MARCH 17, 2003
Iraqi Dominican Sisters
Sr. Beth Murphy, 217-787-0481
Iraqi Dominican Sisters Appeal to President Bush, American
- March 17 - In a letter addressed to the American people and
to President Bush, the Iraqi Dominican Sisters have asked the
people of the United States to work for peace, even in this eleventh
hour, after the Azores Summit, while news reports project the
end of diplomacy.
uses strong language to call for a peaceful resolution to the
conflict. "We presume that as Christians you have hearts full
of love and compassion," it reads. "You will pity our Iraqi children,
our elderly, and our youth that have no hope in a better future
and a decent life."
Bush defends the rights of animals," the letter continues. "Have
we less value than animals? He claims that he is trying to defend
human rights in Iraq. He is willing to build a new Iraq. He tried
to convince the people in US and the peoples round the world that
he will only bomb the army and the weapons in the country. He
promises that he is not going to bring any harm to the civilians.
Is he throwing flowers on people?"
In fact, the
Defense Department is planning a massive strike against Baghdad,
dubbed "shock and awe," in which thousands of bombs will be dropped
in an effort to shock the Iraqi military into surrender. Those
bombs will put many of the Dominican Sisters and their neighbors
in direct peril.
"We have two
convents: one at the beginning of the army camp and the other
at the end," the letter says. "Will the bombing kill the soldiers
or the people? We are living in great fright, panic, and extreme
say they and all of the people of Iraq are also suffering from
months of psychological warfare, "since President Bush has started
his inhuman threats to initiate another war on our people. The
uncertain moments and the hard current times have made us wait
for our death in no time." The letter continues, "Everyday we
thank God for being alive because we do not know what tomorrow
has hidden for us."
implies that the universities closed their doors on March 15 in
preparation for war. "Our university students have waved goodbye
to each other...and they are prepared for the war. They have no
mood for study. We think they are right because they are disappointed
and hope for them seems the most hopeless thing.
"The war is
not only disastrous and destructive in its direct effects, but
also in its lasting effects. The innocent people will not only
be the victims of the bombing, but also the prey of contaminated
drinking water, polluted environments, depleted uranium, inadequate
medical supply, and crippled electric power."
was sent to the Dominican Sisters in Springfield, Ill., who are
part of the effort of the Dominican sisters, brothers, priests,
laity, and associates in the United States and around the world
who have worked since 1998 to bring to the world's attention the
humanitarian consequences of the 1991 Gulf War and twelve years
of the most comprehensive economic sanctions ever imposed in the
history of the United Nations.
the pleas of our sisters," says Sister Mary Jean Traeger, OP,
prioress general of the Springfield congregation. "How could we
ignore them? I add my voice to the voices of our Iraqi sisters
and ask President Bush and the people of the United States to
walk away from war and embrace a peaceful solution to this dangerous
about 200 native Iraqi Dominican sisters, brothers, and priests,
as well as a large community of Dominican laity in Iraq.
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