Skip to comments.Letter To President Bush from Women For Iraq
Posted on 03/11/2003 11:38:17 AM PST by zeaal
Letter to President Bush
February 27, 2003
Dear President Bush:
As women from Iraq who fled our homeland to escape persecution by Saddam Husseins regime, we write to offer our support for your principled leadership. We applaud your determination to disarm Saddam and your commitment to help liberate the people of Iraq. We are daughters, mothers, wives, and sisters whose families and communities have suffered for too long. We stand with you because only the United States and its allies can help the people of Iraq break free from Saddams 34 years of brutal rule.
Those who have taken to the streets with signs reading, No War on Iraq are misled. It is Saddam who has been waging war on the people of Iraq. Every day that this war continues, more of our brothers and sisters will suffer from Saddams totalitarian and racist policies.
A quarter million Iraqis have been murdered in summary executions and mass killings - thousands of them gassed with chemical weapons. Millions have been forcibly displaced in ethnic cleansing campaigns, their homes destroyed, their property seized, their relatives deported and never seen again. Public beheadings, arbitrary arrests, torture and rape are routinely used to intimidate the population. This systematic campaign of terror will never stop until Saddam and the Ba'ath party are removed from power
We regret that the use of force to remove Saddams evil regime will entail the suffering of innocent people. But we also know that many lives have been lost in the past and many more will be lost in the future if Saddam is not stopped. The cost of inaction and appeasement would be very high for the people of America and Iraq alike. We know from personal experience that Saddam cannot be contained and will always be a danger to the world.
The Iraqi people will help to liberate their country, just as they heeded Americas call to rise up against Saddam after the Gulf War in 1991. But without American assistance, that uprising was crushed. Some of us participated in that uprising, risking our lives and losing relatives. When the United States comes to our assistance this time, the Iraqi people will not only be grateful, we will join in. But we cannot overthrow Saddam on our own.
We look forward to the day when, with the help of Americans and others of good will, Iraq can take its place as a Free World nation a nation that is founded on the rule of law and equal rights for all citizens, where women participate fully in society, their rights respected and protected. As you plan for a post-Saddam Iraq, we ask you to maintain your commitment to establishing the building blocks of democracy, and to ensure that no neighboring powers interfere militarily with our desire to live in a free, pluralistic and democratic Iraq. Anything less would be an opportunity foregone to dramatically change the fate of millions of Iraqis, and sow the seeds for even greater changes across the Middle East.
Again, we wish to extend our heartfelt support to you for your leadership, and our gratitude to all Americans who will be asked to risk both lives and treasure to remove Saddam. Know that the Iraqi people will eagerly contribute everything they have to the task. Our prayers are with you, with the American people, and with the Iraqi people.
Women for a Free Iraq
So do we!
[names and mini-bio's of women on webpage follows]
As we watch UN inspectors search Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, I ask, why are there no UN inspectors investigating Saddam Husseins crimes against the Iraqi people? Along with hidden caches of biological and chemical weapons, Iraq also has hidden torture chambers, prisons and mass graves.
In Saddams Iraq, women are especially vulnerable pressure points - victims who can be used to influence other victims. They are harassed, abused, raped, tortured and gassed both for their resistance to the regime and as a means to control their families. For reasons like this, other Iraqi women and I have been organizing to get our voices heard in the international arena. Last December we met with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain to brief him on the Ba'th regime's systematic abuse of women in Iraq, and how our families and communities have been persecuted by Saddam's regime.
Zahraa Mohammed is a Shi'a, Feyli Kurd from Baghdad. She described to Mr. Blair how she was imprisoned with her family for three months in 1980, during a mass deportation campaign of Feyli Kurds from Iraq to Iran. Saddams regime has conducted three such campaigns, in 1969, 1971 and 1980, in which hundreds of thousands of Feyli Kurds were expelled and lost all their property. Saddams agents took away Mohammeds four brothers and eight cousins, and dumped the rest of her family on the heavily mined Iranian border. To this day, she does not know what happened to her brothers and hundreds of other relatives who have also disappeared. In total, seven thousand young men of the Feyli Kurdish community were taken hostage in April 1980, and twenty-three years later their fate remains unknown.
Berivan Dosky, a Kurd from northern Iraq, described how her mother was forced to flee her village in Duhok province in the 1961 Iraqi war against the Kurds, merely two hours after giving birth to Berivan. Berivan herself was later forced to repeat the scenario with her three-month-old son. In 1988, during a chemical attack against the Kurds, Berivan had to make a Faustian choice: She had only one gas mask, and had to decide whether to use it for herself, or give it to her then two-year-old son. She decided neither would wear it; they would either live or die together. Berivan is worried that Saddam will once again use chemical weapons against the Iraqi Kurds who live in the British and American-protected Kurdish safe haven. She asked Mr. Blair to make sure that there are enough gas masks for everyone.
Fatima Bahr-al-Ulum is a Shi'a from a respected religious family in Najaf, in Southern Iraq. She listed over twenty clergy members in her immediate family who are in prison; none of them were released in the recent amnesty. Scores of others have been killed. The Iraqi Shi'as have suffered greatly from the discriminatory policies of Saddam's regime, which has massacred over two hundred thousand Shias, murdered five of their religious leaders (Al Maraji'), and destroyed their Marsh lands, known as the Venice of the Middle East. All the great Sh'ia religious families in Iraq, like Fatima Ulums, have been targeted by Saddam's regime for their opposition to its brutal policies.
