Displaced in Iraq | AspenTimes.com

Displaced in Iraq

Dear Editor:For those who, like Cynthia Bartosh (letters, June 16), still believe the U.S. did something good by attacking and occupying Iraq, let me share statements from Iraq’s leading humanitarian group, the Iraqi Red Crescent, and an Iraqi refugee who fled Iraq as she worked as a translator for Americans shortly after our invasion. Working for, or being associated with, Americans is death. She fled to Jordan (where I met her), then to Lebanon where she got caught the last year of Israel’s bombing of Lebanon, escaped to Syria and was admitted into the U.S. the end of last year. She had to leave her two young children behind.The Iraqi Red Crescent reported this month that the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Iraq has quadrupled since January and is up eight times from a year ago. In May 2006, there were 125,169 IDPs. In May, it counted 1,024,430 – with 37 percent of them children. Healthcare is limited.Iraqi Red Crescent report states that “Rape, armed gangs, theft, drug addiction was … common place.” “The overall picture is that of a human tragedy unprecedented in Iraq’s history.”An Iraq refugee wrote to me this month, “My sister … who is 24 years old, was wounded in an explosion yesterday. She works at the municipality of Baghdad building. The target was the big mosque next to it. She was injured in her head, her body is all bruised, and one of her fingers was chopped off. I don’t know how serious her injuries are. … She was the only one who put food on the table. Now they have zero income. … We feel all the doors are closed in our faces.”My brother … is being asked many times now to join the Mehdi Army, ‘the protectors’ in my family’s hood. I can’t believe that he quit school to escape danger …My sons … can’t go to school any more. Three unexploded bombs were found in their school. They can’t get passports since it costs $400 each to make them under the table. Their dad is Sunni and most of the workers at the passports office are Shiites. They are afraid that if they go, the officers will check their info when they submit their papers and figure out they are Sunnis, and kill them after they leave the office. It happened many times to other people.”My brain is shredded into pieces. I don’t know which path to take, or whom I should ask for help. Any ideas?”Cathleen KraheCarbondale

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