to main page
news mail-2004 <English>
[urgent mail 10 Apr 04 ] Emergency Statement
[urgent mail 08 Apr 04] Iraq Kidnappers
Take 3 Japaneses Hostage
[news mail 07 Apr 04-Part.2] US Soldiers
Contaminated With DU Speak Out
[news mail 07 Apr 04 ] Urgent! Iraqi need
[news mail 17 Mar 04-Part.2] One moving image
17 Mar 04 ] WHO "suppressed"
scientific study into DU cancer fears in Iraq
[news mail 10 MAR 04 ] "The Way of Changing the
[news mail 22 Jan 04 ] "The Two Brother Sparrows
in Waqland : a fable"
[urgent mail 10 Apr 04 ]
Emergency Statement from Mr.Morizumi
Midori at the 'Children of the Gulf War' photo exhibition UK tour writing.
Here is an Emergency Statement from Mr. Morizumi, the photographer of the 'Children
of the Gulf War'. He said street-children in Baghdad awaiting Naoko, one of Japanese
hostages who captured in Iraq.
* The Guardian Friday April 9, 2004
Get out of Iraq or we burn hostages alive, Japan told
Naoko has taken One-woman activity in Baghdad from last June, she called it 'Wash
the Street-children". She has washed their clothes, their hair, their faces and
everything. Especially she has washed their mind which harmed by loneliness.
* You can find some photo of Naoko with her dear 'children'
taken by Mr. Morizumi last winter.
Mr. Morizumi is on the way from Iraq to Japan. He heard that horrible news at
the way to Amman from Baghdad. He wrote this statement at Amman.
Please spread widely!
Save the Hostages Now!
- Ms. Takato and two other Japanese held hostage in Iraq
April 9, 2004
I have occasionally participated in Ms. Takato Naoko's activities to support street-children
in Iraq since last June, while staying at the same Andalus Hotel she was also
staying at. I have covered her activities and the lives of the street-children
since I came to know them, and have planned to hold a photo exhibition about them.
We almost finished the coverage of the children by the end of March.
Those children were abandoned by their parents but have still survived on the
street, with dust and noise caused by the US tanks as a lullaby, withstanding
air raids. They were hungry for food and love, escaping from the feeling of loneliness
by sniffing chemical thinner. Naoko looked on these children lovingly, accepting
them wholeheartedly. She completely devoted herself to them. Naoko was a spiritual
support for the street-children. They cherished her ragged photos in their pockets.
They often asked,
"when will Naoko come back?... I will keep waiting until she comes back."
This hostage crisis just happened when I was waiting to take photos of her heart-to-heart
communications with those children, who were longing for her to come.
Ms. Takato opposed the dispatch of Japanese Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to Iraq
and insisted that humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the country should
be provided by the NGO. Also, she was very helpful for my photo exhibitions and
lectures about Iraq in her native place, Hokkaido.
The details of this incident have not yet become available. However, the captors'
demand, "the SDF's withdrawal from Iraq" should be fulfilled immediately. The
SDF should be withdrawn regardless of the outcome of this incident. All responsibility
for this crisis must be taken by the Koizumi administration, which had dispatched
the SDF unconstitutionally.
We demand the immediate, total withdrawal of the SDF from Iraq to save the three
hostages! Don't make Japanese civilians the enemies of the Iraqi people!
Ms. Takato entered Iraq to support the Iraqi children, never having done anything
hostile to the Iraqis. While taking care of those children, she continued sending
the voices of the Iraqis to the Prime Minister's office. Consequently, she has
been an unfavorable person for the Koizumi administration, who sent the SDF against
the will of the Iraqis. Now, they are about to abandon Ms Takato and the other
peace activists to their fates. Don't allow this to happen!
* Please send faxes or e-mails to the following contacts, to demand the immediate
withdrawal of the SDF from Iraq:
Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro
Foreign Minister Kawaguch Yoriko
Defense Secretary Ishiba Shigeru
*Translated into English by Mr.Iwakawa and Ms.Marta
/Translators united for peace, Japan
[urgent mail 08 Apr 04]
Iraq Kidnappers Take 3 Japaneses Hostage
Midori at theeChildren of the Gulf Warfphoto exhibition UK tour writing.
Three Japanese taken hostage in Iraq. One of them is my friend, Mr. Imai who is
a young activist for banning the DU weapons. He just graduated from high school
in March and also he will be starting study of peace in UK. Here is an urgent
statement from my friend Yumi Kikuchi who is a founder of the Global Peace Campaign.
Please send your voice to our government. Please help their lives.
As you may know, 3 Japanese humanitarian and peace activist/journalists are in
hostage in Iraq. One of them is dear friend of mine. See below.
They say unless Japanese Self Defence Force withdrow form Iraq within 3 days,
they will kill all 3, barn them alive and cut them into pieces. They don't know
who those Japanese are. They are my friends. They are peace activsts and humanitarian
volunteer who have been really helping Iraqi children who are suffering from DU
or/and from the war. Can you send an e-mail to Aljazeera, informing those hostages
are against war and occupation and they are in Iraq to make peace, to make SDF
Mr. Noriaki Imai is my dear friend who has been working to stop the use of DU
(depleted uranium) and who is against war and occupation. He just graduated from
high school and went to Iraq to help Iraqi children who are suffering from the
contamination of DU.
Ms. Nahoko Takato is humanitarian volunteer who has been helping street children
who lost parents and home in the war. Her work has been really very appreciated
by Iraqi people. She moved so many Japanese and her work has woken up many Japanese.
Mr. Soichiro Koriyama is a freelance photographer who is working with Imai. They
went to write an article for Asahi Weekly.
The group who took the hostage says that they will kill all 3 unless Japanese
Self Defence Force withdrow from Iraq.
In my opinion, this war is wrong from the beginning as Kucinich says, and Japan
should not have sent our troops, which is violating our Peace Constitution.
Can you please ask our prime minister Koizumi to withdrow the Self Defence Force.
Below is his e-mail:
I appreciate your support. Please forward this e-mail.
[news mail 07 Apr 04-Part.2]
US Soldiers Contaminated With DU Speak Out
Midori at the eChildren of the Gulf Warf photo exhibition UK tour writing.
Have you read an article from the 'New York Daily News' which reported the US
soldiers who are contaminated with radiation caused by dust from depleted uranium
shells in Iraq last year?
The articles are here:
By JUAN GONZALEZ / DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Saturday, April 3rd, 2004 New York Daily News
Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! interviewed with the soldiers. Here is a transcript
of that aired on Monday, 5th of April 2004.
Broadcast Exclusive: U.S. Soldiers Contaminated With Depleted Uranium Speak
Monday, April 5th, 2004 Democracy Now!
A special investigation by Democracy Now! co-host Juan Gonzalez of the New York
Daily News has found four of nine soldiers of the 442nd Military Police Company
of the New York Army National Guard returning from Iraq tested positive for depleted
uranium contamination. They are the first confirmed cases of inhaled depleted
uranium exposure from the current Iraq conflict.
After repeatedly being denied testing for depleted uranium from Army doctors,
the soldiers contacted The News who paid to have them tested as part of their
Testing for uranium isotopes in 24 hours' worth of urine samples can cost as much
as $1,000 each.