Layla Kelenchy, a Turkoman from Kirkuk, in Northern Iraq, described how she was expelled from her home during the 1990's as part of Saddam's "Arabization campaign in which Sunni Arab Iraqis are resettled around the country to disrupt other Iraqi ethnic communities. There are an estimated one million non-Arab refugees within Iraq who have been displaced by Saddam's ethnic cleansing campaign and live in refugee camps or scattered in various cities in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Melina Bakhos, an Assyrian poet, told the Prime Minister how Saddams regime has destroyed more than two hundred villages, and dozens of ancient churches and monasteries, in her small Christian Assyrian community. Only this summer, his agents beheaded a 72-year-old nun in a Mosul Church. Hundreds of Iraqi women have been beheaded in the last two years under the orders of Saddams son Uday. Their heads are displayed on the walls and doors of their houses. Teachers have been beheaded in front of their pupils. These women, and others who were doctors and engineers, were accused of being prostitutes. In reality they were killed because of they were related to opponents of Saddam.
My father, Sheik Taleb Al Souhail, was the chief of the almost one million strong Bani Tamim tribe from the central part of Iraq. Our family fled from Iraq after the Ba'ath coup d'etat of 1968, but Saddam's agents still managed to kill my father in his exile home in Lebanon, in April 1994. Although the case is well documented, it was never prosecuted in the Lebanese courts. All our property in Iraq was confiscated by the Ba'ath regime, and several members of the tribe were arrested and executed. My mother and six sisters have remained in exile in Jordan. We receive constant death threats from the regime. Earlier this year, a voice on the phone told me: "Do not think that because you are a woman you will not face the same fate as your father."
These stories are a just a tiny sample of crimes that the Ba'ath regime has committed against the Iraqi people for the past three decades. It is essential for people of the world to understand that the suffering of the Iraqis will not end as long as the current regime is in power. The British prime minister's agreement to meet us was a heartening and encouraging gesture. We asked the British government to enforce those sections of UN Security Council Resolution 688, passed in 1991, which call upon the Iraqi government to end its repression of the Iraqi people. Resolution 1284, passed in December 1999, also calls on Iraq to cease its discrimination against various Iraqi ethnic groups. And we asked that a UN commission be created to investigate human rights violations in Iraq. There is ample evidence with which to indict Saddam Hussein for genocide and crimes against humanity in the international criminal court.
For the past three decades, we have been seeking international support for our efforts to bring about an Iraq within which our children can be brought up in peace and security. Iraq has violated sixteen UN Security Council resolutions, most of which were passed under the rarely used Chapter VII, which makes them legally biding on all UN members to enforce by military means if necessary. What is the point of these resolutions if the member nations of the UN do not show the will to enforce them?
Saddam Hussein is himself a weapon of mass destruction. Disarmament is not enough. It may avert a chemical or biological attack, but it would not protect the people of Iraq from arbitrary imprisonment, executions, rape, torture and daily intimidation and deprivation. Saddams oppression of Iraqis is the "king of wars." His ongoing war against the Iraqi people must be stopped. The long-suffering Iraqi people deserve to be freed, and to live in a democratic, pluralistic and federal Iraq that is at peace with itself, the region and the world.
Followed a link from the Women for a Free Iraq website and found the above site.
excerpt from Letter to Peace Movement:
Saddam rules Iraq using fear; he regularly imprisons, executes and tortures large numbers of people for no reason whatsoever. This may be hard to believe, and you may not even appreciate the extent of such barbaric acts, but believe me you will be hard-pressed to find a single family in Iraq which has not had a son/father/brother killed, imprisoned, tortured and/or disappeared due to Saddams regime. What then has been stopping you from taking to the streets to protest against such blatant crimes against humanity in the past?
Saddam gassed thousands of political prisoners in one of his campaigns to cleanse prisons; why are you not protesting against this barbaric act?
This is an example of the dictators policy you are trying to save. Saddam has made a law excusing any man who rapes a female relative and then murders her in the name of adultery. Do you still want to march to keep him in power?
Throughout my life, my father and many other Iraqis have attended constant meetings, protests and exhibitions that call for the end of Saddams reign. I remember when I was around 8 years old, I went along with him to a demonstration at the French embassy, protesting against the French sale of weapons to Saddam. I have attended the permanent rally against Saddam that has been held every Saturday in Trafalgar Square for the past five years. The Iraqi people have been protesting for years against the war: the war that Saddam has waged against them. Where have you been?
Why is it now at the very time that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and however precarious, that they can live in an Iraq that is free of the horrors partly described in this email that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with Americas policy in Iraq?
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE DAN RATHER AND THE LIKE HAVE EXCLUDED FROM THE PUBLIC EYE. IGNORANCE IS BLISS FOR LIBERALS. Note this letter is 10 days old, where's the coverage?
As for not as many names on the petition as there should be.....well, I'm sure there would be more if they were alive or able to sign it....
My first question too........where has this been??
Principled leadership PING, and let's get going on freeing the people of Iraq from a murderous tyrant BUMP!
I have heard that many Iraqis in exile are afraid to speak out because they fear the long arm of Saddam. Families are so large in Iraq that there quite often are still relatives left behind that can suffer also.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.