulance service or even cell phone service to call for help. The Iraqi Aid Association had this to say about medical conditions in Fallujah:

"We have supplies but it is impossible to reach the families. They are afraid to leave their homes to look for food, and children are getting sick with diarrhoea caused by the dirty water they are drinking," IAA spokesman Fatah Ahmed told reporters. "We have information that pregnant women are delivering their babies at home as the curfew is preventing them from reaching hospital."

And, in certain neighborhoods, ambulances are just not allowed to enter. So the Iraqi people are on their own to try and get the injured to the hospitals. There are multiple pictures on Yahoo News, too many for me to count, that show Iraqis loading the injured onto carts or into cars, in an attempt to get them medical care.

And then, when the Iraqis can get the injured person to a hospital, that often does not change the outcome either. In the story below, the first hospital said they could not treat the injury to the pregnant women or the unborn baby, so they sent them to another hospital. In the second hospital, they could not get blood fast enough – they did not have any on hand for the rare blood type. From the sounds of it, they were also unable to do a Caesarian section to save the baby, and unable to do any surgery on the pregnant women. She took twelve hours to die, after reaching not one, but two hospitals.

Iraqi woman mourns loss of sister, baby

At 10 a.m. an explosion outside the school shattered the classroom windows and sent a piece of shrapnel into her right thigh. Her blood spread like that of a slaughtered sheep across the classroom floor. The girls started crying and screaming in panic and others rushed upstairs, thinking at first that she had gone into labor after the shock of the explosion. When they saw the blood coming from her thigh, they improvised a stretcher from a blanket, carried her to a police car that was standing near by the school and drove through Baghdad's clogged traffic to nearby Al-Nu'maan hospital. The doctor said he did not have what he needed to stop the bleeding, so they took Luma to another hospital.

It was 12:15 p.m. when my brother-in-law called. By then, Luma had been bleeding for nearly two hours. He assured me that Luma would be fine, and there was no need to worry, but I could tell by the tone in his voice that the situation was serious. It took us — my older brother, his wife and me — more than an hour to reach the hospital. I ran inside, down halls with people whose voices I could not hear and a feeling of numbness all over. We found her in the X-ray room, covered in a blanket with her husband and two of her colleagues at her bedside. She was moaning quietly. I could only blow a kiss toward her pale yellow face and whisper under my breath: "Stay safe. I am waiting for you."

Later, a doctor appeared and asked us to provide her at least 10 units of A-negative blood, a rare type. They said they had none at the hospital. I remember shouting and crying and screaming in the hospital's passages, asking for the director-general's office, but he never appeared. Finally, we managed to locate two units of A-negative blood. I would have given Luma all of my blood, but our blood types didn't match. I began calling relatives and friends. One of my brothers donated two units, another relative two more. By the time a cousin arrived to donate two more units, the baby had already died. Another cousin arrived to donate two more units of blood, but by then it was over. Luma had passed on a few minutes earlier. She died at about 10:20 p.m., after struggling with pain for nearly 12 hours. I fell to the ground. Everything stopped inside me.

Of course, medical issues are not limited to the immediate aftereffects of the massive violence going on in that country. Cancer is a huge problem, particularly in the south, and this is likely an aftereffect of the bombing done by the US. This is what a cancer patient will have to deal with in the southern part of Iraq:

“Lack of treatment for cancer patients and outdated radiotherapy and chemotherapy techniques have led to lower survival rates of patients. The shortage of oncologists, who have fled to neighbouring countries, has worsened the situation,” said Hussein Abdel-Kareem, an oncologist and senior official in the Basra Health Secretariat. “Exposure to radiation from old cluster bombs, the high use of chemicals in agriculture as well as water contamination is having a serious impact on the health of local people, since these factors are important promoters of cancer related diseases. Many of the patients could have been treated but they died because of lack of facilities,” Abdel-Kareem added.

So, not only are they getting cancer from the bombs the US dropped (among other things, like a lack of clean drinking water), they are lacking adequate care. And, they are therefore dying from lack of care and lack of facilities - when they might otherwise live.