In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, three of the contaminated soldiers speak
Army officials at Fort Dix and Walter Reed Army Medical Center are now rushing
to test all returning members of the 442nd. More than a dozen members are back
in the U.S. but the rest of the company, mostly comprised of New York City cops,
firefighters and correction officers, is not due to return from Iraq until later
After learning of The News' investigation, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) blasted
Pentagon officials yesterday for not properly screening soldiers returning from
Clinton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said she will write
to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld demanding answers and soon will introduce
legislation to require health screenings for all returning troops.
Depleted Uranium is considered to be the most effective anti-tank weapon ever
devised. It is made from nuclear waste left over from the making nuclear weapons
and fuel. The public first became aware the US military was using DU weapons during
the Persian Gulf War in 1991. But it had been used as far back as the 1973 Yom
Kippur war in Israel.
Amid growing controversy in Europe and Japan, the European Parliament called last
year for a moratorium on its use.
[To read more]
AMY GOODMAN: Ten U.S. soldiers and at least 50 Iraqis were killed in one of most
turbulent days yet in U.S.-occupied Iraq. The number of U.S. troops killed since
Washington's invasion is now over 600 and the number of casualties in just one
year is an astonishing 12,000. That figure does not include a hidden casualty
that up until last week had gone unnoticed - exposure to depleted uranium. Today
an explosive expose by Juan Gonzalez and the "New York Daily News." Congratulations,
Juan, for this report.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, Amy, our report, which we have been working on for several
months found that first -- four of nine soldiers from the 442nd military police
of the New York National Guard were found with the depleted -- contaminated with
depleted uranium. They are the first confirmed cases of inhaled depleted uranium
exposure from the current Iraq conflict. Army officials at Fort Dix and Herbert
Reed Army Medical Center are now rushing to test all returning members of the
442nd. More than a dozen members are back in the U.S. but the rest of the company
mostly comprised of New York City cops, firefighters and correction officials
is not due to return until later this month. After learning of the news investigation,
Senator Hillary Clinton of New York blasted Pentagon officials yesterday for not
properly screening soldiers returning from Iraq. Clinton, a member of the Senate
Armed Services Committee said she will write to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
demanding answer and soon will introduce legislation to require health screening
for all returning troops. Depleted uranium is considered to be the most effective
anti-tank weapon ever devised. It is made from nuclear waste leftover from the
making of nuclear weapons and fuel. The public first became aware of the U.S.
military was using D.U. weapons during the Persian Gulf war in 1991. But it had
been used as far back as 1973 during the Yom Kippur war in Israel. Amid growing
controversy in Europe and Japan, the European parliament called last year for
a moratorium on its use.
AMY GOODMAN: Today we're joined by three soldiers who came home sick from Iraq.
We're going to begin with sergeant Agustin Matos. Welcome to Democracy Now!
SGT. AGUSTIN MATOS: Thank you. Good morning.
AMY GOODMAN: It's very good to have you us with. Can you talk about what happened
you to in Iraq?
SGT. AGUSTIN MATOS: Basically, we were living in areas that were bombed out or
very dirty as far as - we lived in one train station of Samarra, where it was
filled with bird droppings and grease pits and asbestos from brakes. We were forced
to clean these areas, because we have to live in them, and as far as dust was
concerned and sand storms. They were constantly. Every time you went out on missions
and came back. All of your equipment and gear was filled with sand. Sometimes
you slept and woke up, you had sand behind your ears and sand in your nose. Everywhere.
JUAN GONZALEZ: One of the things in the process of talking to several of you,
you had one of the medics, Sergeant Juan Vega, who told you when it got to Samarra,
some time was it in June of last year, that suddenly a lot of men in the company
started coming down with similar symptoms. He had as many as a dozen of the 106-member
company had high fevers and kidney stones, and urinating blood for many of the
soldiers. Can you talk about what happened there in Samarra.
SGT. AGUSTIN MATOS: I myself while I was out there, experienced a couple of fevers
one night. Unexplained, I was fine during the day and then it just hit me. It
just totally knocked me out. I was in bed. I couldn't get out. I can't remember
exactly what the fevers were. But also I had -- I was urinating blood while I
was out there. It wasn't good. It was just a place not to be when you are sick
AMY GOODMAN: Where were you?
SGT. AGUSTIN MATOS: We were in Samarra.
AMY GOODMAN: Which is how close to Baghdad?
SGT. AGUSTIN MATOS: I would say about a 40 minute ride to an hour ride.
AMY GOODMAN: And Juan, how did you first hear about the story?
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I initially got a call back in I would say, mid November
from the mother of a soldier, who is still there actually. And who had come back
because his grandfather had died for a few days for the burial. But who was --
who was sick, and he had not been shipped out. She was concerned about him. He
eventually went back to Iraq with the company. The whole company is not due to
return until April 23rd, is it -- coming back?
SGT. AGUSTIN MATOS: Anytime after the 17th.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And -- but then she told me there's a whole bunch of others from
the same company that are at Ft. Dix, who are also having all kinds of problems.
So she put me in touch with them. One by one, I started meeting with some of the
soldiers and finding they had very similar types of complaints about their physical
conditions. A lot of kidney problems. With the urination or blood in the urine
or kidney stones, which is a sign of depleted uranium, because uranium is a heavy
metal attacks the kidney as one of the first organs. So, I talked to several of
the men about the possibility of their getting independent testing, because they
were having trouble with the military dealing with their testing. I don't know,
maybe sergeant Herbert Reed, who is also one of the men, I want to talk about
the problems that you had. You were one of the few that actually did get tested.
What were the problems in getting the results?
SGT. HERBERT REED: Yes. Well, what happened was it was several of us that went
to Herbert Reed to be tested. And you had to fill out a survey but a lot of us
were turned away. I was tested in early December when we submitted the specimen
back to Herbert Reed. After numerous tries to retrieve the results, we were told
they hadn't come back. Just recently, last week, we went to -- back to the office
to get the results, and we met with this colonel who told us that they still hadn't
returned. They made a telephone call to the lab. The lab indicated to them that
all the results had been completed, and they didn't know why ours had not reached
Herbert Reed yet. So, he told them that -- to send him an email and he would get
him the results. And about an hour later, we were telephoned that they had our
results, and that myself, Specialist Phillips, and Sergeant Ruez had came back
negative, but I was positive for 6.2 nanograms of uranium, and 6.0 nanograms of
that correlate -- I think it's like that.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, Sergeant Herbert Reed, you're Assistant Deputy Warden at Reicherfs
SGT. HERBERT REED: Yes, Mam.
AMY GOODMAN: And the 442 police company is - of New York Army National Guard -
is made up of what, cops, correction guards, firefighters, and Agustin, what do
you to do?
SGT. AGUSTIN MATOS: I'm a New York City corrections officer. So I work closely
AMY GOODMAN: In the tombs?
SGT. AGUSTIN MATOS: Correct.
