Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Other Items (Arundhati Roy on Democracy Now! today)

The need here is growing. The number of acutely malnourished children has more than doubled, to 9 percent in 2005 from 4 percent in 2002, according to a report based on figures from the Planning Ministry that was released this month.
Homelessness has spread since 2003 and accelerated with the rise of sectarian violence, with Iraqis even squatting in an old movie theater in central Baghdad, Ms. Khafaji said. The Ministry of Migration estimates that 1.1 million Iraqis have been displaced since 2003.

The above is from Sabrina Tavernise's "Iraqi Charities Plant Seed of Civil Society" in this morning's New York Times and it may be the closest the paper ever gets to exploring the UNICEF study.

As we noted Friday:

UNICEF's David Singh estimates "850,000 Iraqi children aged between six and 59 months" suffer "from chronic malnutrition" while the figure for those suffering from "actue malnutrition" is estimated to be 300,000. You didn't discover that in this morning's New York Times, but viewers of Austalia's ABC could see David Singh interviewed on The World Today.

From that interview:

TONI HASSAN: Well, the occupied forces have been there for three years. So in that time, you're saying that it's worsened?
DAVID SINGH: Yes, it hasn't improved. It has gotten worse. But I would like to say, I don't want to say… point a finger and say that it is one factor that has caused this. UNICEF's position is this: we believe that there are a number of problems in Iraq, faced by Iraqi children. Particularly our focus is Iraqi children and women, and we have been saying for the last few months that until there is an overall period of relative stability in Iraq, the problems such as these raised in this survey and other problems concerned with children going to school and not going to school etc, will continue to occur.
TONI HASSAN: So you don't want to point the finger at the presence of the coalition there and obviously the ongoing conflict, but what is going on? Why are kids going without?
DAVID SINGH: Obviously the conflict has disturbed production, the conflict has… the situation has raised food prices, it has affected processing, it has affected supply chains - the entire food chain in some way. The entire chain of food from supplier to end-user has been affected in some way or another.

Apparently, reality about the children in Iraq will have to wait for a serious exploration. Today Burnsie's too excited that Tony Blair managed to go to the Green Zone in a helicopter! And make a speech!

Iraqis? As always they have to wait. When the turned corner talk dies down, maybe we'll hear something about the tragedy. But that's how it goes with selling a war, apparently, officials and happy talk always grab the front seat. Reality's left standing on the curb, waiting for a ride.

Don't forget that a scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now! is an interview with Arundhati Roy. And:

* Amy Goodman in San Jose, CA:
Wed, May 31
*The NetSquared Conference
Cisco Systems' Vineyard Conference Center
260 East Tasman Drive,
San Jose, CA

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