I've been participating in a long UN Environmental Program training course here in Amman and haven't had time to post ... also many friends have been coming and going out of Baghdad and Israel/Palestine. Two Iraqi friends here (one my housemate Salam) have finally received the much coveted U.S. Visa and are traveling to the States. What I haven't had time to prepare for is my up-coming trip to Baghdad.
Yep, looks like I'm going in ... I had to push for it, my boss was reluctant (and I'm sure my family will not be pleased) ... but I'm only going in for a short peroid of time ... to have some meetings at my workplace in Baghdad, to reconnect with some folks I've lost track of and to meet with some Environmental NGO's in Iraq (I'm helping to write a chapter on Enviro NGO development in Iraq for a book about Iraq's environment and I am in some serious need of some informatio that I can only get in Baghdad).
For the record, I thought it was prudent to include here my updated Statement of Conviction and Purpose. It is added below. I hope everyone will wish me luck. I should be posting next from Iraq.
Sophia's Statement of Purpose & Conviction
I am aware of the many concerned inquires from my families members, friends, and other supporters, asking whether I should stay out of Iraq for my own safety. I am aware of the risks both Iraqis and internationals face at this time. However, I am convinced that these risks are not disproportionate to my purposes in going and working in Iraq, which is intended to aid and support Iraqis and to improve the health of their environment.
I state unequivocally that I, Sophia, and my estate, do not hold any individual or any group responsible for my actions or for my safety.
In addition I reject kidnapping and hostage-taking wholesale and the paying of ransom as simply the continuation of these violent acts. If I am taken hostage, I ask that my organization attempt to communicate with the hostage-takers or their sponsors in an effort to negotiate my release but that absolutely no ransom will be paid.
I reject the use of violent force to save my life should I be kidnapped, held hostage, or caught in the middle of a violent conflict situation. I also reject violence to punish anyone who harms me. I ask for equal justice in the arrest and trial of anyone who commits an act of violence and ask that there be no retaliation on their relatives or property.