Sunday, May 27, 2007

Blood mixed with ink

Getting a first hand account of the state of Baghdad after 4 years of war, completely undistilled for the first time, was sobering. The 5 teachers we met with, while very appreciative of being taken out of Iraq and brought to Jordan to meet with us thereby allowing for a few days of reprieve, could not stop thinking of their colleagues they left behind. Thousands of teachers and professors have left Iraq because they have seen their colleagues killed or terrorized. Parents are afraid to send their children to school because of the danger in getting there and the danger in staying there. Iraqi men are in prisons, killed, or afraid to leave their houses for fear of arrest. Teachers on their way to school are turned around by American soldiers and told to go back, which means that the children who have gone to school that day, have no teacher. One street in Baghdad named after a poet had many libraries “people’s blood was mixed with the book’s ink” as Abdul told it. They don’t have music, they don’t have art, and they don’t have theatres.

They are struggling to rebuild. They would like recognition in the international labor community as well as help rebuilding their domestic stature.

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