A community advocacy newspaper for northern New Mexico
Box 6 El Valle Route, Chamisal, NM 87521
Book Review: Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water By Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke Reviewed by Tamara Teale
Book Review: The River in Winter By Stanley Crawford Reviewed by Mark Schiller
Debating Wildfire Issues By John Gerritsma: Applegate Coordinator, Medford District BLM/Rogue River National Forest
2003 Wild Fire Road Show: A Visit with the Applegate Partnership By Kay Matthews and Mark Schiller
By Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke
Reviewed by Tamara Teale, adjunct instructor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
The book Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water (The New Press, 2002) is a must read for anyone living among the acequias of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. At first glance, it seems that acequia parciantes have nothing to fear from the water theft practices authors Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke write about: Unlike Michigan, New Mexico is not a water-rich area mined by global export giants such as the Perrier Group of America, and the World Bank and Bechtel Corporation are not privatizing the public water utilities of Taos and Santa Fe as they did with Cochabamba, Bolivia. But the warning is clear: In 1998, the CEO of Enron Azurix declared that she "would not rest until all the world's water had been privatized." Though Enron might be out of the game, other multinationals are already engaged in global water mining: Vivendi International and Suez in France, American Water Works Company, Coca-Cola's Dasani, and PepsiCo's Aquafina.
These transnational corporations are part of a water market with such intricate connections that the detective work of Barlow and Clarke is indeed astounding. They offer ample evidence that "mega-canal" proposals like the North American Water and Power Alliance, mammoth dams such as China's Three Gorges project, and "transoceanic bulk fresh water transport" systems will disrupt ecosystems globally.
Though our planet is drying out, and human population has risen exponentially, these two factors are not the main reason behind the developing global water market. "Citizens of the most privileged countries simply take water for granted or are able to buy it," Barlow and Clarke point out, and "their lifestyles - SUVs, lawns, and golf courses" are a leading factor in "consumption disparity" between rural and urban areas, the rich and the poor. The authors foretell a global catastrophe brought on by this "water-depleting consumerism" and "rampant unsustainable industrial use" in First World nations - and we should add that this unequal water consumption exists in Third World pockets within the First World, such as northern New Mexico.
On the bright side, so-called Third Worlders - and "Fourth World" indigenous peoples - are in a position to provide leadership. The facts show that organizing at the local level is the only way non-industrialized peoples can draw attention to the water abuse: "The increasingly globalized nature of the water industry and the market itself," Barlow and Clarke claim, "require that community-based campaigns [to retain control of their water] take on international dimensions, in order to be effective in the long run." Since global water cartels will not guarantee water to all, and certainly not to the poor and rural, organization of "water commons" and water "stewardship" is now necessary. The process of linking local groups in international alliances has already begun: In July 2001, British Columbia, Canada, hosted the first assembly of water activists, locals, and experts free from the control of any government, the UN, or the World Bank. The final chapter of Blue Gold documents the efforts of "ordinary" people trying to take control of water resources, and the work of model corporations and industries that have cut consumption.
Whether or not there is hope amid the doom, one question remains: Where do acequias fit into the picture, if as Barlow and Clarke note, "inefficient irrigation systems" such as "canals" ought to be replaced by "drip systems"? If only "one percent of the world's irrigated lands now use drip technology," the answer may be a long way off.
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The Mining and Minerals Division (MMD) of the state of New Mexico has scheduled a public hearing on the amended permit application by Oglebay Norton for operation of its mica mine on US Hill. This application amends the 2002 application. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 6, at 6:00 pm at the Peñasco High School Gymnasium. The application is available for review at the MMD (Piñon Building 3rd floor, 1220 South St. Francis Drive) offices in Santa Fe. If you have any questions please call Stephen Lucero at 476-3434. You may also call Picuris Tribal Governor Gerald Nailor's office at 587-2519.
By Stanley Crawford
Reviewed by Mark Schiller
For those of us who live in the rural communities of northern New Mexico and try to keep them viable in a world that's growing increasingly hostile to their values, Stan Crawford is a tribal elder. By that I don't mean it's time to consign him to the spring ice flow, but rather that he's spent many years closely observing the interplay of land, water, people, animals, plants, and institutions upon which the culture and economy of El Norte is based and brings an incisive and straightforward intelligence to his writings about this place from which the rest of us draw insight and inspiration.
