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power in any substantive way, do so only at enormous risk of life and liberty. That has been true in Southeast Asia, in Cuba and Central America, in the Middle East, and now in Yugoslavia. The only relatively feeble domestic check on that imperial ruthlessness has been the reluctance of the public at large to accept sustained American casualties in defense of U.S. military power. In Yugoslavia, we may soon be engaged in a test to determine whether the American public considers the right of the U.S. government to dictate borders and political arrangements in Eastern Europe is a right worth dying for. Many readers will continue to believe that this time, the U.S. has humanitarian concerns at heart. If the bombings at hand are insufficiently persuasive, they might wish to consult with Kathy Kelly, organizer of Voices in the Wilderness. Kelly recently visited Austin following her return from her ninth trip to Iraq, where she has engaged in people-to-people diplomacy with extraordinary dedication since 1991. Voices has been delivering medical supplies and toys to the civilian population of Iraq since 1996, in direct defiance of the humanitarian U.S. government, which has threatened her and her small group of pacifist colleagues with large fines and imprisonment. “Keep this up,” the Treasury Department told her, “and you risk a $1 million fine and twelve years in prison.” Kelly, a petite woman with sparkling blue Irish eyes and the steely determination common to those in the Catholic Worker movement, is unlikely to be intimidated by government threats. She directly defied the bombs during the Gulf War, and a decade ago, she spent ten months in maximum security for the crime of planting corn on a site reserved for nuclear missile silos. She smiles at the memory: “I had taught in Catholic girls’ high schools for a couple of years, so I was kind of ready for it. No talking in the hallways, ‘Where’s your pass, where’s your uniform, don’t say no.'” Kelly is no sentimentalist, and her tales of the suffering of Iraqi civilians, many of them children, have a directness that only increases their emotional effect. She has watched numerous children die for the lack of the cheapest of medicines, the simplest pieces of equipment. Asked about recent developments, she said, “I can only say it worsens. Psychologically, people are now saying that they can’t see any hope of change. Within the hospitals, doctors are growing more hopeless, angry, frustrated. [A doctor in Basra] told me, ‘If you want our oil, take it, but stop killing our children.’ Every day he’s seen three babies born with congenital deformities. When he was a student, he never encountered such cases except in textbooks.” Kelly is determined to continue her work, but has no delusions about any shortterm changes in the U.S./U.N. sanctions. She is encouraged by signs of a nascent peace movement here and elsewhere, but she goes on because she must. “I have some hope that a generation of youngsters coming up in the United States is going to have a revolutionary, different set of values, and will believe that they don’t want to continue a pattern of life that is basically maintaining radically unfair relations with other people on the planet. Maybe the reality of the Internet, and the ability of people to communicate far and wide might take away some of the sense of borders, or [the sense that] `Because I’m on this soil, I have a right to more.’ Maybe the desire to live more sensibly in relation to the environment. “So I have those hopes. I do hope that whatever ability we have to try to put a face on Iraqi people, will eventually speak further and wider. And that maybe some elected official will decide to take a big risk, and say, ‘I’m going to use this as an opportunity to distinguish myself as somebody with conscience.’ We need someone in the media to break camp, people within elected offices, to just decide to make a departure. “Basically, I tell myself, that there’s no Iraqi child that I’ve met who can afford any pessimism or cynicism on my part.” M.K. Editors: Louis Dubose, Michael King Assistant Editor: Mimi Bardagjy Associate Editor: Karen Olsson Office Manager: Ayelet Hines Production: Harrison Saunders Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Staff Writers: Nate Blakeslee, Jeff Mandell Special Projects: Jere Locke, Nancy Williams Webmaster: Mike Smith Interns: Justin Burchard, Emily Lundberg Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Barbara Belejack, Robert Bryce, Lars Eighner, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Paul Jennings, Steven G. Kellman, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, John Ross. Staff Photographer: Alan Pogue Contributing Photographers: Jana Birchum, Vic Hinterlang, Patricia Moore. Contributing Artists: Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Valerie Fowler, Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Ben Sargent, Gail Woods, Matt Wuerker. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Bob Eckhardt. Sissy Farenthold, John Kenneth Galbraith, Lawrence Goodwyn, Molly Ivins, Maury Maverick Jr., Willie Morris, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid. In Memoriam: Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 Texas Democracy Foundation Board: Ronnie Dugger, Liz Faulk, D’Ann Johnson Geoffrey Rips, Gilberto Ocafias. The Texas Observer \(ISSN 0040righted, 1999, is published biweekly except for a four-week interval between issues in January and July \(24 issues per 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone: E-mail: [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page: . Periodicals Postage Paid at Austin, Texas. Subscriptions: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13/year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. VOLUME 91, NO. 7 A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES SINCE 1954 4 THE TEXAS OBSERVER APRIL 16, 1999