Sophia's Peace Work

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Post-Saddam Stress Disorder

I've probably spoken about this before but I ran into another case of PSSD today. I was down at the Central Organization for Standardization and Quality Control (Part of the Ministry of Planning for some reason). This government body is in charge of setting standards in Iraq for, among other things, food safety (they test the local bottled water Furat, made from the immortal ... and polluted ... Tigris River water).

On my first visit I spoke to Ms. Manal, the Head of the Food Section. She told me that they were trying to meet 1993 ISO Standards (International Standards Organization, I believe) but it even this was difficult as 70% of their building and lab equipment were looted after the war and there are many test they simply can't do. (In case you were interested, they need Atomic Absorption, Gas Chromatography, anaerobic incubators, and digital Microscopes for a start).

On my first visit, I also met Dr. Haifa Abid Ibraheem, a Chemist in the Quality Management department. She is the person I had first wanted to meet. I had been told that she had done a lot of research on the pollution of the Tigris River.

I made a special appointment just to meet with her today (my 2nd trip) and learned that here work had mostly centered on heavy metal pollution of the river. Looking at my map (which a posted a few days ago), she indicated the places on the river where different industries were located ... soap and detergent plants, cement plants, textile and leather industries, etc.

I asked her if she would like to join us on the Tigris Boat trip. She was very interested but her boss, who refused to meet with us, said no. Not without the "permission" of the Minister of Planning. Ah, the dreaded "P" word. To me it is the most obvious symptom that I'm facing another difficult case of Post-Saddam Stress Disorder. When asked why permission is needed, you either get a shrug of the shoulders or some mumbled words about security issues. Dr. Haifa was willing to admit that it was also probably simple fear.

It's a fear of westerners (or really any outsiders) so ingrained by the Saddam government that it still haunts the people of Iraq. Though Saddam has gone, this fear still exists and in many cases, sometimes with reason but often, I think, without, the fear has simply shifted to fear of the Americans. You don't talk, you don't give information, and God forbid, always ask for Permission!

And though I try to be understanding, I find it difficult not to express my exasperation with it all. It stands in the way of so much. With only about three weeks to go before the River Trip, I don't have the time to spend the next day or so, trying to get permission for one person to come on the trip. I'll do what I can but the odds don't look good at this point.

Note: I don't often report on the daily bombings and shootings that occur throughout the country. For one thing, since I'm in the country, the rumor mill is rampant and I don't always get the most accurate information unless I'm hanging out with reporters who just came from the scene. My experience of the violence and chaos in Iraq is the occasional intense, booming rumble of an explosion in the distance or the heavy rattle of the helicopters that buzz the roof-tops in twos and threes. I know that the explosion I heard this morning was of a bomb attack at a bank in Baghdad that injured three people. I also heard there was a terrible U.S. attack in Fallujah that killed some women and children.

I try and check Juan Cole's website, as he usually lists the daily toll, along with his editorial comments as a Middle East expert and, if I'm lucky enough to have access to Satellite (not a daily occurrence), I'll check in with BBC World, or just watch the video footage of the Al Jazeera channel. Those of you outside Iraq probably have better access than I do to the most current information on the violence. I'm often glad that I'm not so privileged ... it makes it easier to plug away with my work.

I don't want you to get the impression that I'm walking around oblivious to it all. That would be impossible. But there are plenty of people chasing down the latest bombings and shootings. I want my work (and hence my posts) to be a bit more forward looking - focus on the consequences of the war, the problems aka challenges, and maybe, if I'm lucky, on some of the solutions.

6 Comments:

  • Essential oils, roots and herbs can be used in a variety of ways to promote healthy living and stress headache. They are used to create natural remedies for treating ailments common to both people and animals, to add flavor to food, to make perfumes and to create environmentally friendly cleaning products.

    You do not have to own a garden to tap into the benefits of plants, roots and herbs. A few herb pots located by a sunny window are enough to get you started. Then, all you need are some essential oils and you are ready to go.

    For therapeutic purposes, only the purest oils will do. It is possible to be fooled into thinking that you are purchasing a pure oil. Often, a lesser quality blend of several oils is used to mimic the properties of the pure oil. Blended oils are acceptable for fragrance purposes such as for perfuming a room, but pure oils are a "must" for medicinal purposes.

    A reasonable guide to the purity of an essential oil is its price. Pure essential oils are generally more expensive. Common oils such as lavender and geranium are much cheaper than frankincense and carnation oil. It is advisable to become familiar with essential oil prices and then rely on this knowledge when purchasing oils from unfamiliar sources. Keep in-mind that you will generally get what you pay for. A price list from a reputable dealer is a valuable resource when purchasing essentials oils.

