Cliff Kindy Iraq Blog

Current entries are related to Cliff Kindy's fourth Iraq trip, beginning in October 2007. The blog archives contains letters from Cliff's third Iraq trip in 2004-5.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Advent Slips into Kurdistan

Dear Friends, Family and All Good People,

We have had a downpour of welcome rain with accompanying thunder, hail and lightning this morning. It replenishes the reservoir that provides our limited electricity and soaks the earth so that farmers can plant their crops. I saw a farmer broadcasting grain on worked ground last week as we traveled to Erbil.

We spent that day in Erbil meeting with two members of the Kurdish Parliament to share the concerns that independent journalists had asked us to raise with them. Kurdish Iraq is being encouraged to join the "War Against Terrorism," so media freedom of speech is being throttled so that fear might be used to manipulate the population. The youth are so clear about the distinction between their elders who are living in the Anfal (the Kurdish holocaust, especially during the 1980's) mindset and their own vision of focusing on a vision for a different and positive future.

The last two days three members of Muslim Peacemaker Teams were with us. They presented a forum yesterday on their learnings about depleted uranium and its impact on their local Najaf community. They monitored sites across that city and found consistent readings at least double the background readings from the former Tawaitha nuclear site. This parallels similar findings all across south Iraq. Cancer rates are triple the rates before 1991. Rare cancers and cancers in the very young are becoming common. They report cancer spreading across their region as an epidemic. It is more sobering as the two presenters were the director of the Pathology Department at the large public hospital in Najaf and a nuclear physicist who was trained in Britain and was third in the nuclear program of Iraq until he left in the 90's.

Tomorrow we meet with the Minister of Awkaf and Religious Affairs. He will report on his trip to South Africa to learn about that reconciliation process. He wants to find application for that healing model here in the Kurdish area. We in CPT hope that we can encourage that effort as it relates to healing from the horrors of the Anfal and present tensions between locals and the large internally displaced population that has moved into this relatively safer space.

Some items of notice: Iraqi Airways ads are one of the few ads on bus windows. Old men wear the baggy sharwall trousers held up with a bulky cumberbund-type wrap while I see youths in shorts on the streets. There are young university women who appear to be poured into jeans alongside other women who are totally covered except for their eyes. On Fridays the shops that are open are internet cafes, carpet stores, money exchange fronts (The dollar has dropped in the last month from 1250 Iraqi dinars per dollar to 1217 dinars per dollar.), barber shops, and liquor stores. There are men tea shops where folks visit and drink tea, and there were tea shops for women until conservative Islamicists raised concerns. I have seen no donkey or horse carts here in Suleimaniya, a couple bicycles, motorcycles and bikes, and lots of taxis. I did see a Chevy and a Humvee automobile recently, but most of the cars are Nissan, Toyota, VW, KIA, BMW and Mercedes. The shops are filled with goods from China, Turkey, and Iran. If the economy is a sign of what influences this region, the United States is having a very small impact.

So, where is Jesus? Maybe in the guise of the elderly or the mothers with young children begging on the streets? Maybe he comes as an independent journalist? A child with cancer or a baby born with grotesque birth defects because parents breathed in depleted uranium dust? Or perhaps he comes again as a reconciler.

Come Lord Jesus!



Blogger Brennzn said...

-ok1111@sbcglobal.netDaily temperature range 37-52 F now? Problem of death from exposure would occur during a severe winter storm? Starvation is a continual problem? Sanitary plumbing and waste dispoal in spring when it warms will be a problem. Hygenic water supply is worth millions of dollars and purification/distribution is additional cost.

P.S. Cancer is a stem cell and studying the not-embrionic derived fails.

10:54 PM  

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