This blog post is really different from any other I’ve written, well, except for the one on Thanksgiving, and maybe the one after the election, but not really. It’s ok, I totally understand and accept and am ok with the fact that many of my friends who happen upon my blog are mostly interested in my ramblings about my love of Paris and France and my trips there, and that’s really OK. I will always love Paris and France and will definitely blog about our upcoming June hopefully totally awesome vacation in the Basque country. So if you leave please come back!
Because this post is about my current passion, and it’s not so fun, but I’m driven and have been working hard and I need some help. So to those of you who want to continue to read please do, because I really need your help and support. And if not, it’s ok, I will look forward to your thoughts on my Basque adventure.
But for now my mind is far away from Paris, it’s in Fallujah and it’s in Basra. My head is full of images of the babies. It has been this way ever since I saw this picture.
Here is the link to the story that grabbed me.
And then there are these.
Here is an additional link if you want to get the full story
The short story is that there has been a spike in birth defects and cancers in the cities in Iraq where there was the most intense fighting, Fallujah and Basra. They’ve been seeing some really horrific, never before seen birth defects. When I read that the current rate of birth defects for the city of Fallujah “has surpassed those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the nuclear attacks at the end of World War II.”, I was speechless. What can you say? This was news to me – no mainstream media has ever covered this. Do you remember seeing these pictures on the NBC/ABC/CBS News? No, me neither.
OK, so I saw this and heard this and cried, and thought ok, there has to be something that I can do, there has to be some group here in the US who is raising money to help these children and their families. Wouldn’t you think? So I was all ready to offer my fundraising services to some really great group who was raising funds for these families. But, hours of research later, I was dismayed to find, well, very little.
One group I did find was the Justice for Fallujah Project. Started by a vet who was in Fallujah. What can I say to that? He’s awesome and gave me lots of information. Like, I’m correct in thinking that there’s very little being done for these families. Politics. Cause you know, if the U.S. or Iraqi governments addressed the issue then they would have to admit that there’s a problem. Admission = responsibility. We’re not going there.
I’ve also been in touch with the journalist who was featured on the Democracy Now piece. He put me in touch with the Doctor in Fallujah who is featured in the Al Jazeera piece above. This is what she wrote to me:
Thank you so much. The most important of our needs is the Ultrasound machine & the Karyotic system that help detecting congenital malformations Chromosomal abnormalities in early fetal life, in addition to the need to check the DNA , we have asked the help of many authorities , organizations & persons & didn’t yet get any response other than some few false promises … we appreciate all efforts to help our mothers & children….
OK, yeah. And then there’s the other doctor here in the states. She is an Environmental Toxicologist, based in MI. Here’s what she said to me:
Thank you for your kind letter. My work is research and I have been trying to get funding to continue my work in Iraq. But I also know medical doctors in Iraq. Let me consult with them and reply to you. I know that the medical infrastructure is weak in Iraq in general. So, I will talk to my colleagues in Iraq and see what they say.
I received a reply from a doctor in Basra, who said this:
we are group of doctors related ro the general medical council non govermental.nonrelegios and we had nothing to with business and we collect 50 $ monthply from doctors to help these families.
That’s pretty much it, my people. This is where we stand. Ross, the guy from Justice for Fallujah Project, sent me some links to a few other organizations. There’s one that is doing some work raising some money for, from what I can tell, the hospital in Fallujah? But they’re really Christian-based, and I don’t want to be involved in a religious mission.
There’s also a group called No More Victims that has a model where communities “adopt” an Iraqi child and fly them over to the US for treatment. While I think that this is a noble effort, I also think that you can’t possibly fly every child out of Iraq. I want the money to go directly to the children’s families and to the doctors on the ground.
And finally, there’s a great group in the UK called the The Cancer and Birth Defects Foundation that has done some brave work for Fallujah. (http://www.thecbdf.org). But they are more about funding (much needed!!! ) research. I asked Ross about the NGOs. And, as I suspected, not much happening for the families. And too much shady stuff.
I think I may need to create an organization. If I can’t find anyone out there that’s doing the work, then I will. I am thinking of doing some crowdfunding campaign, and a facebook page. I need a name for this. We did this, all of us here in the US. With our tax dollars. I can’t accept it. I won’t.
So, there we are mes amis Pretty much square one. I need help – Ideas. Thoughts. Suggestions. Inspiration. Prayers. Help. Please. All ideas, suggestions, all welcome.
In gratitude. Dawn
UPDATE: Seems that the mainstream media may be clocking on. Here’s a link to ABC.com http://abcnews.go.com/Health/birth-defects-plague-iraq-10-years-us-invasion/story?id=18793428#.UVCjolfSyJQ
that mentions the Dr I heard from and her study (Mozhgan Savabieasfahani). But note this telling quote from our friendly Department of Defense:
However, the U.S. Department of Defense believes the evidence is insufficient to determine whether war pollutants caused a rise in birth defects, said department spokeswoman Cynthia Smith. For example, researchers did not account for whether mothers had adequate nutrition or access to medical care during pregnancy, and they did not always consider whether the parents were cousins, she said.
“The studies have instead relied on the occurrence of conflict during specified years, and then presumed exposure of individuals to specific munitions,” Smith told ABCNews.com. “The studies have also presumed specific health effects from the claimed exposures without benefit of any scientific evidence proving the association of health effects with those exposures.”