And this Daily Kos diary has a link to the video made by Greg Palast. He covers the sanctions and their impact on the health of Iraqis, particularly children.

So, what is the overall impact? This report says that Iraqi infant mortality has soared by 150%, which is the highest recorded increase in the world. This was reported by the organization Save The Children. The article goes on:

According to the report, in 2005, the last year for which reliable data is available, one in eight Iraqi children—122,000 in all—died before reaching their fifth birthday. More than half of these deaths were recorded among new-born infants, with pneumonia and diarrhea claiming the greatest toll among Iraqi babies.

So, that’s 122,000 dead in one year alone – and people questioned the Lancet report! And people tell me not to call it genocide! Why, that is exactly what it is!

This overall destruction of basic social infrastructure unleashed by the US invasion and occupation has been translated into a horrendous decline in child health. “Only 35 percent of Iraqi children are fully immunized, and more than one-fifth (21 percent) are severely or moderately stunted” as a result of malnutrition, the study found.

Infant mortality in Iraq in 2005 was 125 per 1,000 live births, which is on par with Uganda and Haiti. That’s 12% infant death rate. And it took a while for this situation to develop, since the war in 1990-1991 caused the bombing of much of the infrastructure like sanitation systems (and I imagine the bombing since 2003 just finished it off). Then there were the years of sanctions – which deprived Iraqi children of medical supplies and adequate nutrition.

Even chlorine, needed to purify water, was embargoed, depriving infants and small children of a clean water supply and condemning many to death.

And access to clean drinking water is still an overwhelming problem in the country, as I imagine it would be in my town if someone had bombed the city enough to destroy houses, the underground pipes for both water and sewage would be toast also. Not to mention the bombing of the water treatment plants and sewage treatment plants and the lack of treatment supplies available. Here’s what the Iraqi Health ministry had to say about the upcoming increase in waterborne diseases:

"Many cases of viral hepatitis, diarrhoea, typhoid and bacterial infections have been registered in Baghdad due to polluted drinking water," Ahmed Assad Naji of Baghdad's health directorate said. "Water is an enormous need, and people take it where they can get it, and they are getting it from places where it is not always clean. The deteriorated security situation has made it very hard to repair the country's sewage and water networks to work properly and that caused these waterborne diseases," Naji said.

….Naji said the most vulnerable persons for these diseases were children under five, women aged 19-45 and elderly people.

And, there is evidence that he is correct:

In late June, five cases of cholera were reported among children in the southern city of Najaf, about 200km south of Baghdad, said Nasser Mohammed Ali of the city’s health directorate. "All of the cases were among children under 12," Ali added.

As to nutritition, there is this report called Situation of Iraqi Children Much Worse:

"Children today are much worse off than they were a year ago, and they certainly are worse off than they were three years ago," said Dan Toole, director of emergency programs for the United Nations Children's Fund. He said Iraqis no longer have safe access to a government-funded food basket, established under Saddam Hussein to deal with international sanctions.

……"Nutritional indicators, health access indicators are all changing for the worse," Toole said. He said recently published data showing improvement referred to the situation a couple of years ago and is outdated.

God bless the children.

And God bless the children some more. “When I woke up, my legs were gone.” (Please note that in this link they never said who attacked the girl’s home. They do show that there was a gun battle at this home, but it is not mentioned who was fighting whom.) This link to a video was the only information that I had found on rehabilitation services for Iraqis who have lost a limb for quite a while; but The Observer wrote a more recent article about amputations bringing a serious health crisis to Iraq. They stated there was a request for 3,000 replacement limbs in one year in the city of Mosul alone. If that statistic were to hold across Iraq (and more than likely it does), that means there is a huge health care crisis in this area alone. This has been ignored by the rest of the world, and of course by the USA. They also point out that the number of amputations suffered by Iraqi civilians is not surprising in light of the number received by US troops.

No More Victims is bringing one of these children with double leg amputations to the USA for treatment.