In his two previous non-fiction books, Mayordomo and A Garlic Testament, Crawford described the routines and vagaries of being a small scale farmer, from allocating the irrigation water to bringing his crops to market, with wit and eloquence. Like Thoreau, he passionately believes in the virtue of living simply by the labor of his own hands and has little tolerance for people who, in Thoreau's words, "are so occupied with the factitious cares . . . of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them." In one brilliant section of A Garlic Testament, for example, Crawford gives his response to a question he's asked endlessly at the Farmers' Market: "Is your stuff organic?" After responding in detail about his own attempts to be "organic" he asks the questioner: "What about your life? Is it organically lived? . . . And if I may ask, what about the money you would offer to pay me with? Is it organically earned? In short, how have you managed to solve these problems in your life? Have you actually figured out how to live a clean life in a dirty age?"
Now, in his new book of essays, The River In Winter: New And Selected Essays (University of New Mexico Press), Crawford brings that same reserved and sardonic voice to bear on subjects ranging from the micro to the macro. In one essay he describes the mud floor he and wife Rose Mary poured in their living room in 1971: "The history inscribed in the surface of our mud floor is a version of the history of the house we built with our own hands and our lives in it since 1971. I re-read it often in tiny granular episodes, during moments of rest, staring into space, daydreaming and in those pauses between the major domestic events of the day." In others, he discusses the problems globalization poses for northern New Mexico: "Northern New Mexico is as good a place as anywhere to look at the pathological effects of economic development: degraded rivers and streams, clearcut forests, stripmined mountains, an excess of wealth concentrated in Santa Fe and Los Alamos, cheek to jowl with some of the poorest counties in the nation, indigenous cultures pushed into maginalization, and a military death machine at the heart of it all."
And it is precisely this dichotomy between the local and the global, the rural and the urban, on which Crawford focuses much of his attention. In the final essay, "How To Get Rightside Up Again", after a dinner party conversation during which he feels he inadequately responded to his host's question of what he would like to see happen in the future regarding small farming and acequias, Crawford has a 4 am epiphany: "The world is upside down . . . so turn it rightside up. Upside down? In agriculture, large corporate producers can outprice small producers because they don't have to factor in the costs of pollution, soil loss, health effects of pesticides and herbicides and nitrated-up groundwater, fossil fuels depletions, full benefits for farm laborers, and the withering away of village and small town infrastructures . . . . Agriculture is our greatest source of pollution. When such costs are finally paid for by the producers and no longer by the taxpayer, then the cost of agribusiness-produced food will reflect the realities of monstrous feedlots, manure lagoons, and a billion pounds a year of herbicides and pesticides spread across the land. And then, rightside up, guess what: organic crops produced by small farms will not only be cheaper than agribusiness food, but organic products will be, as they have always been, better tasting, more nutritious, and healthier for everybody who has anything to do with them up and down the food chain. Take away all those subsidies that agribusiness has been destroying the world with and give them to small organic producers who are doing things the right way and then you will see your small farmer outbidding developers for farmland and water rights . . . and pushing city limits back to where they belong. Presto, everything is rightside up again." Crawford goes on to say, as many people now believe, that "increasingly acute environmental crises" will inevitably bring this issue to a head. He shares a belief with Wendell Berry, among others, that the most effective way to fight the oppression and excesses of globalization is by working regionally to revitalize local economies and preserve traditional knowledge.
In other essays Crawford speaks about the dynamics of rural communities with a depth of insight that made me shudder: "Sometimes I think that the power of this thing, the collective novel of the village in which I play the part of a character I can never know and a contributor whose words I immediately lose control of, explains everything that seems to go wrong in a small place: the self-inflicted wounds, the scapegoating and witch-hunting, the stifling of initiative, the inability to cooperate in a positive way." Or again: "The village teaches you the hard lesson that you have to die, and the village funeral is where you cannot escape your fate. It is where you will hear the official truths called out from the pulpit or the graveside." And then by contrast: "Perhaps one of the reasons people leave villages all over the world is that they want to live in places where the lesson is not so relentlessly taught. Suburbs are places without graveyards, without necropolises. They zone out the dead. Like garbage and sewage, the dead are ferried away to special ghettos elsewhere - or anywhere." And finally: "I know our side of the little valley and all the people who live there so well I sometimes wish I could forget about it all. Sometimes it seems like a curse, a burden, this great stone that weighs down my life - but most of the time I know better, that this place is me, it is my life, it is what will make meaning out of my short existence, and whenever I go somewhere else it is almost all I can think of and talk about and is the only place I can dream of returning to."
