Sophia's Peace Work

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Human Rights & the Environment in Fallujah

The US has leveled entire neighborhoods in Fallujah, and according to a friend with the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT), who have been able to travel to the city a few times since November of last year, and about every third building is destroyed or damaged by the fighting that occurred in April & November of 2004.

U.S. checkpoints continue to strangle the city, according to CPT and many of the Iraqis I've talked to who are from the city. CPT tells the story of one shopkeeper who said that farmers from around Fallujah can no longer deliver their produce unless they have a US-issued Fallujah ID. The shopkeepers now have to go out and pick up the produce. He said it takes him around four hours because of the checkpoint delays. "They mistreat us," he said, "they point guns at us and insult us, even the women." He said that both U.S. and Iraqi troops search through the
vegetables roughly, even dumping them on the ground and smashing them.

Mohammed, a friend who is a native of Fallujah and who runs two NGO's, one on human rights & democracy and one on the environment and conservation, was visiting last night and told us about life in the city. He mentioned that only traffic police are operating in the city during the day. The U.S. Military doesn't trust the police in Fallujah ... and so the city is without any law enforcement for much of the time which has lead to a rise in crimes and thefts.

But it is encouraging to talk to Mohammed of his plans to do environmental projects in Fallujah. In addition to the security and human rights problems in this large city on the Euphrates, there are monumental environmental problems as well ... a devestated infrustructure, increased disease, pollution to air, land and water. Fallujah doesn't have a water treatment plant ... the U.S. contract to Parsons, according to the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works is stalled because the the situation in Fallujah but also because of infighting. But even if it works, the wastewater/drinking water networks need major work themselves.

Sometimes Mohammed seems overwhelmed by the scale of the problems that Fallujah faces, but he's trying and I encourage him to start small, take little steps. For me it is a wonderful experience to share the knowledge I have to be able to help someone like Mohammed who is doing his best to make the situation better. Although I work with an Iraqi NGO that has more resources than Mohammed's group, I'm happy to help any dedicated group in any way I can. It's why I came and it's why I stay.

3 Comments:

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

    I also have a water pipe site. It pretty much covers
    water pipe related stuff.

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

    By Blogger Tim, at October 23, 2005 5:06 AM  

  • I would argue that Exit Traffic is actually one of the best forms of traffic generation. I am going to book mark this blog, nice topics discussed

    By the way... I have a traffic information site. It pretty much covers Traffic related stuff.

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

    By Blogger Iravan, at October 26, 2005 6:58 PM  

  • I would argue that Exit Traffic is actually one of the best forms of traffic generation. I am going to book mark this blog, nice topics discussed

    By the way... I have a targeted traffic site. It pretty much covers Traffic related stuff.

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

    By Blogger Iravan, at November 18, 2005 10:48 PM  

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