Volume , Number 0
Silja j.a. Talvi
Silja j.a. Talvi
Stephen R. Shalom
Nonviolence Versus Capitalism
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Trajectory of Change
Jan knippers Black
Eleanor J. Bader
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This book is a collection of essays, contributed by a wide range of scholars, scientists, and activists. It includes essays by Noam Chomsky, media critic Ali Abunimah, human rights activist Rania Masri, environmental biologist Huda Ammash, British journalist Robert Fisk, a leader of the anti-sanction movement, Kathy Kelly, and former UN official Dennis Halliday, who resigned in protest against the sanctions.
In the editorial introduction, Arnove exposes the vulgar saber-rattling jingoism of some of the mainstream medias leading lights by quoting New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Nasser Aruri provides a historical account to the U.S. war against Iraq. Noam Chomsky characterizes the air and missile attacks on sewage treatment plants, irrigation systems, and water purification plants during the Gulf War as biological warfare. Dennis Halliday categorically states it is appropriate to apply the term genocide to the deadly impact of sanctions and war in Iraq. John Pilger tells a moving story of Mohammed Amin Ezzat, conductor of Iraqs national orchestra, whose personal story epitomizes the punishment inflicted upon the people of Iraq. Due to economic hardship caused by the sanctions, Ezzats family was compelled to use highly inflammable substance as a source of energy and lighting. The familys use of inflammable substance led to an accident in which Ezzats wife perished in flames in front of him. Ali Abunimah and Rania Masris detailed media analyses expose the biased coverage of Iraq in U.S. corporate media, which dehumanizes the Iraqi people.
Their findings are quite disturbing. The U.S. media has either ignored or downplayed the devastating impact of the sanctions on the Iraqi people. The civilian casualties of U.S. bombings have been brushed aside. Iraq is portrayed in the media as if Saddam Hussein is the only person who lives there. The media relies on pro-establishment figures for opinions and news analysis. The mainstream media ignore the diversity of views on Iraq. Thus, persons closely associated with American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a lobbying group, are treated as unbiased and objective experts on the Middle East. Disruption on civilian life caused by U.S. bombings rarely appears as news in the U.S. press.
Investigative journalist Robert Fisk reports on the problems caused by depleted uranium. Not only thousands of Iraqis, particularly in southern Iraq, but also U.S. and British Gulf War veterans are victims of the effects of depleted uranium. Fisks description of children dying in cancer wards is absolutely disheartening. Kathy Kellys account of her experience in Iraq is a deeply moving story of a person with empathy for the people of Iraq. For violating laws that bar providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqis in distress, Kelly and other activists are being persecuted by the U.S. authorities. Barbara Nimzi Aziz gives an account of the life of an Iraqi intellectual family. Huda Ammash, an environmental biologist, reports on the impact on environment and health in Iraq due to radiological, chemical, and electro-magentic exposure.
There are two important lessons that may be drawn from what has happened to the Iraqi people as a result of sanctions. First, the sanctions against Iraq have brought catastrophic misery on the people. It is completely avoidable and needless suffering which must be stopped immediately. Second, one must remain ever vigilant against war and violence because the consequences are deadly. Iraq is an example of the common tragedy that engulfs the world today. The patterns of death and destruction in Afghanistan, Balkans, Colombia, East Timor, and Israel/Palestine, are stark reminders of the arrogance of the illegitimate concentration of power.
This book is an informed indictment of the sanctions policy. It exposes the brutality of sanctions against Iraq and therefore deserves to be widely read. It should be of value to concerned citizens, activists, academics, journalists, students of actual international regions, and Middle East scholars. An in-depth coverage of economic conditions in Iraq with a statistical appendix of the key economic and social indicators would have been a very useful addition to the book. Researchers will find Geoff Simons (1996) and Sarah Graham Browns (1999) detailed analyses to be useful complements to Arnoves edited volume. Economists interested in the political economy and the empirical effects of sanctions will learn much from this book.