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An Open Letter to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Five Years on : Your Rightful Concern for Dharfur : What About Iraq and Palestine?

Felicity Arbuthnot


April 13, 2008

Mr Nick Clegg,
Leader of the Liberal Democrats,
Houses of Parliament,
London SW1A OAA.
Dear Mr Clegg,
Re: Dharfur.

In your appeal for Dharfur (attached below) you write:

'In Sudan, every one of those 1800 days that has passed has been the same: fear, hunger, and suffering. There are children, now of school age, who have known nothing but the life of a refugee.'

You request that Gordon Brown pressure China, in this Olympic year, over its role in Dharfur. Strange that no such request is made that he pressure the United States, murderously backing the Ethiopian troops and as ever, providing lethal weaponry where ever possibility of a lucrative contract floats past.
Odd that you are not pressurising Mr Brown for children who have been enduring: 'fear, hunger and suffering', with the UK being co-partner in crime with the United States for seventeen years. The children of Iraq. They were dying at an average of six thousand children a month for many years before the invasion, of 'embargo related causes'. Not Saddam related, EMBARGO related, the United Nation's own words in their Reports. They are now terrified, traumatised and dying for 'liberation' (actually, a war of agression, Nuremberg's 'supreme international crime') in orders of magnitude more. It is five years since the beginning of Dharfur's suffering you rightly point out. It is five years since the further ceaseless, dementia-inducing terror has been unleashed on the people, the children, of Iraq.

What of the children of Palestine? Sixty years of their 'fear, hunger and suffering'. The 132nd victim of the current illegal siege of Gaza has just died for want of medicine. A victim too young to even to know he was dying because he was Palestinian - or that he was a Palestinian.

I take it, that your concern for humanity will thus lead to your voicing your concerns equally over these shameful stains of enormity on Britain and America and that, you will, of course be boycotting Israel's sixtieth birthday bash and asking Mr Brown to pressure Israel for this disgrace in Palestine and to publicly, loudly and ceaselessly also pressure America and move heaven and earth to demand an immediate end to both these silent genocides. Actually, sixty years of Palestine and seventeen years of Iraq, amount to a holocaust, or is there only one of those which can shock the world and be annually commemorated?
You are today, speaking at a rally outside the Sudanese Embassy, you state. Can it be taken that you will, as a matter of urgency and anniversaries, you will also be speaking outside the Israeli and American Embassies?

Oh and when you are in touch with Prime Minister Brown on these matters, please also remind him that in the light of the above, he looks pretty foolish telling Mr Mugabe that the world is 'losing patience' with him, or indeed telling China to brush up on human rights.People and glass houses come to mind.

Please also remind him of something I know is close to his heart. Cystic Fibrosis. Three babies are in danger of dying in Gaza, for need of treatment in Israel for this condition, one he will definately relate to and a situation he will surely be shocked by, since his young son, sadly, suffers from the same condition. Israel has refused treatment, in scrupulous violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I note on your appeal one can now join the Liberal Democrats for a cut price offer of ú10.00 per annum. The greatest inducement the Lib Dems could offer would be the serious addressing of our part in human rights violations and that of our ally the United States, as outlined above.

Then those who rise a little earlier in the morning that Ms Lumley and Mr Speight and Ms Farrow, might take your party more seriously.
Oh yes and five years ago, whilst we were, as you point out: 'scrapping Concord', there should have been a note in your 2003 diary, that we were also 'scrapping' Iraq.

Yours sincerely,
Felicity Arbuthnot.

Attached, Mr Clegg's Letter:

Nick Clegg - Liberal Democrats wrote:

Think back to 13 April 2003. Five years ago. British Airways had just announced it was scrapping Concorde. We were all of us getting on quietly with our lives. And in Sudan, millions of lives were beginning to be torn apart.

In Sudan, every one of those 1800 days that has passed has been the same: fear, hunger, and suffering. There are children, now of school age, who have known nothing but the life of a refugee.

This must end. We must focus the world's attention on Darfur and end this crisis. That's why today I'm speaking at a rally, outside the Sudanese Embassy, to call for concerted international action.

The peacekeepers on the ground are struggling against impossible odds. The peace-keeping mission needs to be fully deployed - there are only 9,000 on the ground so far. And they need backup, especially helicopter and air support - and we must get it for them.

Sudan's closest allies - especially China - must also put pressure Khartoum for peace. Instead of facing this way and that on the Olympics, unsure of whether he can say boo to China or not, Gordon Brown must take a strong stand. He must use the year of the Olympics to speak out about China's role in Darfur and persuade them to change. And he must not attend any more of the ceremonies associated with the Games. His decision to attend the closing ceremony but not the opening one is the worst kind of compromise.
Today, thanks to protests marking the fifth anniversary of the conflict the eyes of the world are on Sudan. Make your voice heard, too. Because if we keep campaigning, keep protesting, the international community will relent and we will secure peace. You can find out more about the global protests taking place today at www.globefordarfur.org
Best wishes,

Nick Clegg MP
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

:: Article nr. 43026 sent on 13-apr-2008 21:36 ECT


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