Human Shield Volunteers Made to Leave Iraq
Christiaan Briggs not in Baghdad - Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Human Shield Volunteers Made to Leave
Monday, 10th March 2003
Truth Justice Peace
Human Shield Volunteer
Hundreds of Human Shield volunteers from over 30 countries have been converging in Baghdad over the past month. Early last week they started deploying to strategic sites that are key to avoiding mass civilian casualties in the event of a US lead bombing campaign.
Hawke’s Bay man, Christiaan Briggs, who, last Monday, deployed to an electrical plant in central Baghdad, was taken to Amman, Jordan on Friday night by Iraqi officials along with other Human Shield volunteers who had been made to leave Iraq by their host, Friendship, Peace and Solidarity NGO president, Dr. Hashimi, because of disputes over autonomy of the group.
“I must admit I had thought of a lot of scenarios, including being held against our will for instance, but being thrown out of Iraq was really the last thing I expected,” said Mr Briggs.
“There was some confusion over whether I was one of the people being made to leave but in the end I took the decision to leave anyway, partly in protest, but also because I think the decision of Dr. Hashimi played into the hands of those who have tried their damndest to make us out as being under the control of the Iraqi government from day one. I’ve always said I was prepared to stay, and even die, but only if I thought my presence could affect change.
“There are still some Human Shield volunteers in Iraq. They are aware of the risks, they are there of their own free will and they are committed to staying. I hope they are safe and effective in protecting life,” said Mr Briggs.
“I thank those who have supported me from New Zealand and I remain committed to exposing this crime against humanity for what it is. My plan at this stage is to try and get back into Iraq as a relief worker on the outskirts of Baghdad, in the event of a bombing campaign, or to go to London where my sister is due to have a baby and put together a book of photos showing the world just who they will be bombing if this crime against humanity is allowed to go ahead.
“It is deluded to think that dropping bombs on the Iraqi people will make the world a better place and I feel a deep hatred for what the US/UK/Aussie ‘axis of evil’ intends to do, especially after meeting many of the children who will be murdered. It looks to me like the US is making moves to go ahead with this even if there is no mandate from the UN. If that happens everything the world has learned since WWII will be cast aside. That’s a world every person on this planet should fear deeply, right or left of the political spectrum,” said Mr Briggs.
Christiaan can be contacted at Al Saraya Hotel, Amman - room 216. Messages can also be left with the hotel reception.
For photos taken by Christiaan Briggs in Iraq or of the bus tour to Baghdad see http://www.tntmagazine.com/humanshield
to those NZ reporters who I have not been able to reply to
over the past few days. I’m working on it.