And then there is the issue of mental health services, surely a dire need at this point, but a near total lack of such services exist today in Iraq. In this article, Traumatised Iraqi children suffer psychological damage, there is a hint of what is happening:

Last year the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a survey of 600 children aged 3-10 in Baghdad: 47 percent were found to have been exposed to a major traumatic event over the past two years. Of this group, 14 percent showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In a second study of 1,090 adolescents in the northern city of Mosul, 30 percent showed symptoms of the disorder. Many of the children Hamid treats have witnessed killings. They have anxiety problems and suffer from depression. Some have recurring nightmares and wet their beds. Others have problems learning at school.

And a hint of what services are available:

"Iraq's conflict is taking an immense and unnoticed psychological toll on children and youth that will have long-term consequences," said Bilal Youssif Hamid, a Baghdad-based child psychiatrist. "The lack of resources means the social impact will be very bad and the coming generations, especially this one, will be aggressive," Hamid added. According to UNICEF, half of Iraq's four million people who have fled their homes since 2003 are children. Many were killed inside their schools or playgrounds and gangs routinely kidnap children for ransom.

Of course, this lack of clean drinking water and lack of adequate nutrition and lack of rehabilitation services are impacting on adults in Iraq also. It is just that I happened to find reports on the children of Iraq. Maybe that’s because the children are the hardest hit of any single group in Iraq.

The number of Iraqi children who are born underweight or suffer from malnutrition has increased sharply since the US-led invasion, according to a report by Oxfam and a network of about 80 aid agencies. The report describes a nationwide catastrophe, with around 8 million Iraqis - almost a third of the population - in need of emergency aid. Many families have dropped out of the food rationing system because they have been displaced by fighting and sectarian conflict. Others suffer from the collapse in basic services caused by the exodus of doctors and hospital staff.

For these are all our children. We will all profit by, or pay for, Whatever they become.
—James Baldwin

Getting medical supplies is very difficult in Iraq, and while what I have seen of photos of Iraqi hospitals would indicate that the Kurdish areas are doing better, this plea went out recently: Kurdistan Government Appeals for Medical Supplies

Younis added that many of the region's 48 hospitals and 672 primary health care centres lack the basic medicines and medical supplies needed to treat wounds or provide basic care. "Our children suffer from one of the world's highest rates of heart disease and leukemia and we lack the facilities to treat them here in Kurdistan," he said.

But they are not the only ones making such a plea, Sadr City also makes a plea for medical equipment.

Doctors at Sadr City Hospital said they urgently needed medicines and emergency kits, as they believed the situation would worsen. “We cannot cope with the number of casualties. They should send us materials to fully equip our hospital before people start to die for lack of medicines. I know there weren’t many casualties but militants and locals are revolted by the recent actions by US troops and they might take revenge any time,” said Hassan Khalif, a physician at Sadr City Hospital. “We need needles, pain-killers, antiseptic and cotton. Also our X-ray machine is nearly broken and needs to be repaired urgently,” Khalif said.

From the many stories I have read and blogged on Iraq, and from the many photos that I have looked at and saved, I can say that the majority of hospitals in Iraq are filthy messes, and are lacking in gaze, bandages, sheets, and basic supplies. There is a video that shows someone working on a child with a chest wound, WITHOUT ANY SURGICAL GLOVES. I have worked in the American and Canadian healthcare system since 1983. I have never seen anything like that – not even once. Here is a picture of a doctor working on a burn patient without gloves. That is my own blog, you can find lots of pictures of Iraqi hospital scenes on that blog.

But lack of sanitation and basic equipment is only a part of their concerns. This is from a BBC article that is trying to track the violence in Iraq:

One of the hospitals covered by the survey provides some grim details about the death toll. Al-Yarmouk received 10 limbs with the rest of the bodies missing, 22 victims who had been beheaded, 45 people killed by one car bomb alone in the al-Baaya district and the bodies of 13 people who had been shot in the head.

