Monday, May 21, 2007

Enough furthermores

Gilles d'Aymery reviews Hans von Sponeck's A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq. Has it received reviews elsewhere? It was published last year by Berghahn Books but I don't remember seeing the interviews and reviews it seems to demand.

The book outlines the impact of recent history of Iraq on its people from the point of view of the former UN Assistant Secretary General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq: Saddam's invasion of Iran, the invasion of Kuwait, the second Gulf War, the sanctions, then the Oil-for-Food Programme which was meant to alleviate the extreme suffering caused by the sanctions, but which, Sponeck reveals, meant that "the Iraqis were financing their own physical annihilation". It all becomes too much for d'Aymery and he departs from the usual sober review:
Enough “furthermores“... This is where anger truly sets in. Hans von Sponeck catalogues the state of the Iraqi people: Child malnutrition, child mortality, calories per capita, adult literacy, per capita income, primary and secondary school enrollment, daily per capita production of water, sanitation... each and every benchmark being so dramatically horrible that one cannot read those pages without a sense of disgust, outrage, and shame. Neither Sade nor Lautréamont nor Genghis Khan could have devised such barbarian policies that turned out to be real weapons of mass destruction ... of a people. We did this to our fellow human beings very deliberately, methodically, and callously. How could we have done so without an upheaval in our human construct?
We got Ian McEwan's Saturday didn't we?


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