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The Afghan Tragedy Continues After 30 Years

May 16, 2009

By Abdul Malik Mujahid

According to the CIA World Factbook, an Afghan’s life expectancy is merely 44 years.

That’s 20 to 30 years less than neighboring Pakistan and all other surrounding countries. It is just one result of the ongoing devastation in that country.

The US and Pakistan’s Aerial Bombing Will Kill Civilians and Make More Terrorists

May 13, 2009

by Abdul Malik Mujahid

During the last thirty years of wars in Afghanistan, Afghan civilians have had one safe place to escape to: Pakistan.

They fled the Soviet invasion. They fled civil wars. They fled US bombing. Pakistan took care of millions of these Afghan refugees.

Now that safe haven with its lush green valleys is burning with bombs.

We, Too, Are Underdogs

May 11, 2009

AMMAN, Jordan - On the first Saturday in May, at Churchill Downs, the underdog, come-from-behind, runaway victory of Mine That Bird in the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby thrilled people across the world. Racehorse victories are attributed to team efforts: credit the jockey and the trainer for winning. And the trainer in this case - Bennie Woolley - was as much an underdog as Mine That Bird was a long shot, having never previously run a horse in a stakes race before Saturday.

Cathy Breen Writes From Amman - May 10th

in Damascus, Syria

May 10, 2009 Mountain of the SheikMountain of the Sheik

President Obama's War Budget: Analyzing the Numbers

May 4, 2009

Download PDF

President Obama’s 2009 supplemental spending request to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is currently before Congress. The House Appropriations Committee will “mark up” (finalize its version) of a war funding bill at a committee hearing on May 7th. The full House will likely vote on the bill the following week. The objective is to have the bill finalized and to Obama for signature by Memorial Day.

President Obama is seeking an additional $75.8 billion in war funds for this fiscal year. It is possible that Congress will add to this amount before final passage. If Congress enacts Obama’s request, total war spending will come to $144.6 billion for Fiscal Year 2009 (which ends on September 30, with Fiscal Year 2010 beginning on October 1). This compares to the $186 billion war spending in 2008. Obama’s proposed war budget for 2010 is $130 billion.

Cathy Breen Writes From Amman - May 7th

in Damascus, Syria

May 7, 2009 Hussein, Um Hamzah, Noor, Hamzah, Abu Hamzah, Ayah, Zeinah, MunaHussein, Um Hamzah, Noor, Hamzah, Abu Hamzah, Ayah, Zeinah, Muna

Cathy Breen Writes From Damascus- May 6th

in Damascus, Syria

May 6, 2009

Taken from window in bldg in neighborhood populated by Palestinians and IraqisTaken from window in bldg in neighborhood populated by Palestinians and Iraqis

This Is Not Old News

Amman, April 2009

Under a sky so light and remote it threatens to drift away
and abandon these homes,
we follow Abu Hassan wordlessly
up yet another shattered walk,
deeper into another anonymous neighborhood,
past feral cats who pick through garbage
and draw silently into shadows or behind walls,
waiting for us to pass.

This is where the invisible live,
the faceless and voiceless, the nameless.
People without papers.
People without a present or future.
The people with only a past.

Cathy Breen Writes From Amman - April 22nd

in Amman, Jordan

April 22, 2009

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Dear Friends,

Although it was no easy task, he managed to stay out of the Baath party throughout college, and afterward he did his military service as a low-rank soldier. I will call him Ali. His father built a house and the family grew. Seven children. Upon discharge from the army, the Baath party pursued him in earnest. They sought him out repeatedly in the neighborhood where he lived. One day it came to a showdown, and Ali was cornered in a market area and told that if he didn’t come willingly, he would be taken by force. Don’t you know, the Baath party officer asked, that you are nothing! We have the power to arrest you, to kill you? Ali shoved the officer and fled, hiding first with an uncle and then later in an abandoned warehouse. He saw only his brother who brought him food. His father and other family members sought in vain to negotiate, to even pay money, but the Baath party officials refused. And so it was that he fled to Jordan in 2002. He had 35JD (about $50.) in his pocket. He knew no one.

Cathy Breen Writes From Amman - April 21st

in Amman, Jordan

April 21, 2009

Dear Friends,

In a recent article in The Mercury News (4.18.09), Ken McLaughlin writes about Iraqi refugees struggling to make it in the U.S., specifically in the Silicon Valley. “They had hoped to quickly become self-sufficient, but they’re now looking for jobs in one of the worst economies in our lifetime. It is not what they expected.” The Mercury News has followed two Iraqi families since last summer, and their stories graphically illustrate the human cost of the ongoing suffering, trauma and consequences of the war. The article describes how ill equipped the US’s outdated and overtaxed refugee system is to restore a sense of dignity to Iraqis who have been out of work for years in Iraq’s neighboring countries.