4/13/03 9:40:43 AM Pacific Daylight Time
Warning! This site contains graphic images.
There are daily reports being filed at this site from phone reports
given by four Belgian doctors in Iraq to assist in the humanitarian
efforts. This is DEFINITELY not news you will see in the US media! I
have included the two most recent daily reports below, from the 10th and
The daily reports start from March 20, only March 30 through April 1 are
missing reports. Each page includes images. There is also a link on the
front page to several pages of pictures of victims and destroyed homes.
At least some, if not all of these images are from Al Jazeera, they are
some of the ones the rest of the world is seeing, but which "sensitive"
Americans are shielded from.
I can say no more...
From the front page: The war on Iraq will be an unprecedented
humanitarian catastrophe. Many health workers, professionals and
students the world over have added their voices to the massive protest
movement. They are of the opinion that, apart from providing health
services, their task also includes the prevention of diseases, injuries,
and death because of this unjust war.
Despite the global protests, war has been unleashed on Iraq. The Belgian
NGOs Medical Aid for the Third World (MATW) www.m3m.be and S.O.S. Irak
Belgium (www.irak.be) have a Medical Team of two doctors in Baghdad, Dr.
Geert Van Moorter and Dr. Colette Moulaert. Dr. Moulaert is a member of
the Workers' Party of Belgium, while Dr. Van Moorter is an activist with
the anti-war coalition StopUSA (Stop the United States of Aggression).
They remain in Iraq during the bombings and the invasion to witness the
American and British aggression as well as the Iraqi resistance. They
will comfort the people, monitor the effects of war on health and health
care, observe how the Iraqi health services cope, and assist their Iraqi
colleagues whenever possible. They will coordinate with the Ministry of
Health, the Iraqi Red Crescent and international institutions including
the World Health Organization and Unicef.
Saturday, April 5: Two more Belgian doctors to besieged Baghdad
Today an additional medical emergency mission has left for Baghdad. The
team consists of Dr. Harrie Dewitte and Dr. Claire Geraets, two general
practitioners of Doctors for the People. Harrie and Claire will still
try to reach Baghdad via the Syrian capital Damascus in order to join
Dr. Van Moorter and Dr. Moulaert. They are bringing 80 kilograms of
antibiotics and surgical supplies for the hospitals of the Iraqi
Ministry of Health and the Iraqi Red Crescent.
Diary from Baghdad, 10 April, 8 p.m.: Dr. Geert Van Moorter and Dr.
Harrie Dewitte by satellite telephone
GIs: Nobody is perfect!
Catastrophic situation in Baghdad hospitals
Bert De Belder
The situation in Baghdad is plainly catastrophic, the doctors of
Geneeskunde voor de Derde Wereld (Medecine for the Third World) say.
When driving around the town they saw horrible, perplexing scenes of
looting. Private houses and government buildings alike. Ghazwan, an
Iraqi friend, was wailing: 'plundering government buildings, what is it
good for? They are needed to govern the country! And all this happening
while the Americans are just standing by and watching!' Dr. Geert Van
Moorter tackled the American GIs about this: 'in one day you have people
destroy what has been has been constructed for thirty years!' The
answer: 'we are here for waging war not for policing. Nobody is
The Medical Team visited three hospitals or what is left of them. The
Yarmouk hospital, where Geert and Dr. Colette Moulaert went several
times, has been completely plundered. 'We saw that a garbage truck had
been emptied to be filled with hospital furniture', Geert says.
'Medicines were on the floor scattered and trampled upon. In the
Fertility Center we saw youths playing with echography and Doppler
machines. The premises of UNICEF and UNDP, some hundred metres from our
hotel: completely ransacked. The National Health Laboratory, the same.'
Only the Saddam Center for Plastic Surgery is still functioning, because
it is there that the British cameraman Paul Pasquale is treated, the one
who received first aid by Dr. Van Moorter after the American shelling of
the Palestine Hotel. There Geert in the first place wanted to
reconstruct the report of the ambulance being shot at by US troops.
