This is an exhibit that still has relevance particulalry given the colonization of Iraq by the United States. This was to be published elsewhere and has yet to see the light of day.
The exhibit titled by Children of the Gulf War by Takashi Morizumi which has traveled throughout the United States and Europe is perhaps shocking to Americans and their sensibilities given the graphic photographs and chronicle of child who are dead in life. What we are presented with are violent and ugly images of disfigured and dying children born with no limbs, no eyes, a hole in the back, with a brown scale-like skin, with an exposed brain, with a protruding belly, and there are many more to gaze upon even though they may not please an American audience for the United States has been at the helm of the destruction of these young lives and the inability of their parents to help them.
There is an image of a bald, smiling child whose sex is indeterminate who has intrigued many of those who have seen the exhibit. The young girl’s baldness is due to chemotherapy but fortunately she has survived and is currently doing well according to the latest web posting on the photographer’s website.
There is also a child being cradled by its mother because he is too ill stand due to malnutrition. The most devastating of all is a photograph of a child with encephalathy who was left at a hospital soon after he was born by a mother who was ashamed of bringing home a deformed and diseased child and too afraid of the sick child she had produced who would probably not have lived past the age of three.
These atrocities are a direct result of the depleted uranium left by United States military forces after the first Gulf War in 1991. The disintegration of this element and its airborne nature brought about contamination to air, land, and water and a consequentially have brought with them wasting diseases and the death of many children and young adults. Leukemia, liver and kidney cancers, tumors and birth defects of a horrific proportion bring about agonizing and drawn-out death to these children.
The depleted uranium coupled with the United States’ imposed embargo on Iraq furthered the tragedy by not allowing the medication and medical technology to flow into the country for 12 years and as a result many more people died and suffered tremendously from pain, starvation and psychological deterioration.
It took the courage and viewpoint of a non-Westerner to demonstrate the atrocities of those caught in the middle of a war who do not make the decisions that have pulled them into the horrific plight in which they find themselves – children and the mothers that must watch them die. In using military might the United States must be conscious of the secondary damage and havoc it has wreaked on many lives but in the Western viewpoint, democracy is what is the most important – no matter if it brings destruction to life.