For My First Post, As Way of Introduction…

I would like to turn over the first post of my blog to Ross Caputi of the Justice for Fallujah Project…please, please watch both of these videos to gain some background on and knowledge of the situation facing the families and children of Fallujah, from someone who can speak the truth from personal experience, and say it so, so much more eloquently than I ever could:

This is a story that needs to be told. We need to witness and we need to scream it across this entire country, and the world.

I will post whatever updates and any news items about Fallujah and the babies that I can find on this blog, and hope to compile a history of what already has been done.  The focus of this blog will be what is now being done, and what still needs to be done.  I ask my friends to spread the word…write to your newspapers, or congressmen…whatever you can do.  Subscribe to this blog, like  the Justice for Fallujah Project on facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Remember-Fallujah-Project/148687775148374 , tweet and re-tweet posts. Write in with ideas, all efforts to help are welcomed and appreciated…and needed.  Please, and

Thanks

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More Babies in Fallujah

I encourage anyone reading this blog to follow Fallujah Birth Defects on twitter – @FDefects. I am posting some of their recent pictures below. That all of these babies were born in Fallujah in just the past few weeks just doesn’t seem right. How many more babies have to suffer?  I am sickened and saddened that I live in a country that caused this and won’t take any responsibility for it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am sorry. All I can do is help them to show the world. We can all do that…

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Thinking of Mosul

This blog is primarily about the babies in Fallujah…but only because they are what moved me to try to understand the horrible effects of the US occupation in Iraq.  So I focused on the situation in Fallujah, but really all of the people of Iraq have suffered from our misguided war. It saddens me so to read about the latest US atrocity, the bombing of civilians in Mosul”

Of course the US will do everything in its power to avoid taking full responsibility. When will this end?  We must continue to oppose those who perpetrate these war crimes. My thoughts go out to all of the families. NO ONE deserved this. Peace…

Remember the Babies

I am posting these pictures and description from the Birth Defects in Fallujah Facebook page. There are no words to describe this.  I am so saddened to think that the US will never take responsibility for causing this. At least not any time soon…

Microcephaly and multiple skeletal anomalies, born in Fallujah maternity and children hospital , the family live in Fallujah and have no previous history of such or any other anomaly

A Project to Rebuild Fallujah’s Hospitals

fallujah-hospital
https://www.gofundme.com/rebuilding-fallujahs-hospital

Since I started this blog several years ago I have searched for ways to directly support and help the people of Fallujah, the families with babies,  children, suffering from horrendous birth defects caused by weapons used by the US and allies. As I write in the introduction, through my initial research I encountered an ex-Marine named Ross Caputi, a veteran of the Iraq war who fought in Fallujah and who is featured in the video that is pinned to the beginning of this blog. He helped co-found the Justice for Fallujah and ISLAH Reparations projects that you may have read about on this blog.

I am always humbled by his commitment to trying to do something to help the people of Fallujah.I know that I shared his frustration as we all watched the city sustain devastation and continued destruction over the past few years. I lost track of what happened to those babies. The people fled, became refugees, and those who have returned have returned to rubble.

I haven’t written in this blog for a while. I feel bad, but I don’t know what to say. I wanted so badly to help those babies and hopefully have made some small bit of difference here and there…raised a little bit of awareness, maybe. But mainly there has been little to say because I didn’t know what to do.

Now there is something to do. I received this email from Ross:

Dear Friends,

I’ve been awarded a $5000 grant from Veterans for Peace to begin reparations efforts with the Fallujah General Hospital and build a veteran-led reparations campaign for Iraq! But I need to match the grant by 10%. Please help us raise $500 to kick these efforts off.

Visit our Go Fund Me campaign to contribute.

This is the situation. I’m a veteran of the second US-led siege of Fallujah in 2004, so I feel a huge moral debt to this city. The Fallujah General Hospital is currently in ruins from the last three years of Coalition military operations (including US air strikes) to push the Islamic State out of the city. And since the ground assault that finally cleared the Islamic State from Fallujah this past June, all the medical equipment has been looted. What’s worse, the Iraqi government has made no promises to rebuild the hospital or restock it with equipment. Out of desperation, the hospital staff has put a call out to international solidarity organizations for assistance.

Over the last few years, I’ve been working with the Islah Reparations Project to bring grassroots reparations to Fallujah’s hospitals. Through this work, we’ve developed a strong relationship with hospital staff members, and they’ve asked us to play a big role in this initiative.

The task before us is potentially enormous. It will likely require significant logistical efforts, lobbying, fundraising, media work, and community building. Fortunately, we have a small dedicated group of organizers to help kick this effort off. And with your help, we can build this effort into a sustainable solidarity and reparations movement.

If we can raise $500, the Veterans for Peace Howard Zinn Fund will be providing a $5000 grant to kick these efforts off. We have websites to build, committees to organize (for a number of different projects), a trip to Fallujah to plan, and a book to publish, tentatively titled The Sacking of Fallujah: a people’s history. But what we’re most excited about is the formation of a Veteran Reparations Project to lead these efforts.

All of this requires operating funds and many hands to share the labor burden. If you can, please contribute to these efforts. Whatever you can offer—funds, labor, or social media support—would be much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Ross Caputi
Board Member of the Islah Reparations Project
Iraq veteran and graduate student

The good news is that he met the goal for the matching funds! But as you can imagine, there is so much more needed. Please, please please…anyone reading my blog, and my friends and others who know how this issue has always been one that is so so important to me, please do what you can to help Ross help the Fallujah General Hospital. Those doctors are heroes. They deserve our support. For the babies.

From FGH

What About the Babies?

It’s been a while since I posted in my blog.  Fallujah was in the news in June, with the battle to “re-take” the city.  My fundraiser for the refugees fleeing the city raised over $700. I thank the Norwegian Refugee Council for being there,  for offering aid. I hope that my meager effort helped a few families find shelter.

But as always in this media-driven world we live in, news headlines faded. Summer came and I retreated to my personal life. I got married and traveled and focused on my job and my life. But, as always, Fallujah remained somewhere in the back of my mind. What is happening there, I wondered. Where are the families?

I was out of the country when this piece appeared on PBS.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/fallujah-isis-gone-everything-else/

I’m not sure about the framing of the piece…things in the mainstream media often spin reality, especially the complicated political world in the middle east. But politics aside, the voices speak for themselves. A city ruined…a people lost. What about the babies? Where are they? I started this blog because I was outraged that my country wasn’t accepting responsibility for causing birth defects in innocent children. And now, I feel even more hopeless, and sad. I can only hope that somehow the people of Fallujah survive the unspeakable horrors that have been put upon them.  All I can do is offer my…I don’t know what to say. What can I offer? My hope? I’m not sure I have any left.  There is no easy answer. I pray for the babies…