Iraqi Women Discuss Realities of War with Americans
It's really too bad the delegation of Iraqi women currently traveling the country talking to Americans about the realities of war isn't getting more attention in the national media. Rather than interview a robotic pro-war politician who's spent a day in the Green Zone, why not interview an Iraqi woman who actually lives under occupation? An interview with an average Iraqi would be a first for the talking heads on TV. They probably couldn't handle it.
The delegation is currently with CodePink in South Florida and plans to spend the next two weeks visiting California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Dr. Entisar Mohammad Ariabi, a pharmacist at the Yarmook Teaching Hospital in Baghdad, attended a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday. A member of the Pharmacist Union, she provides medical and food emergency relief to families in villages and towns devastated by attacks carried out by the occupation forces. Despite claims by the Bush administration that things are improving, Dr. Entisar is especially concerned with the deteriorating health care system, lack of medicines and medical supplies and destruction of hospitals. This is an account from CodePink's blog:
South Florida peace and justice groups organized a march and rally in West Palm Beach, a very affluent community not known for anti-war demonstrations, to highlight the continued violence in Iraq on the third anniversary of the occupation. The rally was held in the median green between two very busy streets. In the heat of midday, the Raging Grannies gathered to sing and cheer, and Entisar spoke about life under occupation, not as a politician, but as a doctor and as a mother. Entisar was interviewed by several newspapers and other media outlets. During the march, some people on the streets cheered and others jeered; it was clear how divided the area was over the issue of a troop withdrawal.
On Friday, Dr. Entisar visited Terra Vella High School in Ft. Lauderdale:
When we arrived there were already five classes of students in the media center/library. Entisar asked for a volunteer student to stand up and go through a normal day with us -- what time she wakes up, what she does in the morning, what she eats, how long it takes to get to school, what she does at school, what she does after school, where she works, how late she gets home, etc...
When Entisar said what a usual day for an Iraqi kid, such as her daughter in high school, would look like, including waking up worried and afraid in the dark because there is no electricity, trying to find school books without light, the journey to school that used to take 15 minutes and now takes 2 hours because of road blocks and altered routes, lack of classes available to medical students because professors have fled the country or been killed, and curfew. Entisar talked about what life is like under the occupation of Iraq, what life was like before, and how she thinks her country can rebuild and return to safety -- contingent on the US troops leaving.
One very conservative teacher started the day by asking Entisar a barrage of very pointed questions emphasizing the US motives for going into Iraq and the reason for staying. He teaches international relations and he brought all his students. At the end of the day he wanted a CODEPINK for Peace shirt and had great follow-up questions. Many students signed up to continue getting information about Entisar's life and work and to find out more about creating peace. Students stayed after school to see video and photo footage of the situation in Iraq. By the end of the day, Entisar had spoken to over 1,000 students at Terra Vella.