The Alive in Baghdad Project
An Urgent Appeal to People of Conscience
Friends and comrades,
Two and a half years after the Iraq invasion: 2,000 troops dead. Over 14,000 wounded. An estimated 100,000+ Iraqi civilian deaths. Costs exceeding the entire Vietnam War. Torture and abuse. Humiliation and the destruction of an entire society. No exit in sight. This is the reality with which we are faced at this moment in history.
Hope in the midst of this madness:
Brian Conley, a close friend of mine, is heading to Iraq this Friday. He is going not as a soldier, but as an independent journalist. For those of you who do not know him, Brian is a dedicated global justice activist. He is primarily known for his work with Indymedia (www.indymedia.org), doing documentary work on the the 2001 Presidential Inauguration, the FTAA summit protests in Quebec City, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (www.ciw-online.org), the FTAA summit protests in Miami, and other important people and events in the global struggle.
Through his project, Alive in Baghdad, Brian aims to bring unfiltered news out of Iraq and to the people of the world. The antiwar movement needs just such news at this time, when most if not all independent journalists have left the country. The Iraqi people need such a connection, because as one Iraqi put it, “If we tell interesting and compelling stories, it will be harder for them to shoot us.”
Brian has been in communication with Iraqis who will be aiding him and advising him during his stay in the country. He has also been corresponding with brave journalists like Dahr Jamail (www.dahrjamailiraq.com). It is Dahr’s chilling photos of the massacre in Fallujah that serve as harsh reminder of what this war is: a criminal enterprise crafted by the ruling class of the West that aims to subjugate, dominate, and humiliate the Iraqi people, to conquer their lands, and to expropriate their resources to further enrich the blood-soaked elite.
Brian is making this trip at great personal risk to himself. Journalists have been killed both by U.S. occupation forces (www.josecouso.info) but also by some elements of the resistance in Iraq (most notably the religious extremists Al-Qaida in Iraq directed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi).
What’s more, this trip is primarily being paid for out of his own pocket. The $300 bulletproof vest needed to protect him, in addition to many other supplies, was charged to his credit card. No radical, progressive, or liberal group is funding this project. Only the collective power of individual donations has allowed this trip to be made at all.
I am asking each one of you to first of all, check out the Alive in Baghdad site at www.AliveInBaghdad.org. There you will find Brian’s writings, a biography, a description of the project, and a newswire of many Iraqi blogs. There is also a page from which you can make a tax-deductible donation to the project. Please link to this website, put it in on your blog or livejournal, and mention it to your friends.
I am also asking each of you to ask yourselves: Is $1, $5, or $10 too much money to spare for this project? A dollar can barely buy anything, and a gallon of gas is 3 bucks, yet if every person reading this message contributed a dollar, it would cover two weeks of daily expenses! Now imagine if everyone gave $2, or got one other person to donate a small amount. I have no aspiration to be a MoveOn.org fund raiser. I’m just asking, honestly, what would be a better way to spend your money?
Brian and I attended the demonstrations in D.C. this weekend, where about 250,000 people marched demanding an end to this ridiculous war. We received many encouraging responses, in addition to generous donations from complete strangers. But more importantly I want to let each of you know something that I realized this Monday, standing in front of the White House where Cindy Sheehan and many others were arrested: We are going to win. The people of Iraq will win their freedom. It will not be easy, and more hard work, bloodshed, and tears lie ahead, but we are going to win. The Alive in Baghdad project will be an important step towards this victory, towards true “Iraqi Freedom” and a more peaceful world.
Check out the site now: www.AliveInBaghdad.org.
Spread the word and donate today. Please help this project. Brian leaves this Friday!
in love and struggle,
siempre en la lucha,