AMY GOODMAN: We are going to break and when we come back you're going to also
hear from Hector Vega, who is with us, who has tested positive in this "Daily
News" special investigation also for depleted uranium. Again upon reading this
investigation, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is calling for all soldiers
returning from Iraq to be tested.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes. And she said she's going to introduce legislation on it this
AMY GOODMAN: And now she has done that before, is that right? Or she has at least
called for some kind of -
JUAN GONZALEZ: She spoke to me yesterday and she said that last spring she met
with the Pentagon as a member of the Armed Services Committee and specifically
asked them what are you doing about the soldiers that are going over there in
terms of health and specifically in terms of depleted uranium. And she was told
at the time that all of the soldiers were going to be screened when they were
coming back. So, that's why now she's so angry that she had been told one thing,
but now she's finding out that a lot of soldiers are having trouble even getting
tested or screened when they have ailments.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!. We'll be back in a minute.
[To read more]
[news mail 07 Apr 04 ]
Urgent! Iraqi need help
Midori at the eChildren of the Gulf Warf photo exhibition UK tour writing.
I've just received an email below from my friend living in Osaka, Japan. The original
mail had came from Iraq, Occupation Watch mailing-list. I don't know how to help
them from Britain now. If you know any way of helping the people in Iraq, please
let me know. They need help urgently!
Please spread widely!
With best regard,
Urgent! Iraqi need help.
Iraqi cities are being sieged and bombed by missiles and tanks. Sadr, Adamiya,
Kufa, Falloja, Shula and others. Civilians are being killed. The high way to Falluja
is closed. News from Falluja say that bodies are lying in the streets, no ambullances,
no water, no electricity. Journalists are not allowed in, cameras are smashed.
They say this will go on for days . pls help.
Falloja people sent a call to Kofi Annan and intel orgs to end siege, also doctors
of Falloja sent a mesage asking for help bc people are dying from bleeding, they
talk about lack of medicine and equipment to help the injured. Falloja is still
under siege . Aljazeera said that families are evacuated from the town , only
men are still there fighting. Tank and air bombing is still going on.
There is no number of casualties all over Iraq, but they are in hundreds. fighting
spred from Baghdad (Shula, Sadr, Adamiya) to Kerbala, Kufa, Najaf, Kut, Amara,
Nasiria, Diwaniya, Basrah(south) Kerkuk(north) Ramadi(West).
Everything Changes So Quickly: Thawra Under Attack
April 6 2004
At 8 PM on Sunday night, Thawra looks like it is under curfew. At a time when
they are normally thronging with people and filled with noise, the streets are
dark, and all the shops are closed and locked for the night. Every few blocks
we see groups of twenty or so young men in black moving restively and carrying
guns ? members of Moqtada Al-Sadr's Mehdi Army, patrolling their neighborhood.
Other than that, the only people we see out are lined up in front of the Sadr
hospital gates, waiting for news of the injured and the dead.
We hear tank fire in the distance, and drive past a burning US humvee. A few streets
later, we pass a group of five US tanks; tense looking soldiers surround cuffed
"Everything changes so quickly," says Khaled, one of the young men with whom I
am traveling. At noon, when he had left the area for the center of Baghdad, things
were quiet in Thawra.
Indeed, at noon Moqtada's people were demonstrating downtown in Firdaus Square
in front of the Palestine and Sheraton hotels -? yet another demonstration in
a week-long series of protests to denounce Paul Bremer's decision to shut down
Sadr's Al-Hawza newspaper for "making the security situation unstable" and "encouraging
violence against the Coalition Forces and the Coalition Provisional Authority
(CPA)," by claiming that US troops were responsible for the destruction of an
Iraqi police building in February.
The exact line of the occupiers' strategy is hard to discern. Is it to keep destabilizing
the situation enough to qualify the transition to pseudo-sovereignty planned for
June 30th as impossible and justify their continued presence here? Or is it to
force a confrontation with the segments of the Iraqi political scene that they
most want to see neutralized before the 'hand-over'? Whatever the exact nature
of the strategy, shutting down the paper was a deliberate provocation. And it
has been followed by more actions on the part of occupation authorities that are
hard to interpret as anything but inflammatory attempts to fuel a frustrated reaction
from Shiite loyal to Moqtada.
On Saturday night, Iraqi police fired into a crowd of demonstrators in Baghdad's
Tahrir Square. According to media reports, three demonstrators were killed. So
at Sunday's demonstration, when the angry and unarmed crowd of several hundred
moved toward them, the US soldiers who guard the hotels from tanks and towers
behind blast walls shot into the crowd, injuring at least two people.
Around the same time on Sunday, news began to reach Baghdad that protests in Kufa,
Moqtada's base just outside of Najaf, had been shot at by Spanish and Salvadoran
occupying forces. Twenty people were killed, according to news agencies, and over
So perhaps we should have known that things would come to this. We had driven
into Thawra at 6:30 PM to meet with some people about organizing a film screening.
As we arrived at the squatters' camp, we saw tire smoke in the distance and heard
machine gun fire. We were told that there was fighting between Moqtada's people
and US troops on the other side of the neighborhood, and that it wasn't a good
evening to discuss anything.
Ahmed and Khaled drove me back toward the center of the city, but as we approached
the blast-wall and private security protected hotel where I was supposed to meet
other friends for the evening, I got frustrated. I didn't come to Iraq to watch
the occupation from behind blast walls in upper class Jadriya where the old regime
used to play. I came out of some desire to work for justice and to demonstrate
solidarity with people struggling against the occupation ?- and I have become
angered by the lack of connection the anti-war and anti-occupation movement seems
to have built here to the Shiite communities who were most horrifically oppressed
under the Ba'athist regime and continue to be both politically and economically
incredibly marginalized in occupied Iraq. Tonight, those people are the people
Khaled was convinced by my rant, but worried about my safety. I was worried about
his safety, since he was the one accompanying a foreigner at this particularly
tense time. We agreed not be worried, and Ahmed turned the car around once again.
Still, when we return, we are surprised by the eerie empty streets. Machine gun
fire continues in the darkness and Khaled and Ahmed both want to go to make sure
their families are OK. They are, though the younger children are scared of the
gunfire and the airplanes flying too low overhead.
At Khaled's house the family is gathered in the living room. We ask what happened
and it seems that Moqtada's men took control of several police stations and local
government buildings in Thawra in the late afternoon. US occupation forces responded
with tank and helicopter fire. The neighborhood shut down, except for the fighting.
The men in the family reminisce about the uprising that took place when Saddam
had Moqtada's father, Sayyid Mohamed Sadiq Al-Sadr, and his two elder sons assassinated
in 1999. They remember the days of fighting with Saddam's security forces that
ensued, and the blood and the death. Khaled tells me that the streets of his neighborhood
tonight remind him of the way they looked then. This story has played itself out
in Thawra many times before.
The only silver lining in all this: "Maku madrasa." There's no school for the
It is 9:30 and with erratic shooting audible in the environs, with no one on the
street but US occupation forces and a few members of the Mehdi army, it is too
late and too dangerous to drive back in to the center of the city. Khaled's family
graciously allows me to stay with them for the night.
We hear the sound of missiles striking. I ask Khaled's nineteen year-old sister
if she is afraid. No. We sleep.
On Monday morning, we go to the hospitals in the area. Conversations with hospital
managers indicate that in the range of fifty people were killed by US occupation
forces fire, and over 150 have been injured. Eight US soldiers were also killed.
