President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney and Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
Under your administration our country embarked on a pre-emptive war on the sovereign nation of Iraq. In the course of any war, people lose track of their common humanity. Young people are raised in our culture to follow certain widely respected rules of conduct. Be nice; do not run with scissors; share your toys; don't fight, bite, or pull hair; don't steal, lie or kill; listen to your elders; do your homework and chores; take care of your brothers and sisters. When enlisted as soldiers, these young are suddeningly required to open doors to predatory parts of their psyches that were once shut, bolted and sealed.
The contents of Pandora's box once opened, could not be contained.
The golden cord of early conditioning once untied, becomes twisted into a garotte with which to kill or be killed. When conditioning from human socialization no longer serves to contain baser human instincts, what is there to prevent impulsive distructive behavior?
International laws were enacted to loosely chain Pandora's box so that it can not open wide. So that the atrocities of war would be restricted. Since the horrors of World Wars I & II, the Geneva conventions and other humanitarian laws codified the only legimate excuses for acts of war as being self defense, or the defense of an ally who has been attacked within their own borders from an outside enemy.
Your administration's policies have disregarded International law and our own Constitution, adding to the confusion created in our young people on the front lines. Our pre-emptive attacks on Iraq constituted illegitimate acts of war. If our commander in chief disregards the rules of war, what constrains those who are commanded by him?
Some people do not govern themselves at war, especially when their leaders disregard law and order. Cases of absolute moral depravity are happening in Iraq Such is the case of the rape and death of Abeer Qassim Hamza, who would have been 15 this up coming August 19th. Our soldiers murdered her parents and seven year old sister (first estimated to be five years old), perhaps to eliminate witnesses and resistance to the subsequent rape and murder of Abeer. Their bodies were found by her two little brothers and neighbors.
Here is an internet link to the affadavit requesting an arrest warrent for Steven Green, who alledgely led the attack on this innocent Iraqi family, describing the inicial reports of what took place.
The other four soldiers: SGT Paul E. Cortez, SPC James P. Barker, PFC Jesse V. Spielman and PFC Bryan L. Howard, have been charged with participation in the crime, and will be tried in military court. A sixth soldier, SGT Anthony W. Yribe, is charged with not reporting his knowledge of the crime immediately after it became known to him.
The United States Government, who sent these soldiers to Iraq against International law, owes the brothers of Abeer more than could possibly be paid. While we owe every innocent civilian maimed, killed, or who have experienced losses, this case particularly cries out for justice. Her 8-year-old brother, Ahmed Qassim, and 13 year old brother (Mohammed?) are owed a bare minimum of a livelyhood, a home, counseling and protection. What they witnessed, is at least as horrible as the reality of their loss.
Abeer's 8-year-old brother, Ahmed Qassim, said he and his brother found the bodies when they came home from school.
"We found them dead in the house. We also found the house blackened and smoke coming from it," Ahmed said, holding a shovel and sitting near a mud puddle with a cow grazing behind him.
Can you imagine coming home to the burning wreckage of your sister's body, and the bloody remains of your parents and little sister? Can you imagine the visage engraved forever in your memory of your sister's last expression?
In the story of Pandora's box there is another thing which followed the nightmares released by her pride filled, thoughtless curiosity. It was Hope. Hope emerged as a balm for the stings of pestilence. Hope emerged to heal pain and suffering.
