Home' Aurora : Aurora April 2011 Contents 10
| Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle | www.mn.catholic.org.au
IMAGINE A TOWN where the cycle of
life has stalled; where the earth is
contaminated, the drinking water heavy
with toxins and the air itself like poison.
Imagine a place where young women's
dreams of mothering healthy children will
not be fulfilled. Imagine a slow violence
stealing fertility, deforming babies and
strangling the city in which you live. This
is not a natural process, not an accident,
but rather the result of a planned,
systematic sacking of a city.
This year, I will return to Iraq to tell a
story that urgently needs to be told, to
give voice to those whose voices are
rarely heard: the women and children of
a dusty, war-torn Middle Eastern town
struggling to survive a war that, for them,
has never ended.
On the contrary, the war begins anew
every day in the maternity ward of Fallujah
City Hospital where gynaecologists say
that on average three babies are born
each day with severe deformities. That's
over a thousand a year in what is now a
relatively small town. Many babies are
stillborn, others live a few hours, and the
majority of those who survive will only
live a few months, such is the severity
of their abnormalities. Fallujah cemetery
is littered with tiny graves. Babies who
make it past their first birthday will need
intensive specialist care for the rest of
The medical recommendation of the
gynaecologists to the women of Fallujah
is simple: "Just stop." Stop having babies,
stop falling pregnant because it is likely
you will not give birth to a healthy baby.
These words carry a shocking implication:
a whole generation of young women who
will never be mothers, a whole generation
of babies, little human beings, who will
never see light, or laugh or feel love.
A Hunter born and bred author and peace activist will
return to Iraq this year. She explains the mission
that has called her there after six years,
and how you can be involved.
By DONNA MULHEARN
Donna with children from Fallujah.
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