And then there is the problem of violence directed towards the health care providers. There was on recent report on the doctors in Basra going on strike to demand protection. This happened in July 2007. They said that 12 doctors had been killed in Basra by gunmen since the US-led invasion, and dozens of others have fled the city. And, many medical employees have fled. From the same article cited:

According to figures from the Iraqi Health Ministry released earlier this year, 618 medical employees, including 132 doctors, as well as medics and other health care workers, have been killed nationwide since 2003. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of other medical personnel are believed to have fled to Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and neighbouring countries.

It is in the thousands, per other reports. And this article has more information on the abuse and terror visited on the hospitals and doctors of Iraq – only this time it is in
Diyala General Hospital in the provincial capital Baquba. They feel the majority of the problems stem from a lack of security. But that is not the only problem. They give some indication of where the problem of a lack of supplies comes from:

Complicating matters further has been corruption within Iraq's Ministry of Health in Baghdad. The ministry, which has been run by officials loyal to Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, has been accused of favouring Shia areas in Iraq. Baquba, a mixed area, has been considered a Sunni area by the ministry. Doctors at Diyala General Hospital told IPS they believe that the Heath Ministry has hindered the supply of medical equipment and supplies to their hospital for sectarian reasons.

And what is medical care like in the shantytowns for internally displaced persons that are springing up in Iraq? This report is from one such camp in Najaf province:

There were more than 2,000 people in what is a collection of tents, with 60 percent of them women and 30 percent children. They lacked proper water access and the heat makes potable water too hot and undrinkable. There was no medical care, and many of the children suffer from typhoid, diarrhea and skin rash. The people had to cope with snakes, scorpions and mosquitoes. They had no change of clothes, and there were no toilets.

And here is a plea from a UN refugee agency concerning Palestinian children living in a desperate situation inside Iraq:

"We currently have 12 cases in urgent need of medical evacuation, the youngest just 15 months old," he added. Last week a UNHCR team travelled to the isolated Al Waleed camp near the border with Syria and found that several young people among the 1,071 displaced Palestinians there were in serious need of specialized medical treatment. They included a youth with a hole in his heart, two children with Hodgkin's disease, one youth about to lose his leg because of a vascular disease and a young man with severe diabetes who is losing his sight. But Redmond said there were more cases in need of urgent attention. "We have also identified a two-year-old with cerebral palsy who has very low immunity, is in urgent need of physical therapy and has stopped eating. Another child, a 13-year-old girl suffering from a spinal injury, will be permanently paralyzed from the neck down unless she gets treatment soon," he said adding that the girl's mother died a few years ago, her father was murdered in January and her home was burned by militia.

And the lack of medical care in Iraq has extended into the countries where Iraqis have fled for their lives, per this report. It is not that there is no medical care available, it is just that they do not have the money to pay for it.

Audio: Iraqis in Jordan Dogged by Medical Costs

Violence in Iraq has brought the health care system there close to a collapse, according to aid agencies. Neighboring Jordan is one of the few places Iraqis can get advanced medical treatment. But the system there is expensive — and pay-as-you-go. In Amman, many Iraqi exiles say the Iraqi government could do much more to cover expenses. The Iraqi government has pledged $25 million to help support Iraqis forced to flee the country. But so far, that money has not been dispersed.

Here is a link to HOW YOU CAN HELP the Iraqi refugees.

And here is a link to the IRAQ WATER PROJECT, which is an effort by the Vets for Peace. They are trying to bring water sterilizer units to Iraqi hospitals, and prior to the war, they repaired several water treatment plants.

Here is a link to


"The truth must not only be the truth, it must be told."

This was also posted on Daily Kos on August 12, 2007 under the title "When I woke up, my legs were gone"

Friday, August 17, 2007

They are honking for impeachment in Kentucky!

I do my HONK TO IMPEACH on Mondays in Asheville and I get lots of honks. Also get bush salutes and one man yelled - go cheney yourself - well, that's not exactly what he said, but you get the idea. Our current leaders have set a heck of an example for us in every way imaginable.

Here's a video from Louisville in July 2007.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, News Corpse!