In the hospital we are taken to the emergency area where we meet some of the injured.
Among them is a fourteen year old boy, lying unconscious, breathing through a
tube in his nose and receiving blood. He was shot by US fire that penetrated a
Outside in the hospital courtyard, an ambulance driver tells us how US troops
had shot at him while he was trying to move the injured. A young man who has come
to donate blood tells me, "I am a follower of Al-Sistani, not Moqtada. But if
one of us is injured, all of us is injured, and if Moqtada says to fight, I will
fight." No one seems to expect that the conflict will subside, in spite of the
cool morning's apparent calm.
The streets of Thawra are filled with people, but many shops and most of the market
stalls remain closed. A major intersection is still occupied by US tanks, and
US tanks also surround Sadr's Baghdad offices. The humvee we saw burning last
night is still smoldering, surrounded by dancing, yelling kids. Tension seems
to rise palpably in Thawra as the morning wears on.
What will the evening bring? How will the Mehdi army respond to the occupation
forces' assault on their people, and what sort of punishment will occupation forces
seek to inflict?
I don't want to impose on Khaled's family for another night. So Khaled and Ahmed
accompany me back to Baghdad city center, where I write this report from behind
blast walls and feel sick that this is the best our movements can do.
This report was written by Andrea Schmidt for the Iraq Solidarity Project. The
Iraq Solidarity Project is a Montreal-based grassroots initiative to provide direct
non-violent support to Iraqis struggling against the occupation; strengthen the
mobilization against economic and military domination and anti-war work in Quebec
and Canada; and build links of solidarity between struggles against the occupation
of Iraq and struggles against oppression in Canada and Quebec.
In response to emergency appeal for solidarity from Iraqis ...
Iraq Solidarity Project and Voices of Conscience are calling for an emergency
protest of US actions in Iraq ...
Wednesday (TODAY!), 7 April, 4:30 pm
US Consulate, 1155 St.-Alexandre (corner Rene-Levesque)
Join in a protest at the US consulate in response to an emergency appeal for solidarity
from our contacts in Baghdad. Occupation forces are brutally quelling a spreading
uprising against their illegal occupation in many of Iraq's major cities.
Fallujah is under full siege ... Sadr City in Baghdad is a battleground with tanks
and helicopters terrorizing the population and crushing the resistance. Heavy
bombing was reported again last night.
According to reports received by Iraq Solidarity Project from Baghdad, fighting
sparked by US provocation has spread from Baghdad neighbourhoods to the cities
of Kerbala, Kufa, Najaf, Kut, Amara, Nasiria, Diwaniya, Basrah in the south, Kerkuk
in the north and Ramadi in the west.
With Saddam gone and no WMDs found, what do the occupation forces want now?
Annihilation of anyone that opposes the occupation. Legitimisation of their continued
presence as a force for "order".
The occupation is illegal. Resistance is legimate. Join us!
[news mail 17 Mar 04-Part.2]
One moving image from Gaza
Midori again. Ifve received the below information today from Japan. It is a moving
image from Gaza Strip filmed at about one year ago, 6th of March 2003.
Before seeing the image, please read the below articles. Kristen Ess described
this attack. This article is at the "Electronic Intifada". During this
attack the 'Flechette Shells' had used by Israeli soldiers. If you don't yet know
the flechette shells, please read the article next to Ess's text. You can find
a lot of 'Flechette Darts' frying in the air to the people in the image.
You can download this image from the below URL. This is the homepage of Ryuich
Hirokawa who is a Japanese photojournalist. Please click the 'PLAY' square, it
need 5 or 6 minutes for download.
With best regard,
from "Severe Attack on the Gaza Strip"
By Kristen Ess
The Electroric Intifada / Diaries 7 March 2003
As the Israeli military finished its nine-hour attack on the Jabalyia Refugee
Camp yesterday at 8 am, they shot a tank shell into a small crowd that had gathered
near an ambulance to help put out a fire. A family was trapped inside and two
fire-fighters were spraying the building with water. Israeli soldiers shot the
tank shell at the fire-fighters and the people standing around.
The ambulance driver was just on one leg trying to help a boy off the ground,
many others were lying on the ground, dead. Two men came running to help the ambulance
driver lift the boy and it was only then that we could see he had no face left,
just blood on the street and a small body.
To read all:
Flechette Shells: An Illegal Weapon
Flechettes are an anti-personnel weapon that is generally fired from tanks. The
shell explodes in the air and releases thousands of metal darts 3.75 mm in length,
which disperse in a conical arch three hundred meters long and about ninety meters
The IDF uses flechette shells that are 105 mm in diameter and are fired from tanks.
The primary military advantage of the flechette over other munitions is its ability
to penetrate dense vegetation very rapidly and to strike a relatively large number
of enemy soldiers
The IDF used flechettes in Lebanon against the Hizbullah and the other militias
fighting against Israel. The flechettes killed and wounded dozens of Lebanese
civilians, who were not involved in the hostilities, including children.
Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada, the IDF has used flechettes against
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
To read all:
** Other information of the flechette Shells are below:
The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
[news mail 17 Mar 04 ]
scientific study into DU cancer fears in Iraq
Midori at the "Children of the Gulf War" photo exhibition UK tour writing.
Why WHO "suppressed" scientific study into DU cancer fears?
Why was the UK Ministry of Defence's DUOB website off-line?
I thought you might be find the answers in these articles.
1) WHO "suppressed" scientific study into depleted uranium cancer
fears in Iraq
22 February 2004 /Sunday Herald Online
Radiation experts warn in unpublished report that DU weapons used by Allies in
Gulf war pose long-term health risk
By Rob Edwards, Environment Editor
An expert report warning that the long-term health of Iraq's civilian population
would be endangered by British and US depleted uranium (DU) weapons has been kept
The study by three leading radiation scientists cautioned that children and adults
could contract cancer after breathing in dust containing DU, which is radioactive
and chemically toxic. But it was blocked from publication by the World Health
Organisation (WHO), which employed the main author, Dr Keith Baverstock, as a
senior radiation advisor. He alleges that it was deliberately suppressed, though
this is denied by WHO.
Baverstock also believes that if the study had been published when it was completed
in 2001, there would have been more pressure on the US and UK to limit their use
of DU weapons in last year's war, and to clean up afterwards.
Hundreds of thousands of DU shells were fired by coalition tanks and planes during
the conflict, and there has been no comprehensive decontamination. Experts from
the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have so far not been allowed into
Iraq to assess the pollution.
"Our study suggests that the widespread use of depleted uranium weapons in
Iraq could pose a unique health hazard to the civilian population," Baverstock
told the Sunday Herald.
"There is increasing scientific evidence the radio activity and the chemical
toxicity of DU could cause more damage to human cells than is assumed."
Baverstock was the WHO's top expert on radiation and health for 11 years until
he retired in May last year. He now works with the Department of Environmental
Sciences at the University of Kuopio in Finland, and was recently appointed to
the UK government's newly formed Committee on Radio active Waste Management.
