A MODEST PROPOSAL
For Providing the Children of Poor People in Iraq with Clothing
During the War of the United States of America and the United
Kingdom of Britain on Iraq
By: Ali Azimi, April 8th, 2003
It is a melancholy object to those who watch the news on the war in Iraq when they see the streets and the roads crowded with American and English gunmen that open fire on people and destroy their houses; and very rarely, when a reporter is lucky enough to record the rushing of American and English soldiers into the houses of Iraqi people, do we have a chance to see in what sort of houses these poor people are living.
During these 20 days of war in Iraq* there were many protest demonstrations in almost all countries of the world; out of more than 100 countries if we only consider those major ones that have everyday big anti-war demonstrations there will be more than 20countries that have thousands of protestors in at least five of their cities, who demonstrate their anger and disagreement by walking in the streets in groups and shouting “Stop the War!” or “We Want Peace!” and the most important of all, by burning the U.S. flags; As to my own part, having turned to my thoughts for hours upon this important subject, I have found among these actions the last one- their burning of the U.S. flag, grossly a mistake.
The number of people in Iraq, being usually reckoned 20,000,000, of these I calculate there are about 2,000,000 children under the age of six or seven, from which I subtract 1,000,000 children whose parents are to some degrees able to provide them with food and clothing; there remains 1,000,000 poor children that cannot be provided for by means of none of these methods currently in practice. I again subtract 90% of them for those children who are not much involved in the problems of the war, either because they live in out-of-reach places or because they have left their cities for a temporary period of time. Now, if we drop another 10,000 for those children who are either killed by the American and English invaders or have fled with their families to the neighboring countries, there still remains at least 90,000 Iraqi children that are the victims of a very terrible condition of living, with bombs that come onto them and without any food or clothing whatsoever. The question, therefore, is how this number shall be helped, which under the present situation of affairs is utterly impossible by all methods hitherto proposed.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection. As I have already computed, these days all around the world, there are at least 100anti-war demonstrations; if we consider that among the thousands of protestors in each city only 2U.S. flags are burnt per day, each of which is sometimes in its actual size (one meter in a half) –though usually larger than this and some cases even as large as three meters in two – the average size of a U.S. flag that is used for burning at these protest demonstrations can be measured as about two meters in one. Just keep it in mind that 200pieces of such cloth are now being burnt every day during the war in Iraq.
I have been assured by a knowledgeable scientist that by the burning of this much cloth, the amount of smoke which is everyday added to the air pollution of our planet is equal to the amount of smoke that 5,000 automobiles produce per day. The burning of the U.S. flag has also other disadvantages but as I have to long digressed, I therefore shall return to my subject.
I do therefore humbly offer my proposal to public consideration that the U.S. flags that we are burning to show our hatred toward the U.S. government shall instead contribute to the clothing of many poor children in Iraq; I am assured by a tailor of my acquaintance that with a 2×1 piece of cloth we can make one shirt and a pair of trousers fit for a child of six or seven and, according to what I have already computed, every day we can properly provide 200Iraqi poor children with clothing only by the use of those U.S. flags that we add to the pollution of the air by burning them a considerable amount of smoke per day. And if this war in Iraq, according to the many politicians who comment on the question of this war, takes as long as 6 months during these 200 or so days we can provide clothing for approximately 40,000 Iraqi poor children, almost half the total number of those who were seriously endangered.
There are other advantages that might be enumerated by this proposal; for instance we can use the off-cuts of the U.S. flags as bandages for those hundreds of wounded men and women in this war-stricken country. Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about the vast number of those Iraqi people who hate the American government so much so that it is most probable that they will not let themselves to cover their children in U.S. flags and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken to ease a nation of so grievous an encumbrance.
For those people who are so much against this ‘stars-and-strips’ design on these flags I recommend that they can wash it off these pieces of clothes in one way or the other, or they can cut the flags into such pieces that does not show the designs on their children’s new clothing, or in the case none of these solutions seems satisfactory they can use the pieces of the U.S. flags as diapers for their infant children, and even if this also distracts from their dignity they can cut the U.S. flags into strips and as far as there is no water in most Iraqi cities these days during the war they can use these strips of the U.S. flags for toilet papers. But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it is very well known that poor Iraqi people are every day getting murdered by the American and English soldiers at such a rate that they cannot be expected to be worried about this sort of questions.
I can think of no one objection that will probably be raised against this proposal. I desire the reader will observe that I calculate my proposal for the people of this individual country at this special span of time as a fast and easy method that can be very useful in this complicated situation of affairs.
After all I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offers proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally useful, cheap, easy and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire those who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold t attempt an answer, that they will first ask the Iraqi people themselves whether they would not at the present situation think it a good proposal in the manner I prescribed.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the public good of that specific country; I have no interest in wearing that kind of clothes at all; my wardrobe being full of fashionable clothes and my youngest brother long past infancy.