To celebrate this happy day
We wish you well in every way
Your bestest days are yet to be
They can’t be worse than the past three

A war is raging without end
Amidst a global warming trend
Millions don’t receive healthcare
But corporations get welfare

Our President lies to all of us
And ditches habeas corpus
Attorneys lose their jobs because
They won’t kiss up like Gonzo does

Pardons go to crony aides
Hope for equal justice fades
Secrecy is on the rise
We can’t believe our lying eyes

While politicians line the trough
To score a bag from Abramoff
They can’t be found to ease the pain
Of victims of a hurricane

Troops denied the things they need
Are then ignored at Walter Reed
And when they do come home they find
Their child has been left behind

The Scandal List goes on and on
And will until these fools are gone
What will it take for us to reach
The strength to try and to IMPEACH

And for these past three years of shame
The media’s as much to blame
That’s why I celebrate News Corpse
And do intend to stay the course

News Corpse had their third birthday last month, and I just liked this poem so much, I had to reprint it. I did not write the poem.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Bases Are Loaded

This is a video about the permanent bases being built in Iraq, along with the massive embassy. Now, it is totally illegal to build permanent bases, since a specific law was passed by the US Congress outlawing this in Iraq. But the Bush administration does not give a whit about following the laws laid out by our Congress, as clearly shown by all the 'signing statements' that have been issued. I recommend watching this video.

The Bases Are Loaded

Will the U.S. ever leave Iraq? Official policy promises an eventual departure, while warning of the dire consequences of a "premature" withdrawal. But while Washington equivocates, facts on the ground tell another story. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, and author Chalmers Johnson, are discovering that military bases in Iraq are being consolidated from over a hundred to a handful of "megabases" with lavish amenities. Much of what is taking place is obscured by denials and quibbles over the definition of "permanent." The Bases Are Loaded covers a wide range of topics. Gary Hart, James Goldsborough, Nadia Keilani, Raed Jarrar, Bruce Finley Kam Zarrabi and Mark Rudd all add their observations about the extent and purpose of the bases in Iraq. "What are the odds that a US military commander of one of these bases is going to say, "Well, OK Iraqis, looks like our job's done here. Here's the keys. Enjoy the movie theater. Have fun in the swimming pool. Enjoy your democracy. Take Care?" It's just not going to happen. That's my point. These are billion dollar bases. These are Mega Bases. They're permanent bases, and they are there absolutely to stay."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Activist weekend at Bele Chere (Asheville)

This was posted to Daily Kos at the end of July. I tried to record all the activist work that I did on this weekend that Asheville has Bele Chere.


The weekend started for me with the writing up a blog post on "A bit of fascism comes to Asheville?" which meant I did not have time to make up the "SIGN PETITION TO IMPEACH" sign. I also did a blog post on Iraq Today, to update that blog on what is going on inside Iraq. By 3 PM on Friday, I left to go to Bele Chere to work for the WNC Campaign to promote the Department of Peace. I worked there from 4 to 6 PM, and in the middle of that we had quite a rain storm. We handed out cards on the Department of Peace and we had members of the general public sign a letter to Representative Shuler, Senator Dole and Senator Burr. If they were from out of state, we had them sign blank forms where we will fill in the Representatives and Senators later.

After that, I hung out for a bit, listening to some music and eating some not-particularly-good festival food, then went home – to read and write on the inner tubes and to answer emails.

One email took a lot of time, just to figure out – some local activist copied something from a republican website in the eastern part of the state, and then sent it to activists in the western part of the state (where we are) and asked them to contact friends in the eastern part of the state to call their NC state senators to vote against a bill in the NC house or representatives. On top of that, I believe the bill was already defeated. Seriously. Some people just go nuts with their cutting and pasting, or something. I have had to drop off of listserves because of behavior like this. Another example from Friday evening: someone from the eastern part of the state cut and pasted an email calling for actions during the week of Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversaries to various listserves around the state – including one for western NC. Problem is, there ALREADY ARE events planned in Asheville. So, in order to keep people from getting confused , I had to do an email to that listserve. Some people are of the opinion that if they cut and paste everything they find to every listserve they can get their hands on, that will somehow improve things.


