ROME, JAN. 14, 2001 (ZENIT.org) .-
The embargo against Iraq came under heavy criticism in the Italian episcopate´s newspaper, on the 10th anniversary of the end of the Gulf War.
Romanello Cantini wrote an editorial in the front page of the paper Avvenire, condemning the continuation of the embargo on Iraq, which strikes the poorest and most innocent segments of the population.
The “heaviest sentence” of that war continues to be borne by “the poorest and most impotent classes of the Iraqi people,” Avvenire said. “What is more, it seems that the embargo punishment strikes the most innocent, especially those who were not even born at the time of Kuwait´s invasion by Saddam Hussein, and the ensuing war.”
Catholic Church leaders, particularly John Paul II and heads of Vatican organizations, have repeatedly said that, on occasions, the effects of the embargo are disproportionate to the objectives in mind.
Cantini echoes the words of His Beatitude Raphael I Bidawid, the Christian patriarch of Baghdad, who in a recent interview said that 1.5 million children have died in Iraq over the past 10 years for lack of food and medicines.
The Italian writer denounced that what was once called the “hunger siege” of enemies “was expressly prohibited by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.” This abuse was condemned by the Vatican in the 1996 document of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” entitled “World Hunger — A Challenge for All: Development in Solidarity (No. 16).
Avvenire also denounced Saddam´s tactics, which it says give the impression of watching a “cynical cat-and-mouse game, between those responsible in the U.N. and the Iraqi dictator, at the price of a people who are the only ones paying an ever more oppressive price.”