Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter207



Letters to the Editor

(January 17, 2011)


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From an honorable and Humane Former Public Servant: International Ignominy: Hans von Sponeck's A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq, May 2007

Dear Monsieur d'Aymery,

You wrote a review of my Iraq book several years ago and only two days ago did I come across this review. I am grateful not only for what you have written but how you have written it. To write this book was not easy for me but I did not have a choice I had to write it. Out of the 32 years that I "lived" the United Nations, only the last two, my time in Iraq, really challenged my belief in this incredible institution. The book on Iraq in that sense was a bit of therapy as it allowed me to conclude after 18 months of reflecting and writing that the UN as an ideal must remain an ideal as it incorporates all the dreams humankind has. I have learnt a lot since formally ending my association with the United Nations. This is helping me in my university teaching and the two programmes I am running for Iraqi students and for Iraqis that require medical attention. All this is here less important than to express my thanks for your words. They offset many of the punches I have received during these years.

With my best thoughts,

Hans von Sponeck
Muellheim, Germany - January 11, 2011

P.S. In September 2010, I wrote an assessment of the three Iraq chapters in Tony Blair's memoirs, A Journey, published in New Statesman under the title, After the journey – a UN man's open letter to Tony Blair. It may be of interest.

[ed. Mr. Hans von Sponeck, was UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq from 1998-2000.]


Gunfire's Innocent Bystanders


Throughout the non-stop coverage of the tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8 there has been much discussion about the mental health of the perpetrator, the possible need for increased security for our elected officials, the culpability of right-wing vitriol, and how this tragedy may affect future politics. And, as always, guns are passed off as innocent bystanders and there has been little discussion about rethinking this culture of rampant gun ownership. In fact, Arizona is considering allowing guns on college campuses, once known as institutions of higher learning.

We all certainly hope for a full recovery for Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and I for one hope that she awakens to a new way of thinking about her own gun, and of the one that was intended to take her life.

Jan Baughman
Boonville, California, USA - January 11, 2011


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Published January 17, 2011
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