Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive

Big announcement on Riverbend’s blog

Riverbend has posted after another long hiatus: The Great Wall of Segregation…. This is a very moving entry. I won’t steal her thunder, except to reveal this bit:

…I remember Baghdad before the war- one could live anywhere. We didn’t know what our neighbors were- we didn’t care. No one asked about religion or sect. No one bothered with what was considered a trivial topic: are you Sunni or Shia? You only asked something like that if you were uncouth and backward. Our lives revolve around it now. Our existence depends on hiding it or highlighting it- depending on the group of masked men who stop you or raid your home in the middle of the night.

On a personal note, we’ve finally decided to leave. I guess I’ve known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?…

So sad on so many levels, isn’t it?

Consider US Faced with a Mammoth Iraq Refugee Crisis , February 8, 2007. And now Riverbend…


See also Iraq’s Forgotten Refugees (April 24, 2007).

Since the shock-and-awe invasion of Iraq began in March 2003, that country’s explosive unraveling has never left the news or long been off the front page. Yet the fallout beyond its borders from the destruction, disintegration, and ethnic mayhem in Iraq has almost avoided notice.

And yet with — according to United Nations estimates — approximately 50,000 Iraqis fleeing their country each month (and untold numbers of others being displaced internally), Iraq is producing one of the — if not the — most severe refugee crisis on the planet, a crisis without a name and without significant attention…

Let’s start with the numbers, inadequate as they are. The latest UN figures concerning the refugee crisis in Iraq indicate that between 1-1.2 million Iraqis have fled across the border into Syria; about 750,000 have crossed into Jordan (increasing its modest population of 5.5 million by 14%); at least another 150,000 have made it to Lebanon; over 150,000 have emigrated to Egypt; and — these figures are the trickiest of all — over 1.9 million are now estimated to have been internally displaced by civil war and sectarian cleansing within Iraq.

These numbers are staggering in a population estimated in the pre-invasion years at only 26 million. At a bare minimum, in other words, at least one out of every seven Iraqis has had to flee his or her home due to the violence and chaos set off by the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Yet, as even the UN officials on the scene admit, these are undoubtedly low-end estimates…

What do you say to that, John Howard? Will you confront that with your usual stiff lower lip, and contemptuous turn away from the cameras? (Check his body language for yourselves some time. He just did exactly that on Lateline!)

(YouTube posted by oniviro March 2007.)

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Written by Neil

April 27, 2007 at 11:18 pm

3 Responses

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  1. At our Fringe Theater festival here in Minneapolis, a company put on a play based on Riverbend’s blog. It was also performed at the Fringe in Edinburgh.

    Renegade Eye

    April 28, 2007 at 5:41 am

  2. Our masters do not see the hardship they cause for the little people here or elsewhere. Their eyes hunger only for power, profit and prestige.

    It has always been so!


    April 28, 2007 at 10:41 am

  3. Renegade Eye: Yes, Riverbend has had quite a lot of coverage, including having her blog published in the UK as a book.

    Daniel: not only our masters, but also the ideologues driving much of the terror. I also am concerned about the long silence at MyScribbles in Pakistan/Afghanistan. Nothing since 21 December 2006.


    April 28, 2007 at 3:53 pm

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