It will only keep people like me from getting some real work done.

On Saturday morning, I found out that I would need to do a blog post on Iraq Today, since the regular guy could not cover it. (And I still had not made my sign!) Also, it was raining again, and the precluded getting signatures on petitions anyway. I did the blog posts, did a silly blog post for Daily Kos and my own blog, and then made the sign (finally) saying SIGN PETITION TO IMPEACH. I had to make sure it was (mostly) waterproof. I headed back to the Department of Peace booth to work a couple of hours. They were getting plenty of signers for their letters and the folks working there said a Vietnam war veteran had stopped by earlier and had them all in tears with his stories.

One guy who stopped by while I was there said he was in Fallujah. He was a very young guy with a young wife and baby about a year old. He said repeatedly "being in Fallujah really opened my eyes about the US government" and he also said that there is no logical reason for the US military to be in Iraq, and the only explanation was that "somebody is making a pile of money off this". This was a local guy who grew up in the county, with no exposure to the rest of the world. This was a guy who believed what he was told by his government and schools and the military, until he spent some time in Fallujah. He said he is still in the Ready Reserve, but he was happy to sign for the Department of Peace and totally against this war and occupation of Iraq. I talked with his young wife briefly, and she said that Americans do not understand what he sacrificed and gave up, in order to stay in Iraq for a year. I agreed with her. I told her that he will be making sacrifices for this for the rest of his life. I gave this young veteran my card, and said if he contacts me I will put him in touch with Iraq Veterans Against the War. So far, he has not contacted me.

Then, I and some of my companions saw something very disturbing. Around 6 PM, there was a local nutcase yelling about Jesus. He was wearing sandwich billboards, and he does this every year. I can never figure out why these Jesus preachers feel they have to yell. Anyway, a group of young people gathered around him, and I heard rumors that same sex couples were kissing in front of him to get him worked up. (I would say there is a good chance those couples were hetros, too – some folks just want to stir things up.) They were also yelling back at him. There were about four cops watching this, when I saw one of the cops push a young lady to the ground HARD, and then yelled at her to get out of there and not come back. She got up and ran away. I went up to the Asheville Police Officer later and asked him why he pushed her down, and he lied to my face and said that she tripped. His name was Marpin. I hear that some other folks there (not the young lady pushed to the ground) are asking for remediation with this officer, since he treated them very rudely. He did not treat me rudely; he just lied to my face.

So, great, now we have the Asheville Police joining the Buncombe County deputies in acting like thugs. And then lying about it.

After my couple of hours at the Dept of Peace booth was done, I walked to my car, got the petition sign and the eight clipboards for petitions. Along the way, I changed from my Dept of Peace shirt to my IMPEACH BUSH & CHENEY shirt at WPVM. (They are a way cool radio station, and I recommend listening to them on the web.)

As I was walking back to Bele Chere, I had cars stopping in traffic, insisting on signing the petition. As I got to the festival, one women gave me an evil look and said "you’re wasting your time" – but I set my sign on a newspaper box, and gathered 132 signatures in less than 90 minutes. It was terrific. Since I was by myself and it started getting dark, I took my stuff and went to my car. When home, I did some more reading, writing, commenting on blogs on the inner tubes. And I separated out the petitions and put them in a file, and got the clipboards ready to go again, and put it all back in my car.

Sunday morning, I passed on going to church and instead wrote two letters – on to Sheriff Duncan and one to Chief Hogan, concerning the recent events that took place in our town. I also printed up pictures of bush signing a flag, made a copy for the back of my HONK TO IMPEACH sign and made copies for the Sheriff and the Chief. And, I made a copy for my car window, and put it up there. I put up an upside down flag on the back window also. It goes nicely with my IMPEACH license plates.

