Volume 92, Issue 86

Thursday, March 11, 1999


USC budget sees student fee increase

Moran gets an 'F' from faculty

McGuinty promises education will be at platform forefront

Good chance for post grads

Fares on the up and up

Series explores international effects on Iraq

Quirks & Smirks

Caught on campus

Series explores international effects on Iraq

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

The use of the word "holocaust" often conjures up horrifying images of the second World War, but according to some Western students, the word can also be used to describe more current events.

As part of their lecture series on the catastrophic effects of international sanctions on Iraq, the Arab Students' Association hosted a two-day event, concluding yesterday, entitled "The Silent Holocaust of the Iraqi People" in an effort to raise awareness of the unnecessary suffering and death at the hands of international economic embargoes.

Citing agreements such as the Geneva Convention and the Declaration of Human Rights, Robert Barsky, a Western English professor, questioned the United States' role as an international peacekeeper. "Do we know where the American weapons are? Do we have full disclosure? What we have here is a clear double standard," he said.

Atif Kubrusy, a McMaster economics professor, said the economic effect of the sanctions are profoundly beyond repair and would take the labour of three generations to rebuild the infrastructure. "Unwittingly, the sanctions have destroyed the middle class and increased entrenchment of the government," he said.

Kubrusy said the Iraqi people have been forced to question whether their true oppressor is Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein or the international community imposing the sanctions.

"The American system needs to create enemies to maintain their dominance over Iraq. If there was no Saddam they would be forced to create him," he said.

Salim Mansur, a political science professor at Western, described the sanctions as a systematic weapon and said the mainstream media was unwilling to provide a critical forum to question international policy.

"So long as the economic boom in the United States continues, their authority is not undermined and the public is unconcerned," he said.

Mansur added while the Iraqi invasion of Iran in 1980 carried the approval of the United States, the invasion of Kuwait in 1991 was decreed as a gross violation of international law. "This war was an excuse to destroy Iraq," he said.

Rana Alnouno, a third-year biology and chemistry student, said she was glad to have been in attendance. "I came to support Iraq and to learn more. The speakers were very interesting," she said.

London resident Ellen Hobyan said she agreed the sanctions were in effect causing genocide of the Iraqi people. "We must change things," she said.

Adham Benni, public affairs commissioner for the ASA, said he was pleased with the turnout. He added as part of the Iraq speaker series, the ASA hosted a talk on Tuesday by Dennis Halliday, former United Nations assistant secretary general and humanitarian coordinator for Iraq. A protest of the sanctions will be held Friday in downtown London.

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