With his reverence for the natural world, his political insight, his wit and his humanity, Crawford's writing is reminiscent of Thoreau, but in no sense derivative. He's an original: northern New Mexico's "cranky farmer" and in these bleak times, God knows, we need him. In the only essay in the book that's actually a book review he summarizes his feeling about the book under consideration with a statement that could apply equally to The River In Winter: ". . . for anyone attempting to imagine into existence a better future than the one officially mapped out for the globe, [this book] is an essential text."
By John Gerritsma: Applegate Coordinator, Medford District BLM/Rogue River National Forest
Reprinted with permission from the Applegator, March 1, 2003
Logging causes fires. Logging prevents fires. Roads result in more fires. Roads are needed to fight fires and reduce fire threats in the forest. Only small trees need to be thinned. Larger trees need to be thinned. To protect homes, thin around homes and the forest. To protect homes, thin only around homes. Prescribed fire can be used without thinning first. Thinning is needed first before fire can be used. Catastrophic fires are natural. Catastrophic fires are not natural. Politicians point fingers. The Forest Service Chief blames environmentalists. Environmentalists blame the Forest Service. Confused? Well, you ought to be!
It's all about context, and context is twisted for the benefit of attaining agendas. There is truth in each of the apparent conflicting statements. Here are some of the more common conflicting statements regarding the causes and solutions of our forest health/wildfire situation.
First, let's understand some basic terms. Risk is a relative measure of whether or not a fire will start. Reducing risk is lowering the chance a fire will start. Reducing fire intensity is lowering the amount of heat/flame height a fire will produce, NOT whether a fire will start. Catastrophic, stand replacement, and crown fire are often used interchangeably to mean all trees in a burn area have been killed. The term catastrophic may also mean human life and/or property is being affected. Catastrophic denotes a range of human values, depending on one's view and understanding of the effects of wildfire. Stand replacement and crown fire are merely points of fact, that all trees in the burn area have been killed.
Logging is the process by which trees are removed from the forest for the purpose of making wood products. Thinning is a term that simply describes a kind of tree cutting - the reduction of the number of stems in a stand of trees for the purpose of allowing the remainder to grow larger and healthier (much like a gardener thins a row of newly sprouted carrots). Consequently, thinned trees may be logged, and logged trees may be the result of thinning. The confusion arises when the term logging is used to describe the cutting of large trees, and thinning is used to mean the cutting of small trees or brush that has no value as a board or 2x4.
Logging Increases/Reduces Fire Intensity. Scientific studies confirm these facts - logging may increase fire intensity IF the term "logging" implies cutting large trees in favor of smaller ones. Logging may also increase fire intensity when logging debris (slash) is left behind untreated. These studies generally reflect conditions from the 1980s, when large trees frequently meant the cutting of old growth trees. IF logging projects retain larger, fire resistant trees, and remove or treat logging debris, than these scientific studies DO NOT APPLY.
The last few years have provided dozens of examples of thinned areas followed by slash treatment and/or prescribed fire that have survived approaching crown fires (most recently Squires Peak Fire, Hayman Fire [Colorado], Rodeo-Chediski and Pumpkin Fires [Arizona]. Exceptions (even on the Squires Peak Fire) do occur, and are not all that rare. Generally, though, thinning reduces fire intensity. Context is so important here. Trees of all sizes are killed in crown fire situations, including large, old growth trees. The amount of ground fuel, ladder fuel, and crown spacing along with topography, weather, and fuel moisture conspire to determine a fire's intensity and ability to become a stand-replacing event.
Opening the forest canopy has also been shown to increase wind speed and to reduce humidity at the forest floor, thus providing increasing fire intensity. For some species this is a problem, for others, a natural condition. For example, Ponderosa pine stands have adapted with open forest canopies, and are LESS prone to stand replacement fire when the forest canopy is open. But even for species not adapted to drier forest floors, experts (studying the Sierra Nevada Range) say the reduction of dead and live fuels on the forest floor and some reduction of the forest canopy outweigh the negative effects of drying out the forest floor.
