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A Petition to Congress for Redress of Grievances

[Artists Against the War April 25, 2007 Washington DC action]

…Many of the shoppers in this international oil bazaar were interested in a vast region known only as the “Western Desert”—inhabited by nomadic tribesmen and virtually unexplored. The Western Desert is what one international oil consultant, his voice mockingly falling to a worshipful murmur, called the “Holy Grail” of the oil industry. Iraqi oil is miraculously cheap to pump out of the ground, costing about a dollar a barrel. Iraqis in general seem to have a touch of pride about their oil. “It comes up to the ground,” one told me, smiling. “I’ve seen it seeping up.” Another one laughed one day, “You put a pipe in the ground and oil comes out.” The chief wells are to the North, near Kirkuk, where sabotage keeps production down, and to the South, near Basra. But the Western Desert offers untold riches.

Aram Roston

“The Battle for Iraqi Oil”

The Nation

posted online on January 2, 2004

The U.N. estimates 3.7 million Iraqis are displaced. Out of a total population of 26 million that is one out of every fourteen.

300,000 have been displaced just since November. About 2,000 a day arrive in Syria alone.

The UNHCR budget for its Iraq program is now $29 million, far below the $150 million allocated at the start of the invasion in 2003. Within that budget, the UNHCR can spend just one dollar on each of the 800,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria alone.

The official quota for the number of Iraqi refugees to be allowed into the US this year stands at just 500.

Nearly three years after this war, the buildings are still piles of debris. Electricity is terrible. Water is cut off for days at a time. Telephone lines come and go. Oil production isn’t even at pre-war levels…and Iraqis hear about the billions upon billions that come and go. A billion here for security…Five hundred million there for the infrastructure…Millions for voting…Iraq falling into deeper debt…Engineers without jobs simply because they are not part of this political part or that religious group…And the country still in shambles.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What does America possibly gain by damaging Iraq to this extent? I’m certain only raving idiots still believe this was and occupation were about WMD or an actual fear of Saddam.

Al Qaeda? That’s laughable. Bush has effectively created more terrorists in Iraq these four years than Osama could have created in ten different terrorist camps in the distant hills of Afghanistan. Our children now play games of “sniper” and “jihadi,” pretending to hit an American soldier between the eyes and this one overturned a Humvee.

This last year especially has been a turning point. Nearly every Iraqi has lost so much. So much. There’s no way to describe the loss we’ve experienced with this war and occupation. There are no words to relay the feelings that come in the knowledge that daily almost forty corpses are found in different states in decay and mutilation. There is no compensation for the dense, black cloud of fear that hands over the head of every Iraqi. Fear of things so out of ones hands, it borders on the ridiculous—like whether your name is “too Sunni” or “too Shia.” Fear of the larger things—like the Americans in the tank, the police patrolling our area in black bandanas and green banners, and the Iraqi soldiers wearing black masks at the checkpoint.

Is the American soldier that died today in Anbar more important than a cousin I have who was shot last month on the night of his engagement to a woman he’s wanted to marry for the last six years? I don’t think so.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Ann Messner

ANN MESSNER is a New York-based video artist.

Carole Ashner


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2007

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