While he was a member of staff, WHO refused to give him permission to publish
the study, which was co-authored by Professor Carmel Mothersill from McMaster
University in Canada and Dr Mike Thorne, a radiation consultant . Baverstock suspects
that WHO was leaned on by a more powerful pro-nuclear UN body, the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"I believe our study was censored and suppressed by
the WHO because they didnft like its conclusions. Previous experience suggests
that WHO officials were bowing to pressure from the IAEA, whose remit is to promote
nuclear power," he said. "That is more than unfortunate, as publishing
the study would have helped forewarn the authorities of the risks of using DU
weapons in Iraq."
These allegations, however, are dismissed as "totally unfounded "by
WHO. "The IAEA role was very minor," said Dr Mike Repacholi, the WHO
coordinator of radiation and environmental health in Geneva. "The article
was not approved for publication because parts of it did not reflect accurately
what a WHO-convened group of inter national experts considered the best science
in the area of depleted uranium," he added.
Baverstock's study, which has now been passed to the Sunday Herald, pointed out
that Iraq's arid climate meant that tiny particles of DU were likely to be blown
around and inhaled by civilians for years to come. It warned that, when inside
the body, their radiation and toxicity could trigger the growth of malignant tumours.
The study suggested that the low-level radiation from DU could harm cells adjacent
to those that are directly irradiated, a phenomenon known as "the bystander
effect". This undermines the stability of the body's genetic system, and
is thought by many scientists to be linked to cancers and possibly other illnesses.
In addition, the DU in Iraq, like that used in the Balkan conflict, could turn
out to be contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive waste . That would
make it more radioactive and hence more dangerous, Baverstock argued.
"The radiation and the chemical toxicity of DU could also act together to
create a 'cocktail effect' that further increases the risk of cancer. These are
all worrying possibilities that urgently require more investigation," he
Baverstock's anxiety about the health effects of DU in Iraq is shared by Pekka
Haavisto, the chairman of the UN Environment Programme's Post-Conflict Assessment
Unit in Geneva. "It is certainly a concern in Iraq, there is no doubt about
that," he said.
UNEP, which surveyed DU contamination in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002, is keen
to get into Iraq to monitor the situation as soon as possible. It has been told
by the British government that about 1.9 tonnes of DU was fired from tanks around
Basra, but has no information from US forces, which are bound to have used a lot
Haavisto's greatest worry is when buildings hit by DU shells have been repaired
and reoccupied without having been properly cleaned up. Photographic evidence
suggests that this is exactly what has happened to the ministry of planning building
He also highlighted evidence that DU from weapons had been collected and recycled
as scrap in Iraq. "It could end up in a fork or a knife," he warned.
"It is ridiculous to leave the material lying around and not to clear it
up where adults are working and children are playing. If DU is not taken care
of, instead of decreasing the risk you are increasing it. It is absolutely wrong."
2) Why was the UK Ministry of Defence's DUOB website off-line
after receiving the request through DU-Watch?
Traprock Peace Center website:
Archives of the Depleted Uranium Oversight Board (DUOB) website
March 7, 2004: We noticed that the UK Ministry of Defence's DUOB website was off-line
after receiving the following request through DU-Watch.
March 6: Traprock could do a service none other is willing:
web publish the DUOB minutes where it references NDU contamination of OIF UK troops
(Sept minutes, page 12 and 13); and, include the Congressional report implying
DU in bunker busters
[we're working on this latter request.]
We discovered then that the DUOB site - http://www.duob.org.uk
- was unavailable. Today, it remains unavailable. The minutes of these meetings
are particularly noteworthy.
The existence of the DUOB website - with its minutes on line - has been announced
or confirmed by the British government at various times. For example, on 10 June
2003, there was this question and answer in Parliament:
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement
on the status of the Ministry of Defence's Depleted Uranium Oversight Board; what
its membership is; who they are representing; and if he will place in the Library
recent deliberations and statements made by the Board.
Dr. Moonie: I am placing a copy of the Depleted Uranium Oversight Board (DUOB)
Terms of Reference and the current membership list in the Library of the House.
Additionally, all deliberations and decisions made by the board are contained
in the minutes of DUOB meetings which are publicly available on the internet at
For the convenience of researchers, we have saved cached versions of the various
DUOB pages (the home page, summary, terms of reference, membership cv's, and minutes
(we were not able to retrieve Minutes of 11th Meeting, 1 Jul 2003 (Adobe PDF,
50 Kb) or Minutes for the 14th Meeting, 27 Jan 2004 (Adobe PDF, 217 Kb)
[news mail 10 MAR 04 ]
"The Way of Changing the World"
Midori at the 'Children of the Gulf War' photo exhibition UK tour writing.
Here is a story titled 'Against All Odds' written by Adam Hochschild, which describe
the "first great human-rights campaign in history" at 18th century in Britain.
Is a person considering the other person's human-right as his/her own, even if
he/she is a very busy person? If you work hard till late, study hard everyday
or look after some little children, can you do it?
I believe you answer 'Yes, of course' after read this story.
It is quite long. But it has a great worth to read.
With love and peace,
Against All Odds
By Adam Hochschild
January/February 2004 Issue
Mother Jones Magazine
The first great human-rights campaign -- the movement to end slavery in the British
Empire -- had no business succeeding. But the legacy of its extraordinary achievement
lives on today.
Against All Odds / contents
"A Fire of Indignation Kindling Within Me"
"Success to the Trade"
The Blood-sweetened Beverage
The First Political Book Tour
The Movement Deflected
"My Children Shall Be Free"
Changing the World
Strangely, in a city where it seems that on every block a blue-and-white glazed
plaque commemorates a famous event or resident, none marks this spot. All you
can see today, after you leave the Bank station of the London underground, walk
a block or two east, and then take a few steps into a courtyard, is a couple of
low, nondescript office buildings, an ancient pub, and, on the site itself, 2
George Yard, a glass-and-steel high-rise. Nothing remains of the bookstore and
printing shop that once stood here, or recalls the late afternoon in 1787 when
a dozen people-a somber-looking crew, one man in clerical black and most of the
others not removing their high-crowned blade hats-filed through its doors and
sat down to launch one of the most far-reaching citizens' movements of all time.
Cities build monuments to kings and generals, not to people who once gathered
in a bookstore. And yet what these particular citizens did was felt across the
world-winning the admiration of the first and greatest student of what today we
call civil society. What they accomplished, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, was "something
absolutely without precedent in history.... If you pore over the histories of
all peoples, I doubt that you will find anything more extraordinary."
To fully grasp how momentous was what began at 2 George Yard, picture the world
as it existed in 1787. Well over three-quarters of the people on earth are in
bondage of one land or another. In parts of the Americas, slaves far outnumber
free people. African slaves are also scattered widely through much of the Islamic
world. Slavery is routine in most of Africa itself. In India and other parts of
Asia, some people are outright slaves, others in debt bondage that ties them to
a particular landlord as harshly as any slave to a Southern plantation owner.