Small/Large Tree Thinning. You start your campfire or woodstove fire with kindling, small wood with a high surface to volume ratio. Once the fire is going, you add large wood to generate the heat and longevity of the burn. In the forest, the small wood, needles, leaves, and vegetation provide part of the mechanism for fires to move fast. This small material may be present on the forest floor as fallen tree limbs, needle and leaf litter, and brush. Above ground, this small fuel is found in the needles and leaves of trees and taller brush. The amount of alteration in these fuels (removed or thinned) affects a wildfire's speed and ability to move into the tree crowns. This may require the removal of a 2 inch diameter tree or one that is 16 inches.
"Large" is a relative term. There is no magic size at which a tree suddenly withstands wildfire. Many "large" trees succumb during a wildfire. More importantly, timber sales are often a collection of reasons why trees are cut. Trees cut for fuels reduction are bundled with trees cut for other reasons. This leads to absurd associations by some people of very large trees being cut for fuels reduction.
Roads Cause/Prevent Fires. Roads increase fire risk (of fires started by humans) simply because people can access the area. Limiting access (by having fewer roads) reduces human potential for starting fires. Fire suppression forces use roads to access fires (both lightning and human caused). Roads are often used as firelines. The simple presence of roads is not a factor for or against the spread of a fire. Both the availability of fire fighting resources and the fire behavior determines whether a road is an effective barrier for stopping a fire. Obviously, when a road does not exist, one cannot use a road for a fireline.
When multiple fires start . . . the lowest priority fires are generally those where access is difficult and where communities are not threatened (i.e., Biscuit Fire). Poor access can cause fires to grow large, as can fuel and weather conditions. Well-roaded areas may also cause a fire to become large, as topography, past management, fuel and weather conditions may influence fire behavior (Rodeo-Chediski Fire). The fact that most fires occur in well-roaded areas is simply because MOST of our forest lands are well-roaded. Wilderness, roadless and other poorly accessible areas contain disproportionate landscapes that are unroaded and least susceptible to large wildfires (barren, rugged landscapes; high elevation, short season species, etc. whose stand replacement fire regimes range from once every 300-500 years).
Protecting Homes. The most quoted study in the last few years is forest researcher Jack Cohen's work on why homes are lost to wildfire. His study showed that only a few hundred feet of clearing flammables around a home will usually protect a home from the flaming fire front. Some use this study to define the urban interface, and demonstrate we do not need to thin (log) forests very far from homes. What is totally misunderstood and neglected are Cohen's statements that such thinning does not account for flying embers (often up to a mile in front of the flaming front), nor for other values besides homes (vistas, community watershed, powerlines, threatened and endangered plant and animal habitats).
Homes themselves are boxes of standing fuel. If 100-200 feet are needed for clearing, how does one clear out one's neighboring house? This situation was aptly demonstrated in New Mexico in 2000 (Cerro Grande Fire in Los Alamos). Rows of homes were burned simply because one house caught fire and exposed the next, and so forth. That is why one side of a street will burn while the other side remains intact. Only protecting homes does nothing to address the other values in the forest. Alternately, thinning miles away from homes does little for direct protection of structures. Cohen has stated that economic and social studies need to be undertaken to see if his approach is the most economical and socially acceptable.
Thin First or Burn First. When folks burn piled forest debris around their homes, they are often surprised at the amount of heat and flame. It is said that "controlled" fire is but a heartbeat away from a wildfire. Prescribed fire bosses will not, and should not, accept undue risks. To thin first or burn first depends on many site characteristics. There is no one solution that fits all. The body of science (including Sierra Nevada Framework and Columbia Basin Ecosystem Project) agrees that thinning is normally required before fire can safely be introduced.
National Fire Plan. Agencies have been criticized for spending National Fire Plan monies away from the urban interface. To authorize prescribed fire and/or thinning projects, agencies must comply with environmental laws, regulations and policies. It generally takes 2-4 years to bring a project concept to fruition. When the National Fire Plan was created in 2000, agencies only had "on the shelf" and "analysis in progress" projects, very few originally designed to fit the criteria of the National Fire Plan. Consequently, an inventory of projects just one year after the inception of the National Fire Plan is a very poor indicator of agency compliance with the Plan's intent.
The Applegate Community Fire Plan's melding of agency and community desires for priority treatment areas is an example of the planning horizon needed. Many projects coming out of this plan [copies available free from La Jicarita] will not be ready for implementation for another 2-4 years (that's 2004-06).
