Part Two of Interview with Simona Torretta
Heads-up. 'Democracy Now!' carries part two of the interview held with Simona Torretta in February.
If you read Italian, please visit Enzo Baldoni's blog in memorium.
Remember to pay a visit to Free Our Friends, the blog created to bring attention and information to the world about the kidnapping situation of the two Simonas, Mahnoaz, and Ra'ad. This is especially cogent because the supposed 'deadline' passed. And this is an especially important situation because these are people who worked for the longest serving Non-Governmental Organization that had nothing but the best intentions of Iraq in mind, so they should not be harmed by any means. You are not Iraqi if you harm such honorable people.
As far as the Italian connection goes: I'd like to just point out how far apart a fascist like Berlusconi is from the caliber and class of individuals who gave a part of the prime of their lives for Iraq and Iraqis. They are selfless, Berlusconi is a narcissist. Simona Torretta and Simona Pari are both exceptional people who clearly love Iraq, and they are against the occupation that the Italian president is for...while Berlusconi amounts to nothing more than a slimey meglomaniacal thug.
think-tanks or think-blanks?
CSIS released the Report Progress or Peril?" If you don't want to read 108 pages, here is a summary.
I think it is particularly interesting to compare the CSIS reports. This one is a fairly sober estimate, while earlier ones sometimes smacked of idealism and addressed things in such a complex and multi-layered manner befitting a more useless think-tank. I've read about half of it and it's worth gleaning over. Go to CSIS's website to see the other reports or to page 17-18 on the latest report where you'll find an array of links.
Another paper to check out it Chatham House's Iraq in Transition: Vortex or Catalyst?
Are these useful or not?
I have mixed feelings about such reports, especially when they are obviously not grounded in reality. I found it all-pervasive that finally in the latest report they realized that they had not figured in the "Iraqi voice" into matters as carefully as they should have. Well, good job...but a little too late. I would like to say 'better late than never', but in this situation it's very hard to do so. Seeing as how so many people (291 Iraqis according to one estimate ..see juan cole's latest post for that link) have lost their lives in just the first two weeks of September, things are not going well these days to say the very least.
So, there is no reason to lose four gems who worked for Un Ponte Per Baghdad. They represent what is good about humanity and that cannot be sacrificed for anything when Iraq is in such dire need of such people.