I did some more reading, commenting, blogging on Sunday, and then went back down to Bele Chere to work for the Department of Peace campaign. Again, we seemed to get some good responses from the general public. I did not attempt the impeachment petition on Sunday because it was spitting rain before my shift at the Dept of Peace booth, and I was there to close the booth down. While taking down the booth and cleaning stuff up, I answered a call from someone who wants an event scheduled for a veteran from the Vietnam era to speak on impeachment who is coming to Asheville on August 6, 2007. He had gotten my name from an activist in the eastern part of NC. I told him that we already have two events planned on August 6, 2007 and two more events that week, and I also had several meetings to go to that week, on top of working all week, and that I was too busy to plan anything further for that time frame. He replied that we are all busy. (I would guess I am a tad busier than most!) Anyway, I told him that if he got some info to me I would pass it along to the WNC Peace Coalition and the local Vets for Peace group.

So, back home, to blog and post to listserves. The main one I do is a weekly listserve to the WNC Peace Coalition. It is a moderated listserve, so you only get one email a week, which includes events in the area (and a few out of area events on weekends) and announcements for actions or issues, and minutes from the monthly meeting. I posted it on my own blog today, so you can read it here. If you would like to receive this email, please go to the WNC Peace Coalition webpage and sign up for the ACTIVES list.

Also last evening, I wrote a letter to Staff Sergeant Mark Radford (National Guard Armory, 75 Shelburne Road, Asheville, NC 28806). I wrote to him because he was the one who reported on the upside-down flag on the Kuhn’s porch with protest items pinned to it (see blog post from Friday). I sent him a copy of george w. bush signing a flag. I figured he would want to know, since he said:

Constitutional or not, a flag desecration law is on the books in North Carolina, which is one reason Mark Radford said he decided to alert authorities about the Kuhns' flag. Radford is a staff sergeant in National Guard's Asheville-based 105th Military Police Battalion. He has served in the military for 14 years.

Radford said he first noticed the Kuhns' flag July 20 driving to and from the National Guard unit headquarters. Radford said he is not friends with Scarborough but knows him as a soldier and from seeing him on patrol near the unit headquarters. Radford said Scarborough is not in his unit.

"I'm all about free speech ... and to have all of this stuff in his yard, that would be fine. Nobody really cares," Radford said. "But when you take the American flag ... to do that, it's illegal, but personally, it was disrespectful. I was like, 'Man, too many people have served under that flag.'"

Radford said the flag raised the ire of several soldiers in his unit. He said he told the deputy about the flag Monday. Whether a law is seldom enforced doesn't matter, he said.

"The law is the law, and if we don't follow the rule of the law as a society, where does it go from here?" Radford asked.”

He does not seem to care if something is constitutional or not, just that something he does not like is illegal. Then he can use the law to stifle free speech and to hell with the Constitution of the United States. After all, the "law is the law" and where will things go if we don’t follow the rule of law? Really, I think he would be happier in a place with no constitutional rights on free speech or political protest, like Russia maybe.

I got this in an email today: There has been much ado about the flag issue in WNC over the weekend, and the TV news clips are posted on YouTube. (Thanks, Christian for sending that!)

Today, I have a HONK TO IMPEACH action at 5 PM at Flint Street bridge (canceled if it is raining hard). I will be flying the flag - upside down. I hope to get to the Fine Arts at 9 PM to hand out flyers after SICKO on health care in America and what we can do about it. These flyers come from Progressive Democrats of America, another fine organization. I am state coordinator for PDA in North Carolina and a congressional district rep for them.

Also, I have blog posts to do on Iraq Today and News about Afghanistan and of what is happening to the Iraqi people. Here are the weekly events in Asheville:

Sunday, 5:30 to 6 PM All Souls Episcopal Church [Biltmore Village]
Tuesday, 5 to 6 PM Vets for Peace Vigil [Vance Monument]
Wednesday, 4:30 PM Haywood Neighbors for Peace at Waynesville Post Office
Wednesdays, 5:30 PM Votive Mass for Peace at St. Mary Episcopal Church in Asheville
Friday, 5 to 6 PM Women in Black Vigil A’ville [Vance Monument]
Friday, 12 to 12:30 PM Women in Black Vigil H’ville [Main St at Old County Court House]
Saturday, 12 to 1 PM Transylvania County Vigil for Peace [County Courthouse]
Other: Tuesday, 6 PM Run for Peace; Run for Impeachment at Vance Monument
Other: Food Not Bombs: 3:30 on Saturday at Pritchard Park. Info at 303-929-9713
Other: HONK TO IMPEACH on Flint Street bridge from 5 to 5:30 on Mondays – till Labor Day

And you can find other local events on my own blog. Please join us if you are in the area!