In Russia the majority of the population are serfs. Nowhere is slavery more firmly
rooted than in Britain's overseas empire, where some half-million slaves are being
systematically worked to an early death growing West Indian sugar. Caribbean slave-plantation
fortunes underlie many a powerful dynasty, from the ancestors of Elizabeth Barrett
Browning to the family of the fabulously wealthy William Beckford, lord mayor
of London, who hired Mozart to give his son piano lessons. One of the most prosperous
sugar plantations on Barbados is owned by the Church of England. Furthermore,
Britain's ships dominate the slave trade, delivering tens of thousands of chained
captives each year to French, Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies as well
as to its own.
If you had proposed, in the London of early 1787, to change all of this, nine
out of ten people would have laughed you off as a crackpot. The 10th might have
admitted that slavery was unpleasant but said that to end it would wreck the British
Empire's economy. It would be as if, today, you maintained that the automobile
must go. One in ten listeners might agree that the world would be better off if
we traveled instead by foot, bicycle, electric train, or trolley, but are you
suggesting a political movement to ban cars? Come on, be serious! Looking back,
however, what is even more surprising than slavery's scope is how swiftly it died.
By the end of the 19th century, slavery was, at least on paper, outlawed almost
everywhere. Every American schoolchild learns about the Underground Railroad and
the Emancipation Proclamation. But our self-centered textbooks often skip over
the fact that in the superpower of the time slavery ended a full quarter-century
earlier. For more than two decades before the Civil War, the holiday celebrated
most fervently by free blacks in the American North was not July 4 (when they
were at risk of attack from drunken white mobs) but August 1, Emancipation Day
in the British Empire.
On March 18, 1783, the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser carried a short
letter to the editor about a case being heard in a London courtroom. The item
caught the eye of a former slave living in England, Olaudah Equiano. Horrified,
he ran immediately to see an Englishman he knew, Granville Sharp, an eccentric
pamphleteer and known opponent of slavery. Sharp recorded in his diary that Equiano
"called on me, with an account of one hundred and thirty Negroes being thrown
alive into the sea."
Months earlier, under Captain Luke Collingwood, the ship Zong had sailed from
Africa for Jamaica with some 440 slaves, many of whom had already been on board
for weeks. Head winds, spells of calm, and bad navigation (Collingwood mistook
Jamaica for another island and sailed right past it) stretched the transatlantic
voyage to twice the usual length. Packed tightly into a vessel of only 107 tons,
slaves began to sicken. Collingwood was worried, for a competent captain was expected
to deliver his cargo in reasonable health, and, of course, dead or dying slaves
brought no profits. There was a way out, however. If Collingwood could claim that
slaves had died for reasons totally beyond his control, insurance-at 30 per
slave-would cover the loss.
Collingwood ordered his officers to throw the sickest slaves into the ocean. If
ever questioned, he told them, they were to say that due to the unfavorable winds,
the ship's water supply was running out. If water had been running out, these
murders would be accepted under the principle of "jettison" in maritime law: A
captain had a right to throw some cargo-in this case, slaves-overboard to save
the remainder. In all, 133 slaves were "jettisoned" in several batches; the last
group started to fight back and 26 of them were tossed over the side with their
arms still shackled.
When the Zong's owners later filed an insurance claim for the value of the dead
slaves, it equaled more than half a million dollars in today's money, and the
insurance company disputed the claim. The moment Equiano showed him the newspaper
article, Granville Sharp leaped into action. He hired lawyers, went to court,
and personally interviewed at least one member of the ship's crew and a passenger.
But the shocking thing about the Zong case-as much to Equiano and Sharp then as
to us now-is that after more than a hundred human beings had been flung to their
deaths, this was not a homicide trial. It was a civil insurance dispute.
Sharp tried and failed to get the Zong's owners prosecuted for murder. But he
fired off a passionate salvo of outraged letters about the case to everyone he
could think of. One letter apparently reached a prominent clergyman, who, the
following year, became vice chancellor-the equivalent of an American university's
president-of Cambridge. Disturbed by what he had heard, he put to use one of the
most powerful tools at his command: He made the morality of slavery the subject
of the annual Cambridge Latin essay contest.
Latin and Greek competitions were a centerpiece of British university life. To
win a major one was like winning a Rhodes scholarship or the Heisman trophy today;
the honor would be bracketed with your name for a lifetime. One entrant in the
Latin contest was a 25-year-old divinity student named Thomas Clarkson. He had
no previous interest in slavery whatever, he later wrote, but only "the wish of...obtaining
literary honour." Unexpectedly, however, as he read everything he could find,
studied the papers of a slave trader who had recently died, and interviewed officers
who had seen slavery firsthand in the Americas, Clarkson found himself overcome:
"In the day-time I was uneasy. In the night I had little rest. I sometimes never
closed my eye-lids for grief.... I always slept with a candle in my room, that
I might rise out of bed and put down such thoughts as might occur to me...conceiving
that no arguments...should be lost in so great a cause."
He won first prize. When it was awarded in June 1785, Clarkson read his essay
aloud in Latin to an audience in Cambridge's elegant Senate House; then, his studies
finished, already wearing the black garb of a deacon, he headed off toward London
and a promising church career. But he found, to his surprise, that it was slavery
itself that "wholly engrossed my thoughts.... Coming in sight of Wades Mill in
Hertfordshire, I sat down disconsolate on the turf by the roadside and held my
horse. Here a thought came into my mind, that if the contents of the Essay were
true, it was time some person should see these calamities to their end."
To read more about articles below:
"A Fire of Indignation Kindling Within Me"
"Success to the Trade"
The Blood-sweetened Beverage
The First Political Book Tour
The Movement Deflected
"My Children Shall Be Free"
Changing the World
[news mail 22 Jan 04 ]
"The Two Brother Sparrows in Waqland : a fable"
Midori at the 'Children of the Gulf War' photo exhibition UK tour writing.
You might be heard the news Japanese government sent their troops to Iraq for
helping the occupation by the US and the UK. More than half of Japanese people,
I am one of them, against it.
Here is a fable titled gThe Two Brother Sparrows in Waqlandh written by a Japanese
young blogger DoX who is a younger brother of a soldier of our SDF (Self-Defense-Force).
His brother might be send to Iraq next month or later this year. One of my friends
who called Nofrills translated it in English.
Please read it; will be sharing with your younger friends or children. It is little
bit long but is easy to understanding by little one. It has written like a fairy
tale but itfs a true story.
My son, he will be eight years old next month said just after hearing this story,
'It has not its the ending. I want to know the story after his brother sending
to Crescentia, what has happen there.' I don't have any answer to him. I wish
the story after it will be happy and peaceful.
You can read some note by translator it has not shown on this email, and also
be able to write down your opinion on its message board at the below;
NOTE : I'm looking for the person who can translate this story from English to
in Arabic. The author wishes sending his message to the ordinary Iraqi people.
Please contact me.
Please spread widely!
With love and peace,
PREFACE (By Nofrills / Translator)
This story was written by a Japanese whose brother is in the SDF (Self-Defense
Force) and will be sent to Iraq by the government. In the story, Oto-to's brother,
Ni-san, might be sent to Crescentia as a soldier next month.
The author, with an online-pseudonym DoX, has been blogging since November 2003.
His words shocked me, because it was the first "real" voice for me, though I had
heard on TV some SDF men say, "I'll go if it's an order," or "That's my job."
When I first read his blog, I was too shocked to say a word... to type a letter.
