The sanctions against Iraq which began in the year 1990 are an astonishing example of barbarity disguised as politics.
The implementation of these sanctions was supposedly an attempt at punishing Saddam Hussein, whom had been a western ally upon until that point in time, the only ones to suffer however were the Iraqi people, the Baath party came out largely unscathed.
This strict international embargo made every day living intolerable for the Iraqi public, forcing thousands to flee their country, often surreptiously, needless to say at great risk to the lives and families’ lives. The facts behind this reality which Iraqis today still live with have been deliberately obscured and glossed over, which leads to the greatest crime of all, to forget.
The sanctions over a seven year period, from 1990 – 1997 claimed the lives of over 967,000 children according to UNESCO, most deaths being due to infections, respiratory illnesses, malnutrition, the result of a strict international embargo, a UN secretary general report in October 2001 concluded: “the death of some 5000-6000 children a month is mostly due to contaminated water, lack of medicines and malnutrition. The US and UK governments’ delayed clearance of equipment and materials is responsible for this tragedy, not Baghdad”.
If people can confront this tragic chapter of recent history by recognizing it for what it is and challenge those involved in these crimes, both in the political sphere for enacted it and in the media for lies, omission and distortion of these crimes, only then is some measure of dignity and reconciliation offered to the victims and their families who live with the legacy of those sanctions.
”The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history” – George Orwell