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:
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.
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.