    Usually, pure essential oils cannot be applied directly to the skin and must be mixed in a base oil to reduce their strength. Base oils such as almond oil or wheatgerm oil are commonly used for this purpose. Base oils are generally derived from seeds, nuts or vegetables and allow you to create essential oil remedies that can be massaged into the skin.

    So, what do you need to get started with essential oils and natural remedies?

    Without a doubt, Lavender is one of the most useful and desirable oils. Not only does it work wonders on cuts, bruises and burns, it also aids sleep and helps with relaxation.

    The Tea Tree and Eucalyptus oils are useful for treating a variety of respiratory ailments. These are excellent for the treatment of colds and coughs. They can be massaged into the chest or burned in an oil burner to help clear the airways and prevent congestion. Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic and can be dabbed on cuts, bites and stings. It is often used to treat spots and pimples and when diluted with water, acts as a mouth gargle (keep in-mind it should never be swallowed).

    Another basic antiseptic is Geranium oil. With its distinctive perfume and pain relieving properties, it is a necessary inclusion when starting out.

    Peppermint oil should also be purchased as it treats digestive complaints and may be used in preparations for freshening breath.

    For fragrant perfumes and establishing ambience in a room, buy some Patchouli and Ylang-ylang oils. Often combined in scented candles and air fresheners, a few drops of each in an oil burner creates a wonderfully perfumed home. Orange oil mixed with Cinnamon oil is a lovely winter alternative that evokes seasonal, holiday smells. Besides their perfume qualities, all four of these oils have other properties. Patchouli treats eczema and dandruff. Ylang-ylang is reputed to relieve stress, palpitations and high blood pressure. Orange is used in natural remedies for depression and nervous tension and Cinnamon is excellent for warts and viral infections.

    The herbs, Thyme and Rosemary can be grown in pots and used when needed. To create essential oils from herbs, stew some large amounts in pure water, collect the steam and cool it. The oil will rise to the top of the drained water and can be collected with an eyedropper. Alternatively, a "flower still" can be purchased to make the job easier. Thyme and Rosemary are both antiseptics and can be used in skin care preparations. They are also delicious when used in cooking.

    Lemon oil and fresh lemons will purify water and, when mixed with honey, are effective remedies for colds and flu. Lemon and white vinegar are highly efficient cleaning agents that can be used for domestic cleaning tasks without damaging the environment. Use white vinegar as a natural disinfectant or mix it with water to clean windows and wooden floors. It is also handy to keep a bottle of white vinegar in your car if you swim in the ocean. It will bring instant relief from jellyfish stings.

    Citronella oil is perfect in summer to keep the insects at bay. Another natural repellent is Garlic. Fleas will not bite a dog that has been eating garlic, so a few garlic capsules in the dog food are a cheap solution to your pet's flea problem. A soft collar soaked in Citronella will also do the job.

    Garlic also helps to promote a healthy immune system when the weather turns cold and viruses begin to circulate. In fact, most of the oils and herbs listed above are effective in helping to prevent many common winter illnesses.

    Whether you are looking for remedies or nature friendly products to use around the house, the oils and herbs suggested above should help get you started. You will be ready to make some healthy changes in your way of life!

    stress headache

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 23, 2005 3:30 AM  

  • This is an interesting blog ! I'm bookmarkarkimg you and will re-visit :o)

    I also have a boston day spa site. It pretty much covers
    boston day spa related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    By Blogger Tim, at October 23, 2005 10:14 AM  

  • I enjoy reading the stories on your site. Keep up the super articles!

    I have been working on a content site on stress appears

    It covers stress appears
    related stuff.

    Check it out if you have some time :-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 29, 2005 10:23 PM  

  • I enjoyed you blog about acne problem. I also have a site about acne problem which makes me appreciate this one even more! Keep up the good work!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 02, 2005 6:59 AM  

  • Thanks for offering this great service to learn about sports interaction. I have a website about sports interaction which makes me very interested in what you have going here. I think I am going to start up my own blog so I can spread the news! Thanks you are offering this great service!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 04, 2005 8:51 PM  

  • I've just found you site after doing research for **NoMoreSpots**. www.nomoresports.co.uk is an Acne Treatment resource site that may have further information of interest.

    By Blogger nomorespots, at November 15, 2005 4:05 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home