I hope it's okay for me to be the video blogger.
I really love this video. There's a little girl in it who is just so cute and there's a young boy who is talking with Angelina and she says next time she visits he can build something. The kids are really sweet and they just shine.
And their lives are not easy. You'll see a little girl who needs medical help (her parents have her X-rays and show them). And all these children are living in a place where bombs go off all the time.
They're playing in a park and BOOM. It's a bomb left by someone or maybe one of our cluster bombs that was never cleared (and most of the cluster bombs that we and other nations have dropped on Iraq remain there). They can be walking in a field and a bomb goes off.
And they're having to grow up in this. For some of them, it seems normal because they are so very young and the country has seen a war for over six years now.
I really admire Angelina Jolie for going. And I think she looks very special in the videos. She's lovely in make up and posing for her pictures on the cover of magazines but she's really beautiful interacting with the Iraqi kids as she wears a baseball cap and little to no makeup.
She proves that it's what we do with our lives that makes us beautiful.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Amnesty International has written directly to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about recent developments relating to the more than 3,000 Iranian exiles currently living in Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, who Iraqi officials have said should leave the country. The Iranians are members or supporters of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI).
In particular, Amnesty International expressed concern at a recent statement reportedly made in an interview with al-Forat, an Iraqi TV channel, by National Security Advisor Dr Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, in which he said that the authorities intend gradually to make the continued presence of the Camp Ashraf residents "intolerable". Shortly after this, possibly in a related development, a team of medical doctors were denied access to the Camp for several days. One purpose of their visit was reportedly to provide treatment to a woman in the Camp in need of surgery for an internal cancerous tumour. The doctors were later allowed into the camp.
In its letter, Amnesty International urged the Iraqi Prime Minister to ensure that no action is taken by the Iraqi authorities that violates the human rights of the Camp Ashraf residents and to clarify the government's intentions towards them in the light of Dr al-Rubaie's reported threat to make their lives "intolerable." Amnesty International has previously called on the Iraqi government to ensure that none of the Camp Ashraf residents or other Iranian dissidents are forcibly returned to Iran in view of fears that they would be at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations there.
The PMOI is an Iranian opposition organization and many of its members have been resident in Iraq for many years. Until recently the organization was listed as a "terrorist" organization by the European Union (EU) and governments of non-EU states, but in most cases this designation has now been lifted on the grounds that the PMOI no longer advocates or engages in armed opposition to the government of Iran. Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003 the US forces provided protection for the Ashraf Camp residents, who were designated as "protected persons" under the Geneva Conventions. This situation has apparently been discontinued following the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the US and Iraqi governments which came into force on 1 January 2009, although the SOFA does not make any reference to Camp Ashraf or its residents. The Iranian government is said to be putting pressure on Iraq to expel the PMOI members and supporters from Iraq.
Today, after all the pain and sacrifices we have endured for six years, this freedom is threatened again.
After the Saddam Hussein regime fell, thousands of book and dozens of newspapers that had been banned, censored or not permitted to be printed were suddenly free to publish.
the new york times
alissa j. rubin