After ten months in Baghdad, Rick and Mary bring a profoundly human view of the war, Iraq and its people, and the occupation.
About the Tour
Since May 2003, Rick McDowell and Mary Trotochaud, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Iraq Country Representatives, have lived in a neighborhood of Baghdad. They have witnessed nights of terror; days of profound sorrow, hope, and anger. They have seen inspiring grassroots efforts to rebuild an Iraq struggling to come to terms with its past and the present reality of occupation.
Sharing their insights and the voices of Iraqi friends and colleagues, they will speak to the human cost of war and occupation in a nationwide speaking tour, Eyewitness to Occupation, March 1-20, 2004.
Living under occupation is an opportunity to witness and accompany families surviving in difficult and trying times and an occasion to listen and convey their experience to the outside world. Based on the representatives' insights, AFSC calls for an end to the U.S.-UK occupation and the establishment of Iraqi self-government.
With over a hundred thousand American troops in Iraq, Rick and Mary believe it is "critical for Iraqis to observe Americans without guns." They have had the chance to listen to their neighbors' hopes and dreams while experiencing some of their frustrations.
As outsiders on the inside of occupation, they provide a channel for understanding and cooperation, reporting their stories to a wide audience on our website.
The Impact of War and Occupation
Iraqis suffered for more than two decades under Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party. The thirteen years of UN-imposed economic sanctions caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, destroyed the economy and infrastructure, and dangerously isolated Iraq from the world community. A legacy of sanctions is a generation of children denied an education, robbing them of an opportunity for a richer life, a legacy which will challenge Iraq and the world for years to come.
Under US occupation, Iraqis struggle with new violence and a lack of security unheard of in recent years. Electricity functions sporadically while 50 to 70 percent of the workforce is unemployed. An estimated 9,000 to 15,000 people are in prison, many without charges, while family members search to find them and wives are left to provide for their families.
These are the stories of struggle and forbearance that Rick and Mary will bring to the United States in March, on behalf of the Iraqi people.
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Page updated February 26, 2004