I felt so sorry for not having been really interested.
At first, DoX's blog were full of harsh words against the government and its supporters.
But in time, as more people read his blog and wrote supportive comments, his words
became mild. It was then I clearly saw the author's warmheartedness.
In 11th December, he wrote, "Who becomes a 'terrorist'?" He says his hatred against
Japanese politicians was getting uncontrollable and he felt as if he was becoming
a 'terrorist.' (Please note that Japanese press far too often use the word 'terrorism/terrorist.'
For them, a 'suicide bombing' is a 'suicide terrorism,' etc.) He thought of the
pictures in Afghanistan and Iraq, bombed, destroyed, injured and killed.
If someone in your family is dying in your arms and there's nothing you can do,
and if the one who ordered to kill is out of your reach, then, whom do you have
as the 'enemy'? It would be the soldiers you can see. What if the only solution
is to attack the 'enemy'? Is this 'terrorism'?
If my brother were to be killed, I would not hesitate to kill Koizumi. I hate
him this much. I think I am a 'would-be terrorist.' This is what they are doing
in Iraq - installing hatred to turn an ordinary person into a 'terrorist.'...
I only hope my brother will never ever kill the 'enemies' he doesn't hate!
On 16th December 2003, DoX wrote an entry titled "Something to ask the Iraq people."
On one website, he had read a letter from Iraq to Japan. The letter said, "We
do respect Japan. But the SDF must not come now. Now is not the time. Please don't
be our enemy."
In response to this letter from Iraq, I tried to write. But I have so many things
I want to say that I've got very confused. So I put them into a fable here...
This fable is the one translated below.
THE TWO BROTHER SPARROWS IN WAQLAND : A FABLE
originally written and copyrighted by Dox, Japan
translated by nofrills, Tokyo, Japan
One upon a time, there lived two brother sparrows in a place called Waqland. The
elder was named Ni-san, and the junior was Oto-to.
The two brother sparrows lived with their family - aged parents, and very old,
weak grand-parents. Ni-san had a lovely, cheerful wife and two little babies.
They were not wealthy but lived happily, because they were so closely tied together
and always helping each other.
It was Ni-san who supported the family. He was a soldier. Many years ago, when
his father fell ill and had to give up his job, he joined the military force.
One day, Ni-san sparrow was told he would be sent in his troop to a place called
Crescentia. The family had never thought of such a thing. Happy smiles were now
gone from these nine birds.
Waqland had their "peace rule" and had long avoided any single war. The government
had never sent troops to a foreign land. The soldiers' job was to guard their
land, not to fight in a war. No one had thought they would go abroad in his combat
But now, Waqland birds were changing their way as some big birds in Megaland were
"You've given money, but it's not enough to make you 'first-rate,'" they said
to the chief of Waqland. "Why don't you send troops to Crescentia? We want you
to help our boys in the area. It's for the world. Of course, you are aware of
the fact that you can live peacefully because we protect your land, aren't you?"
The Waqland chief nodded, "You are absolutely right. Money is not enough. This
time, we will send troops to make Waqland 'first-class.' It's also good for every
The chief seemed to have forgotten about the past at all: in the last war about
sixty years ago, Waqland lost thousands of soldiers, leaving hundreds of thousands
of fathers, mothers, wives and kids in deep sorrow. That was why they wished no
more wars and had the "peace rule." But the chief said, "Now, we have to work
for the world. We alone can't live in the peace."
Oto-to heard the sparrows talking about the chief's decision. To his disappointment,
no one around him talked against the chief. Oto-to just wanted them to know that
his brother had no other choice but going to Crescentia regardless of his own
will. But every one seemed to have stopped thinking. Some even cold-bloodedly
told Oto-to not to speak about his brother. "Because it's your brother's job!
He is paid for it!"
Sad and humiliated, Oto-to felt as if his heart were being torn. He wanted to
say, "Will you say so if it is your brother that would be sent as a soldier?"
but he was too discouraged to say a word.
"In Crescentia, what would they think of Ni-san? Maybe they hate him, or even
kill him," Oto-to said to himself and shook his head. Oto-to knew what the Megaland
birds were doing in Crescentia. He never thought it was a right thing to do. But
the Waqland troops were going to help the Megaland forces.
Oto-to stood up. He would visit the Lake. At the Lake, you can talk to the Land,
who knew everything. To the Lake, Oto-to went a long way in cold darkness, and
finally got there.
Oto-to bowed down and said, "Oh, please tell the chief to send me instead of my
brother! He has his wife and children. I have nothing to lose. So please, please
tell the chief - me, not my brother!"
Soon the Land replied, "I feel sorry for the soldier sparrows like your brother.
But you are not trained, are you? You have never touched a gun, have you? They
are trained, so they can work. That is why they go there, not you."
Oto-to cried, "But I can learn how to use a gun, I can take training!"
"I am very sorry, but there is nothing I can do for you," the Land continued.
"In the last war, thousands were killed in my name. So I have decided not to interfere
with the public decision."
Oto-to felt despaired. The Land talked to him gently, "My dear Oto-to, don't say
you have nothing to lose. You don't want to make your mom and dad sad, do you?
Now, go home, go back to where your family are waiting for you." The Land's voice
sounded very sweet.
Oto-to was feeling so down that he couldn't fly. As walking, he looked up at the
night sky and found the full moon shining broadly and brightly. He stopped. He
felt lonely, and made a loud, deep sigh at the moon.
Then, he heard so many sighs like his from everywhere around. He thought the sighs
might come from Crescentia. Or from many other families - who had a son, father
or husband be sent as a soldier. "There is nothing I can do," the Land's voice
He thought about Crescentia as he trudged. "Some Waqland sparrows recently visited
Crescentia to bring food and medicines. They say Crescentia partridges are having
a difficult time."
Indeed, Crescentia had long been suffering. No water supply. No electricity. Food
would easily go bad and cause stomach trouble.
Oto-to looked up at the sky again and imagined: Crescentia birds in a dark house
surrounded by armed foreign soldier birds. "I've heard some Megaland soldiers
were even taking their food away... And because of the horrible poisonous bombs
Megaland has dropped, they get sores on their skin. Tens of hundreds of young
and adult birds are dying every day." Oto-to was thinking about a picture he had
seen. The bombs hurt everyone - babies or adults. "Poor Crescentia partridges!"
he murmured. "I even heard sometimes the Megaland soldiers shoot baby birds by
"But," he went on thinking, "Are Megaland soldiers happy to do such things? I
don't think so. They are scared because they are hated. They are so scared of
being attacked that they shoot even if it is just a baby bird."
He had read a story about a Megaland soldier crying for shame and regret. "This
soldier is shaking," the author wrote, "saying, 'What a horrible thing I have
done!'" Also he had heard the poisonous bombs hurt Megaland soldiers, too. Some
of them had a baby after going back home, but very often the baby was very sick
"Look at what happened!" Oto-to almost shouted. "Look at what happened to those
birds! They used to be happy and promised! If there was no war, they should have
lived happily, either in Crescentia or in Megaland. Now, they hate each other,
pointing guns at each other! Who wanted this?"
Oto-to took a few steps before he thought of some faces. "The ones with no imagination.