'Seeing a big American tank one thousand metres in front of him the
ambulance driver started to slow down,' Geert noted. 'He may have been
driving at about just 60 kms per hour when he was shot at by 4 or 5
American soldiers. The driver, Omran Shahad, felt a stab in his back,
and lost all feeling in his left leg. He tried to stop the car but hit a
tree. There was another machinegun volley directed at the ambulance. The
first aid worker, Rahim Abbas, got a bullet in his foot. It was little
short of a miracle that, thanks to an extraordinary effort he succeeded
in returning to the hospital. Two of the three severely injured patients
that were in the ambulance have probably died. Assisted by us, the
driver and the first aid worker want to claim damages from the US for
the physical harm they endured. The director of the Hospital, Dr. Walid
Abdul Majid, will sue as well and bring a civil suit for material damage
to the ambulance. Shooting at an ambulance is a gross violation of the
article 12 and 21 of the Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions regarding
the law of war. Each time I have to negotiate with US-soldiers I
confront them with this shameful deed.'
The working day of the Medical Team was not over yet. 'In an ambulance
with one wounded person in it, we drove to the Nafez hospital,' Geert
continues. 'All-in-all we still found one doctor there, taking care of a
lot of patients. Mission impossible, a complete chaos. Doctors are
afraid of going to their work, the atmosphere is tense and chaotic
everywhere. Colette absolutely wanted to stay to assist the poor doctor,
but this was far too dangerous: youngsters armed with Kalashnikovs were
running around. We were nearly unable to reach our hotel, GIs refusing
to let us go through. We pulled up at 500 metres from their tanks and I
went to negotiate, dressed in my white doctor's coat. This cost us an
hour and a half...'
Also about the mood in Baghdad, after the apparent disappearance of
Saddam Hussein's government, the doctors learned something. Geert:'last
night I talked to several common Iraqis in our hotel, which certainly
does not give a univocal picture. When the American soldiers entered the
hotel yesterday, their first order was to remove all symbols and
portraits of Saddam. Many people have mixed feelings about this. Most of
them do not feel like celebrating. Someone said this:'I am glad the
tyrant has gone, but I am afraid in the first place. We are in a dark
room now, we are in troubled waters.' An employee of the hotel: 'they
will treat us like animals. They will give us just enough food to
survive, but there will be no progress.' Our friend Ghazwan was more
cynical: "The only things the 'dictator ' gave us were watermains,
electricity, telephone. The 'liberator' has come to destroy all that.
But I guess we will receive cell phones now and bottled water, for which
we will have to stand in line and say 'thank you Sir'..."
Baghdad diaries, April 11, 5:30 p.m.: Dr. Geert Van Moorter by satellite
U.S. occupation forces commit war crimes with impunity
Bert De Belder
"We've heard more horrifying stories today about the U.S.-soldiers'
behavior. The injured are requesting the U.S. army vehicles for a ride
to the hospital in vain. Medical personnel doesn't even dare to ask
permission from American checkpoints to bring the wounded to the
hospital as any Iraqi who approaches U.S. soldiers risks to be shot.
They would rather ask us, the foreigners, to negotiate with the
U.S.-troops for patients to be allowed to pass.
A journalist of The London Mail told me he was appalled by the
U.S.-troops' behavior. He had seen how they shot down two Iraqis without
any reason. Also somebody who came to their aid was shot in cold blood.
"It's like in Vietnam," the journalist sighed, " they take aim at
anything that moves." I also talked about it with an American army
doctor. Do you know what he answered? "You got to understand. These guys
are still young. When they're anxious, they easily shoot." The U.S.
troops have blanket impunity here. They can get away with anything and
don't even risk any legal action. "Nobody is perfect," they say. Or they
justify it as a 'pre-emptive strike'. Just like this whole war is a
'pre-emptive strike' against the threat of Saddam's 'weapons of mass
destruction' that neither the weapons inspectors, nor the U.S.
occupation force have been able to find. Apparently, shooting at an
ambulance is also a 'pre-emptive strike' because it might contain
explosives! Two dead and three heavily injured? 'Collateral damage'!
The U.S. troops' arrogance is incredible. We have to restrain ourselves
continuously not to argue with them. But we scorn them and snap their
heads off. Like those soldiers that were chopping a statue of Saddam in
pieces to bring home as souvenirs. I yelled: "Hurrah, you are real
heroes! Congratulations, that's a job well done!" The idiots thought I
was serious and looked at me gratefully. "Yeah, really great! You
peppered an ambulance with bullets. You made hundreds of civilian
casualties. You allow the looting of hospitals, leaving the wounded in
agony. Real heroes!" It took them some time to realize that I was
actually ridiculing them with their miserable pieces of Saddam's statue,
while scolding them for having blood on their hands. Finally they
laughed sheepishly. And I laughed up my sleeve."