And I hope to write up a letter or op-ed on this flag incident for the local paper. And write a letter asking for a meeting with Rep. Shuler in August – for the Peace Coalition. And deliver that letter - so many outrages, so little time!

Bonus: Free downloads of local music at - brought to you by Mountain Express. And I know it takes time to read all of this, so thank you for reading – but keep in mind that time on the streets is likely way more important.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Floating for Impeachment

Photos taken by David Ireland. The one above is Veterans for Peace. The other is Pirates for Impeachment.

Today, another hot, hot day in the mountains, with lots of sunshine. A group of us floated down the French Broad River in the Riverlink Raft Race today. I had heard about this a few weeks back, and the organization that got this event rolling said that any non-profits who floated down the river would get a radio time package. So, I contacted the local Vets for Peace and asked who wanted to do this – I know that they would be quite interested in getting radio air time on stations that are not exactly liberal. Four of them joined me in doing the float.

We knew, before we even talked, that we wanted to promote impeachment on our raft float down the river. (That’s pretty much what we want the radio air time, too – that and to promote the Peace Rally in March of next year.) Unbeknownst to us – there were two other groups who used impeachment as a theme also!! One was PIRATES FOR IMPEACHMENT and they even had a sign made up. They had a home-made platoon boat, which kept on getting stuck on the rocks. The other group was PUPPETS FOR IMPEACHMENT, and then had a row boat type boat with puppets on board. We were VETERANS FOR IMPEACHMENT.

We had a lot of fun. We had signs on the front and back, and signs hanging from a frame the guys made - that was attached to the raft frame. They also had a bush blow up doll thingy, that we tied a strap around and floated behind. The Pirates for Impeachment also had the same doll thingy – one of those things that you are supposed to hit and then it bounces back.

I also made some contacts with a woman who owns a video rental store. She is collecting signatures for impeachment. I will update this post when I have some pictures. And I will let you know what prize we won.

More photos of the raft race

More views of the raft - that is me in the very back, and Connie and her husband are floating alongside us. I brought the WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER sign, and someone else brought the floating bush doll. The Pirates for Impeachment had one too.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Again, we remember

This evening, about 12 of us gathered at Pritchard Park to remember the bombing of Nagasaki. I had a difficult time trying to park, and drove around and around the part trying to find some place to park. I was the ones with the candles, bags, and most importantly, sand. The sand is too heavy to carry very far. Finally, I pulled into the space reserved for police officers, and unloaded the supplies, since there were several people there already. After unloading, I drove off and found a parking spot right away – figures.

Anyway, tonight we remembered the bombing of Nagasaki. This was the 62nd year of remembering this event where the US killed 140,000 people from that one bombing.

This is how they remembered it in Japan:

Japan marked the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki with prayers and ceremony on Thursday as the city’s mayor warned that the world faced a crisis of nuclear proliferation. Thousands of children, elderly survivors and dignitaries in Nagasaki’s Peace Park bowed their heads in a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m., the time the bomb was dropped, in memory of the more than 140,000 who ultimately died. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue vowed to carry on the fight to eliminate nuclear arms long spearheaded by his predecessor, Itcho Ito, who was gunned down by a gangster in April.

I agree. We need to eliminate nuclear arms, yet my government wants to keep building more and more of them.

Anyway, the above is a picture from our vigil, held at the other end of the park this time. (Someone had an art display at the other end, and we did not want to disrupt that.) There were about 12 people there, and some of us talked while others meditated for peace.

We remembered.