The ones who do not even try to understand how it feels to be hurt or killed!"
He was quivering with rage.
No matter how angry he was, the chief's decision was Waqland's decision. Waqland
had decided to help Megaland. Oto-to was now miserable.
"Just to make Waqland 'first-class,' as the chief said, will Ni-san be hated in
Crescentia? If they hate Ni-san, he may hate them. My kind and gentle brother,
who has never hated others, might change."
Some voices echoed in his ears - "It's decided. There's no stop about it. It's
too late," "We must be protected by Megaland, and so we have to send troops."
"They talk without really thinking about it, without deeply minding the tragedy
caused," Oto-to cried, "Because it's not their brother or husband! They never
think this is their problem."
Oto-to dropped his head. Oto-to's tears kept dropping on to the ground.
Indeed, Waqland sparrows had been regarded as kind and gentle ones, sending food,
medicine, tools and engineers, not guns and troops. That had earned trust and
friendships, not hostility.
"But now, a Waqland sparrow might be hurt, or even killed, just because he is
from Waqland." Oto-to thought this was a shame.
Right after he got home, Oto-to took out a pen and paper from the drawer to write
to Waqland chief. He had heard Crescentia birds did not want guns and soldiers.
What they needed were tools and engineers to fix water pipes and power grid, and
many kinds of medicines.
Dear Chief of Waqland,
You are sending our troops to Crescentia. Please let them have things which are
really necessary for Crescentia partridges, not only the arms for self-defense.
Also, please supply the troops with loads of anti-poisons to prevent the effect
of Megaland's poisonous bombs. I'm hoping Waqland soldiers will look different
from Megaland soldiers in different combat uniform. ...
There he stopped writing. Oto-to remembered the grinning face of Waqland chief
standing next to Megaland chief. "The chief might not listen to me," he thought.
Actually, Oto-to had a suspicion. "The chief must be feeling as if he were playing
He hung his head in distress. "I really don't want anyone to hate or kill, and
to be hated, injured or killed! What can I do?"
Oto-to was trying really hard to find an answer. Then he remembered what his brother
had told him:
"We used to be so desperate to drive away the soldiers from our neighbour. But
we saw each other too often to be hostile. In the end, we felt as if we knew each
other very well. Actually, something really funny happened the other night, dear
brother." Ni-san sounded as if he was talking about a good old boy next door.
"When we went down to the border in our routine, one of them were there, as if
he had been waiting for us, and gave us a friendly smile. He said in his dialect,
'You are so late tonight! Why not think about us waiting in this cold weather?
Look at this dew.' We were astonished, really, but managed to reply, 'Sorry, we
are late because the road was so bad. It was frozen. We'll try to be, say, punctual
next time.' Do you know what he did next? He just went back away very happily."
Ni-san had even started learning their dialect secretly. "Maybe it's a good idea
to write about this to Waqland chief," Oto-to said to himself, and took the pen
again. But the next moment, he put it down.
Ni-san once said, "I'm not afraid of soldiers. A soldier is just watching and
guarding to protect his land, and it's the same here or there. It's the 'insane'
ones that I'm afraid of, who have lost imagination and sensibility. They won't
feel sorry when someone suffers or dies as long as they can live comfortably."
Saying this, Ni-san pulled a face.
"Not only the 'insane' ones," Oto-to said to himself. "Now in Waqland, ordinary
birds, too, don't think much. Everything is okay as long as they are comfortable.
They don't care whether a soldier is dead, injured or alive. My voice wouldn't
be heard... In a word, I have nothing to rely on!"
He was miserable again, but he went on thinking. After a while, one thought came
upon him. "The best way is to know each other, just like Ni-san did with 'the
neighbours.' But how?"
Oto-to took out another paper, thinking over and over, and began writing:
Dear Crescentia partridges,
How are you? I'm a Waqland sparrow.
Waqland is sending troops to Crescentia, and my brother will be one of them.
Waqland's soldiers, including my brother, have never expected they would be sent
abroad. Sixty years ago, when the last war was over, Waqland decided never to
send troops to other places again. The forces are to guard the land. That's what
the soldiers have been doing.
Let me explain first why my brother is in the in military service. He has to support
his family. You may not believe this, but my brother had no other choice, in a
'wealthy' land like Waqland, when he decided to become a soldier. Many other soldiers
too, I think, chose to join the military forces to solve money problems, not to
But now, things are changing. The chief of Waqland has decided to send troops
to your land. He says, "They are not going to fight a war but to help the Crescentia
I'm writing to him, "If our troops really go and help them, they should bring
things the Crescentia partridges desperately need now, such as medicines, rather
than guns and arms. We should not help spread the hatred." To tell the truth,
I'm suspicious about all the things the chief says. But I don't see anything else
I can do.
At the same time, here I'm writing to you. I've heard about what Megaland is doing
in your land, and I strongly believe they are doing something wrong. So I don't
want Waqland soldiers to help them.
I don't want our troops to go, but I don't seem to be able to stop them from being
sent. That's why I decided to write to you.
I don't want you to be killed or hurt, and I don't want them to kill or hurt.
So, now I'm begging you - please don't point guns at them.
Yes, it's true Waqland troops are armed and have guns. But the fact is, they have
never used guns against living things. If you aim a gun at them, they may shoot
someone by mistake. I don't want that to happen.
Waqland soldiers, with a red circle on their chest, may be carrying Megaland's
guns and arms, which can hurt you. But please let me explain why they are doing
it. I dare say it's like the Waqland soldiers' families and homelands are kept
as hostages by Megaland. The Waqland chief thinks we must be a 'faithful friend'
to Megaland, or we will be defenseless. There is no other choice but to help Megaland.
Please understand. Please forgive them for helping Megaland.
Back home, the soldiers are fathers, husbands and brothers of ordinary birds like
you. They never want to hate or be hated, to hurt or to be hurt, to kill or to
I believe we are on the earth to work together. Let the Waqland soldiers work
together with you to make them realise that those who are pointing their guns
at you are doing something wrong.
I wish I could go to Crescentia to help you, but I can't. I'm so sorry I know
nothing about water pipes, power grids or medicines.
If you know anyone who hates us and who wants to shoot us, please tell about my
letter to him or her.
I wish there will not be any attacks - against Crescentia birds, Waqland birds,
Megaland birds, no matter who are attacked, just out of hatred.
Not a single life deserves to be a victim.
Thank you for reading my letter. Thank you for listening to me.
I wish no one harm. I wish everyone's happiness.
from a Waqland sparrow
Oto-to read his letter over and over again before putting it in an envelope. "They
may think my words as selfish," he hesitated. "But this is all I can do."
Finally he decided to ask a crow to deliver his letter to Crescentia. The crow
was going to visit someone in Crescentia. "All right, my friend," said the crow
when Oto-to brought the envelope. "No problem. I will deliver your letter."
Oto-to wished again. "Oh, dear Megaland soldiers! Please don't shoot this crow!
Let him deliver my letter! I just want Crescentia partridges to understand Waqland,
so that there won't be hatred between Crescentia and Waqland."
Oto-to closed his eyes. His eyes were now red and swollen with crying. He made
another silent prayer, and fell asleep.
to main page