This is a petition of hope calling on this government, who is a signatory to the International Humanitarium Law; Convention on the Rights of the Child to act according to it's stated ideals:
Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Bearing in mind that the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Recognizing that the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, proclaimed and agreed that everyone in entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,
Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance,
Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community,
Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,
Considering that the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity,
Bearing in mind that the need to extend particular care to the child has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 and in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the General Assembly on 20 November 1959 and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (in particular in articles 23 and 24), in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (in particular in article 10) and in the statutes and relevant instruments of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children,
Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth",
Recalling the provisions of the Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules); and the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict,
Recognizing that, in all countries in the world, there are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions, and that such children need special consideration,
Taking due account of the importance of the traditions and cultural values of each people for the protection and harmonious development of the child,
Recognizing the importance of international co-operation for improving the living conditions of children in every country, in particular in the developing countries,
Have agreed as follows:
There are a total of 54 articles under this convention. As signatory to it, the US is bound to fulfill special obligations to all the children of Iraq. Your administration is particularly responsible to these two boys who have lost their home, family, internal balance and peace, due to the intentional aggression of our troops in a manner totally outside the parameters of recognized legitimate action, even in war. You sent the wolf to their door. You provided the opportunity and tools for them to break it down, and waited while their family was attacked and slaughtered.
You owe them what can not possible be restored.
These are some of the specific articles that were broken in this atrocity toward this entire family:
Article 1: For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
Article 2: section 2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members.
1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.
3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.
States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation.
1. States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.
2. States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to speedily re-establishing his or her identity.
1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall no be separated from his or her parents against their will...
1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
1. States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child. Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.
2. For the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in the present Convention, States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.
3. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible.
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
1. A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.
2. States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.
1. States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.
2. The parent(s) or others responsible for the child have the primary responsibility to secure, within their abilities and financial capacities, the conditions of living necessary for the child's development.
3. States Parties, in accordance with national conditions and within their means, shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and others responsible for the child to implement this right and shall in case of need provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing.
4. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to secure the recovery of maintenance for the child from the parents or other persons having financial responsibility for the child, both within the State Party and from abroad. In particular, where the person having financial responsibility for the child lives in a State different from that of the child, States Parties shall promote the accession to international agreements or the conclusion of such agreements, as well as the making of other appropriate arrangements.
States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:
1. States Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts which are relevant to the child.
4. In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict.
In light of the breaking of these and other articles, it falls to the United States of America to provide protection and recompense to the brothers of Abeer Qassim Hamza.
We the undersigned will participate in a day of fasting and solidarity for the innocent who have been harmed in the Iraqi War . This will take place on what would have been Abeer Qassim Hamza's fifteenth birthday, Saturday August 19, 2006, from 12:01 Am to 11:59 PM. Please advise the world as to what your offices intend to do to iniciate justice on behalf of the brothers of Abeer.
We expect :
1. A public face to face apology to Abeer's brothersand on behalf of the Iraqi people.
2. A trust fund, at least equivalent to the lost earning power of her family's entire natural life, set aside for Abeer's brothers.
3. Provisions made to ensure the brothers are well cared for by decent guardians.
4. Provisions made for their education, health care and counseling to deal with the emotional damage they sustained.
5. Repairs made to their home and the restoration of their possessions.
6. Fair and speedy trials of all those involved, including those who participated in any attempts to cover up the atrocity.
7. Substantial punative damages.
With all due respect. Respect due is contingent on the response your administration gives to this incident and all those like it.
This is the Daily KOS FAST FRIENDS for Abeer's Brothers LIST:
This fast was first suggeted by:
in the comment section below a poem
I wrote for Abeer.
I must remember
never to read your poetry at work, because I now have tears running down my face. I thank you for this. And I think we should organize a nationwide candlelight vigil for Abeer on what would have been her birthday. "incendiary assistance." heartbreaking.
1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora
by noweasels on Mon Jul 10, 2006 at 12:26:14 PM PDT
Here are some who have committed to participate in the Fast:
Please sign up in the comment section below if you will participate in the Fast/vigil, and note if you wish to sign onto this open letter. I intend to mail it to the White House. Let you friends and neighbors know about it too.
All the people in my regular peace demonstration group who meet Wednesdays, are going to participate. We have tentatively planned an unbirthday party/ wake to be held at the waterfront park in our downtown, for which we are contacting the local newspaper, and our district democratic newsletter,and Air America. I will post more as this develops.
Any other ideas and/or comments are welcome. Thanks