UPDATE: Veterans for Peace Iraq Water Project
PROJECT UPDATE 15 JAN 2008
To all supporters and prospective supporters of Veterans for Peace Iraq Water Project: Happy 2008, everybody, a year in which we get to celebrate the joyful fifth anniversary of a magnificent attack upon a hapless opponent, the most esteemed and successful projection of US military power since we vanquished Grenada. Above and beyond this, may the new year bring you and your family some actual blessings. The people of Iraq, too.
For those new to or out of touch with IWP, let me briefly review what we are currently doing. A closer look is available at the last two updates, June 2007 and the previous December.
As a water project now in its ninth year, and with a view to establishing a more personal link with the people of Iraq, we are presently sending small 8 gallon per minute water treatment units, called Sterilight, to Iraqi hospitals. Imagine your own hospital having no access to safe water. We accomplish these deliveries through the good offices of an Iraqi engineer in Amman, Faiza alAraji, a woman in unhappy exile because of threats to her family and who is working assiduously to help the people back home. We are helping her provide that help. Check the previous updates for details.
It is no secret that Iraq’s entire medical infrastructure is in disastrous decline, a situation precipitated by United States Iraq sanctions policy over the past years and exploded into chaos by the invasion. Unavailability of basic medicines and equipment in these facilities, compounded by physical attacks upon staff, including assassination and murder, has prostrated the entire medical system throughout much of the country. Close to half of Iraq’s doctors have fled abroad.
Dispatching Sterilight water units to as many Iraqi hospitals as we can is one way IWP assists in these dreadful circumstances. So far we have sent Sterilights to 13 hospitals----two are on their way to Samawa and Nasiriya right now---and of course we plan to continue sending them as long as funding holds out. But this is a very difficult and chancy enterprise, subject to every kind of misstep and risk. Donors must be aware that we do not guarantee these deliveries. We have recent evidence of what I consider our first confirmed failure, the unit we sent to Diwaniya. A friend of ours from Muslim Peacemaker Teams, on a mission in Diwaniya, visited the Teaching Hospital and no one knew anything about the Sterilight. It is possible the unit was diverted to another area hospital, but this is only soothing speculation. All the same our record is still pretty good, in fact better than I expected when we first set out on this new and difficult phase of the project. We have photos of the units we sent to several hospitals, including the city of Hit where there has been a recent outbreak of cholera, and we got a dandy little video of our Sterilight in action at al Mansour children’s hospital in Baghdad; you can view the short video here, composed of Part 1 and Part 2. (Please be patient, it may take a minute to load.)
As you perhaps noted on the home page IWP, in cooperation with an Iraqi NGO in the south, is also assisting schools. For a very small investment of a couple of thousand dollars we fund the replacement of water tanks, pumps and filters for as many as six schools. This work we also plan to continue as resources permit.
Once again let me express the appreciation of our Iraq Water Project committee, and the people we try to assist, to Faiza alAraji for the indispensable help she has been to our effort. She is both brain and muscle of much of what we do. Also cordial thanks to our many donors---including three of our VFP chapters---for unfailing support. We are still financially viable.
For this new year please pray, burn incense, chant to the moon or whatever you find effective for a better United States government, and for the restoration of Iraq’s independence and prosperity. We owe them.
--Art Dorland, Chair
Iraq Water Project, Veterans For Peace