Thursday, August 18, 2005

Broken links in Iraq 

Maura Stephens - openDemocracy
17 - 8 - 2005

How can western citizens aid people in shattered post-war Iraq?
In her first monthly openDemocracy column, Maura Stephens tells a story of fragile solidarity.

Two years ago I spent about four hours in the presence of a man I’ll call B. Such was his impression on me that hardly four hours have passed since that day when he has not been in my thoughts.

B was at the time dean of the college of arts at the University of Mosul in the historic city some four hours north of Baghdad. The university is approximately the size of Cornell University in my hometown of Ithaca, New York, with about 23,000 undergraduate and graduate students studying in eighteen colleges.

It was early July 2003, a little over two months since George W Bush had declared victory in Iraq and an end to major hostilities. The University of Mosul, like hundreds of other colleges, libraries, schools, and museums, had been looted on Friday 11 April, two days after the “fall of Baghdad.”

The place was decimated that day. Everything down to the switch plates on the walls was ripped out. The language labs used to house tape machines and lesson books for students to practice their language skills in English and French. There was nothing left. The professors’ office doors were smashed in. All their meagre books, the office telephones, and their personal effects, including one young English professor’s only copy of her wedding photo, were taken.

From the classrooms and administrative offices, everything – computers, copiers, phones, printers, books, papers, lightbulbs, desks, chairs, ceiling fans – was gone within a couple of hours. The dean and the professors told us they hadn’t recovered anything, and they hadn’t received one scrap of paper’s worth of assistance.

Broken links in Iraq Maura Stephens - openDemocracy


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  • !!! BUSH LIES !!!

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