Appeals and Litigation. There are two primary viewpoints regarding solutions to the current forest health crisis. The noncommercial (Zero Cut) environmentalists believe only thinning very small trees (those that cannot yield lumber products) and prescribed burning is generally all that is needed for forest health restoration. Such projects were tracked by the Government Accounting Office and found less than one percent of such projects were challenged. Environmentalists appeal most, if not all, projects that do not fit the noncommercial/small tree description. Hence, they believe that the appeals and litigation have nothing to do with obstructing wildfire solutions.
Others believe that thinning for fire reduction includes the removal of some trees that have become established and grown, but would not have under normal fire regimes. Such trees have larger diameters (they have grown for 80-100 years) from which an array of lumber products can be produced. Such are the projects that are generally challenged via appeals and lawsuits. A Forest Service study showed over half of such projects are appealed and/or litigated. In the Applegate Adaptive Management Area, 100% of such projects have been appealed and/or litigated since 1998. Thus, the agencies believe the environmentalists ARE obstructing fire reduction efforts.
Natural vs. Unnatural. Fire is a natural process. Beyond that, there is disagreement over definition of "natural", the influence of American Indians, and the historical range of fire intensity and stand replacement fire within each of the forested ecosystems. Ecosystems in our area that are furthest removed from known historical fire return intervals are the lower elevation and drier forest sites (oak woodland, brush, ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir). Intuitively, the exclusion of fire should have the greatest impacts to these systems.
By Kay Matthews and Mark Schiller
Jack Shipley and J.D. Rogers of the Applegate Partnership in Oregon recently completed a whirlwind tour of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado to meet with individuals and groups working on natural resource issues. The common theme raised at all of those meetings was this: The Forest Service can't or won't do it's job. Despite millions of congressional dollars allocated for wildland/urban interface fire prevention and restoration thinning projects, the money simply isn't hitting the ground.
J.D. Rogers and Jack Shipley of the Applegate Partnership
The Applegate Partnership is a non-profit organization formed in November of 1992 in the 500,000-acre Applegate River Watershed in southwest Oregon and northwest California. The group has worked hard to set up a community-based partnership with industry, conservation groups, natural resource agencies, and rural residents to "support management of all land within the watershed in a manner that sustains natural resources and that will, in turn, contribute to economic and community well-being and resilience." The Applegate Valley, with a population of 12,000 rural residents, is one of the highest rated fire risk communities west of the Cascade Mountains, and was the scene of the 500,000-acre Biscuit fire in 2002. The Partnership recently released the Applegate Valley Wild Fire and Fuels Reduction Strategy in cooperation with 26 agency or organization partners (copies are available at La Jicarita News or by writing to the Applegate River Watershed Council, 6941 Upper Applegate Road, Jacksonville, OR 97530).
During their trip, Shipley, a founding member of the Partnership, and Rogers, the editor of the Partnership's newspaper Applegator, visited with a variety of individuals and groups, including Bill Miller of the Malpai Borderlands Group, Brian Cottam of the Greater Flagstaff Forest Partnership, Carla Harper of the Ponderosa Pine Partnership, Bob Moore of the Catron County Citizens Group, and in northern New Mexico Max Córdova of La Montaña de Truchas, Moises Gonzales and Felipe Martinez of Rio Arriba County, and the editors of La Jicarita. At the meeting with the norteños, Shipley and Rogers shared the shocking figures of forest acres treated last year in the Applegate Watershed: over 23,000 acres by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and only 300 acres by the Forest Service. Norteños shared their equally dismal figures with Shipley and Rogers: under the Collaborative Forest Restoration Project, only 8,000 acres are targeted to be thinned over the next three years.
These figures mirror those shared with the Applegators in Arizona and Colorado. Many of these groups, formed to address forest health issues on a watershed basis, expressed their frustration with the Forest Service's intransigence at working with community people, despite the lip service they pay to the collaborative process and their acknowledgement that they can't get the work done without the help of community-based foresters. Shipley noted that the Forest Service consistently has been the least cooperative partner in the Applegator communities' collaborative efforts. Everyone agreed that there are many factors that contribute to this: the agency's hierarchical bureaucracy that prevents collaborative decision making; the high turnover of district and forest level staff, which destroys relationship building and disrupts the continuity of projects; the reluctance of "professional" foresters to acknowledge the validity of communities' traditional forest science; the agency's inability to obtain NEPA clearances in a timely fashion; and the cumbersome and inefficient system for dispersal of money to community foresters for forest restoration.
