Death In Algeria
Sir, - Since her start as your newspaper's correspondent in Paris, Lara Marlowe's reporting has been generally excellent and, in her recent reporting from Algeria, courageous as well. A recent example was her piece "Poverty and despair that may help explain the inexcusable" (November 22nd) attempting to describe the extreme social deprivation and political repression fueling the brutality of fundamentalists in many Arab countries. Unfortunately, in the closing paragraphs of this article, she was apparently let down by your copy editors.
These paragraphs read, in part, "Arabs recall the deaths of . . . more than a million children who have died because of UN sanctions against Iraq . . . and they point out that Israel has never been forced to comply with a single UN resolution." A plainsense reading of these paragraphs, as printed, would be that these are the views, as well, of the reporter herself. Surely, this is not the case. While we would expect such assertions to be widely believed by uneducated Arab slum-dwellers, subjected, as Lara Marlowe eloquently describes, to brutal repression by their own governments and bombarded by the rantings of fundamentalists fanatics, no rational person would credit them.
As we well know, food and medicine are not on the UN sanctions list, and the Iraqi Government possesses, in abundance, the money to pay for their import. The sad reality is that the people of Iraq are suffering because Saddam Hussein chooses to make them suffer. In the first instance, he prefers to spend the money on palaces and on rearmament (including clandestinely continuing his biological and chemical warfare programmes), while he finds, as well, that the Iraqi people's open suffering greatly aids his propaganda efforts to portray Iraq as the victim. Only the gullible would fall for this ploy, and surely that would not include an Irish Times reporter.
As for the canard about Israel and UN resolutions, this is asserted only by those either ignorant of Israel's record of compliance with scores of UN resolutions over the decades, or so affected by bias as not to care about facts. - Yours, etc. G. T. Dempsey,