group of 7 Golden Kids had been given an opportunity to go to Iraq on a special
mission. We were part of the delegation of the Malaysian Ministry of Health
comprising the Minister of Health, Datuk Chua Jui Meng, media, businessmen and
mission is to interact and to bring some joy to the Iraqi children who are
suffering as a result of the United Nation' s economic sanctions imposed 10
years ago. This visit is also to highlight the plight to all Malaysians and to
witness the situation in the country that was once the richest country in the
region but now left in destruction.
left Kuala Lumpur on a midnight flight to Jordan on 12th of March. We didn' t
fly straight into Iraq because it is a ' no-fly-zone' . We had to spend a night
in Jordan before leaving for Baghdad the next day by car. It took us ten to
eleven hours to reach Baghdad. Although it was quite tiring, but it was worth
the first day in Iraq, we visited the Karradat Maryam Orphanagae. The kids were
around the age of one to five. We were told that most of their parents died at a
young age. The mothers died during child birth and accidents or as indirect
result of the war.
orphans do not have many toys, books or entertainment like television or radio.
We brought them boxes of chocolates, toilettries and even ballons and it' s as
if we had brought rainbow of joy to them. We also visited the Saddam City
Hospital and Baghdad Children Hospital.
patients there were all under five. They were lacking in medicine, even basic
medication like antibiotics to cure the common cold and fever. We noticed that
there are no nurses in the hospitals. The patients are lacking attention and
care that they need, most of them are taken care by their mothers and relatives.
Statistics shows that 7,000 children die in Iraq monthly. When we were at one of
the hospitals, a baby died of leukemia and this baby is one of the 7000 children
that die every month. This poor baby suffered from leukemia.
also had the opportunity to visit their schools. The buildings are intact but
they do not have enough books and stationeries. They are also short of
classrooms, 40 to 50 students are cramped into one classroom and they even have
to share tables and chairs. There are a lot of dropouts in Baghdad, because they
think they are any use of studying. Clearly, there isn' t any future ahead of
also had the chance to visit Emiriyiah Bomb Shelter. On 13th February 1991, at 4
o' clock in the morning, 2 laser guided missiles were launched at this shelter
where there were hundreds of children sleeping soundly inside. The first bomb '
drilled' a hole on the
of five to six layers of steel and concrete, and it caused the doors to
automatically sealed. Now, there is absolutely no escape for the innocent
children. The second missile exploded a few minutes later and the hot water
pipes burst. Boiling water cascaded onto the occupants and causing the
temperature to rise up to 400 centigrate.
to the massive pressure and impact, the children who were sleeping on the top
bunk of the triple decker bed were pushed up against the ceiling and till today
leaving some of their foot and palm prints on the ceiling. 408 innocent victims
died, around 100 of them were children and only 14 miraculously survived. Till
this day, there are still skin and hair of the victims stuck onto the walls. The
pictures of those who were sacrified that were hung onto the walls looked as if
they are still calling out for help and their hope for peace and justice.
all those unfortunate sufferings, the children of Iraq are also having breakdown
in psychological development. They will grow up to be very edgy and violent due
to the harsh environment they are living in. They also have very minimal
exposure and are unaware of the happenings around the world.
much longer do they have to suffer? They do not deserve to be punished by the
crime they did not commit. I feel that it' s time that someone to do something
to stop this! I hope that we can educate our audience, the young generation of
Malaysia about the suffering in Iraq and how we have to be grateful to be living
in a country with such stability and peace.