Rally Speech Before 150 Aroostook county residents from
around the County February 15, 2003 -
St. Marys Church by Charlotte Aldebron
Speech given by 12-year-old Aldebron:
(Presque Isle, Maine) When people think about bombing Iraq, they see a picture in their
heads of Saddam Hussein in a military uniform, or maybe
soldiers with big black mustaches carrying guns, or
the mosaic of George Bush Sr. on the lobby floor
of the Al-Rashid Hotel with the wordcriminal. But guess what? More than
half of Iraqs 24 million people are children under the
age of 15. 12 million kids.
Kids like me. Well, I am almost 13, so some are
a little older, and some a lot younger, some boys instead
of girls, some with brown hair, not red. But kids
who are pretty much like me just the same. So
take a look at me: a good long look. Because I
am what you should see in your head when you think about
bombing Iraq. I am what you are going to destroy.
If I am lucky, I will be killed instantly, like the three hundred
children murdered by yoursmartbombs in a Baghdad bomb shelter on February 16,
1991. The blast caused a fire so intense that it flash-burned
outlines of those children and their mothers on the
walls; you can still peel strips of blackened skin,
souvenirs of your victory, from the stones.
But maybe I won?t be lucky and I wll die slowly, like 14-year-old
Ali Faisal, who right now is on thedeath wardof the Baghdad childrens hospital.
He has malignant lymphoma, cancer, caused by the depleted
uranium in your Gulf War missiles. Or maybe I
will die painfully and needlessly like 18-month-old
Mustafa, whose vital organs are being devoured by sand
fly parasites. I know it?s hard to believe, but
Mustafa could be totally cured with just $25 worth of
medicine, but there is none of this medicine because
of your sanctions.
Or maybe I will not die at all but will live for years with the
psychological damage that you can?t see from the outside,
like Salman Mohammed, who even now cannott forget the
terror he lived through with his little sisters when
you bombed Iraq in 1991. His father made the whole
family sleep in the same room so that they would all
survive together, or die together. He still has
nightmares about the air raid sirens.
Or maybe I will be orphaned like Ali, who was three when you killed
his father in the Gulf War. Ali scraped at the
dirt covering his father?s grave every day for three
years calling out to him,Its all right Daddy,
you can come out now, the men who put you here have
gone away.Well, Ali, you?re wrong. It looks
like those men are coming back.
Or maybe I will make it in one piece, like Luay Majed, who remembers
that the Gulf War meant he didn?t have to go to school
and could stay up as late as he wanted. But today,
with no education, he tries to live by selling newspapers
on the street.
Imagine that these are your children, or nieces or nephews or neighbors.
Imagine your son screaming from the agony of a severed limb, but
you cannot do anything to ease the pain or comfort him.
Imagine your daughter crying out from under the rubble
of a collapsed building, but you cannot get to her.
Imagine your children wandering the streets, hungry
and alone, after having watched you die before their
This is not an adventure movie or a fantasy or a video game.
This is reality for children in Iraq. Recently,
an international group of researchers went to Iraq to
find out how children there are being affected by the
possibility of war. Half the children they talked
to said they saw no point in living any more.
Even really young kids knew about war and worried about
it. One 5-year-old, Assem, described it
asguns and bombs and the air will be cold and
hot and we will burn very much.Ten-year-old
Aesar had a message for President Bush: he wanted him
to know thatA lot of Iraqi children will die.
You will see it on TV and then you will regret.
Back in elementary school I was taught to solve problems with other
kids not by hitting or name-calling, but by talking
and usingImessages. The idea of anImessage was to make the other person understand
how bad his or her actions made you feel, so that the
person would sympathize with you and stop it.
Now I am going to give you anI message.
Only it is going to be aWemessage. Weas in all the children in Iraq who are waiting helplessly
for something bad to happen. Weas in the children of the world who don?t
make any of the decisions but have to suffer all the
consequences. Weas in those whose voices are too small
and too far away to be heard.
* We feel scared when we don?t know if we?ll live another day.
* We feel angry when people want to kill us or injure us or steal
* We feel sad because all we want is a mom and a dad who we know
will be there the next day. And, finally, we feel
confused ? because we don?t even know what we did wrong.
- . -
12, attends Cunningham Middle School in Presque Isle,
Maine. Comments may be sent to her mom, Jillian