Moises Gonzales suggested that everyone form a network of community and watershed groups throughout the west to collectively raise these concerns to our congressional delegations. Shipley said that Northern Arizona University would be willing to put together a database of groups involved in community forest restoration so that we can begin to organize a coalition to address these issues. For more information contact: Diane J. Vosick, Associate Director, Northern Arizona University, Ecological Restoration Institute, P.O. Box 15017, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011-5017.
With language stating "the people of Rio Arriba County are proud of their long and distinguished tradition of protecting the civil rights and liberties" the Rio Arriba Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution on April 10 to protect the citizens of the county from measures in the USA Patriot Act that infringe upon their civil liberties.
Passed last year by Congress at the behest of Attorney General John Ashcroft, the Patriot Act gives federal law enforcement agents a broad range of powers that many believe threaten our constitutional rights: to incarcerate non-citizens based on mere suspicion; abuse the use of electronic surveillance; conduct "sneak and peek" searches in which the subject is not notified of the search; access personal, medical, financial, library, and education records with little, if any, judicial oversight; engage state and local police in the enforcement of federal immigration laws; infringe upon our rights of free speech; and permit surveillance of religious services, internet chat rooms, political demonstrations, and public meetings.
The resolution also opposes the enactment of a so-called second Patriot Act, the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, which would further threaten constitutional rights and liberties by allowing the revocation of citizenship and expand the definition of "terrorist activities" to include non-criminal activity.
The commissioners are particularly concerned with protecting the rights of the many immigrants who live in the county. The resolution directs all state and local law enforcement agencies operating in Rio Arriba County to refrain from participating in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and that all immigrants held in detention have access to counsel. The resolution also directs the agencies to refrain from collecting information or surveilling individuals or groups engaged in political advocacy or the practice of religion "without reasonable and particularized suspicion of criminal conduct." Public schools and colleges are asked to provide notice to anyone whose records are obtained by federal agents and that notice be posted in public libraries warning patrons that records of books and materials they borrow may be obtained by federal agents under the Patriot Act.
With the passage of this resolution, Rio Arriba County joins other local governments and groups across the country who believe that "there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty and that Americans can be both safe and free." Community organizer Santiago Juarez, who spoke in support of the resolution, later told La Jicarita: "I wondered how to talk about these things in the Patriot Act, like losing your citizenship or being declared a terrorist because you supported the sanctuary movement, without sounding completely crazy or like Chicken Little. But our fears are real, and the commission did the right thing to pass this resolution."
On a recent April day, high school students at Peñasco held up pictures showing the faces of the people of Iraq whom Mary Riseley met during her stay in Baghdad with Voices in the Wilderness, an international group that has been working since 1996 to end the economic sanctions against Iraq. Riseley, who only recently returned to the US from Baghdad, came to Peñasco High School to tell the students that Iraq is "a nation of children", many of whom cannot get the medical care they need because of the sanctions. The people of Baghdad suffer terrible air pollution due to the unavailability of car parts, drink contaminated water from the Tigris River because the water treatment system has never functioned correctly since the Gulf War in 1991, have a 50% unemployment rate (taxi drivers are often civil engineers or professors), and rampant inflation has made their currency virtually worthless.
Because Iraq is a country with a long history of occupation and little political freedom, ruled by the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, a monarchy, and the repressive Baath Party under Saddam Hussein since the mid-1970s, Riseley believes that establishing a democracy will be difficult and costly. The country must also deal with depleted uranium armaments used during the first Gulf War (and also during the current invasion) that have contaminated the soil, causing high levels of leukemia and Hodgkin's disease. Infrastructure has been severely damaged, many more people require medical treatment and rehabilitation, and the agricultural system has been largely destroyed. But there are engineers, plumbers, planners, statisticians, architects, and laborers who have rehabilitated and extended water treatment and healthcare facilities throughout the country for ten years. They have the skills and abilities to address their country's needs, but lack funds and materials. If people want to send donations to help the Iraqi people, CARE is one of the best agencies working in the country. All but one of CARE's 67 employees are Iraqi citizens.
CARE will forward all contributions directly to Baghdad as soon as it is possible to get money into Iraq, without taking a commission off the top. Riseley urges everyone to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq after the fighting ends by sending money to: CARE, Inc., 151 Ellis Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.
Copyright 1996-2002 La Jicarita Box 6 El Valle Route, Chamisal, New Mexico 87521.