Latest Update: 7 September 2012
As I’ve been going around sharing stories from my latest trip to Iraq – stories of grief, illness and loss of so many innocent lives – I’ve been aware that upon hearing these realities, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
I’ve watched people in my audiences weep, others are stunned into silence but always the same question is asked: what can we do?
I’ve been asking the same question since my first day in Fallujah and thinking a lot about it. My view is in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed, it’s necessary to break down the response into manageable, do-able pieces. For me that means:
a) share stories and information, raise awareness, document; b) provide some practical assistance to Fallujah hospital, c) address the bigger picture issue of the use of weapons containing depleted uranium and advocate for a total ban so what happened in Fallujah can not happen anywhere else.
I’m keeping busy sharing stories, and in relation to assisting Fallujah Hospital I am currently in discussion with Doctors on how best to support them. It may mean hosting two of them in Australian hospitals to receive specialist training in clinical genetics – I’ll keep you posted on that and how you can help.
In the meantime we can all get started on advocacy about the use of depleted uranium weapons. This is urgent – we need to action now as an important event is approaching!
In October the United Nations First Committee will consider a resolution calling for greater transparency on the use of depleted uranium weapons, requesting user nations to reveal where they have been used so affected communities are aware. At a similar vote held two years ago 148 nations voted in favour of this sensible resolution (as you would!), four countries voted against (US, Israel, UK and France) and Australia abstained. An abstention is ignoring our human rights obligations and so we need to change Australia’s vote to YES by October.
I hope you can help with lobbying on this issue any way you can. It would be great if you could write to Foreign Minister, Bob Carr and your local MP in the next few weeks about the UN First Committee vote. To help with your letter writing I will attach some documents to this email: the letter I wrote to Bob Carr which has plenty of technical info, the Australian Campaign to Ban Uranium Weapons flier, and another document with good facts and figures and a sample letter. So you can use the information in these documents to formulate your own letter. You can also research further information at the website http://www.bandepleteduranium.org
So let’s get to it! I’ll keep you posted on any online petitions and other resources.
For folks in Brisbane and Tasmania, I’ll be heading your way very soon for public talks, see details on the Events page.