In a letter addressed to the American people and President Bush, a congregation of Catholic Dominican Sisters in Iraq has asked the people of the United States to work for peace, even in this eleventh hour. The letter calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. "We presume that as Christians you have hearts full of love and compassion," it reads. "You will pity our Iraqi children, our elderly, and our youth that have no hope in a better future and a decent life." "President Bush defends the rights of animals," the letter continues. "Have we less value than animals? He claims that he is trying to defend human rights in Iraq. He is willing to build a new Iraq. He tried to convince the people in US and the peoples round the world that he will only bomb the army and the weapons in the country. He promises that he is not going to bring any harm to the civilians. Is he throwing flowers on people? "The Defense Department is planning a massive strike against Baghdad, dubbed "shock and awe," in which thousands of bombs will be dropped in an effort to shock the Iraqi military into surrender. Those bombs will put many of the Dominican Sisters and their neighbours in direct peril. "We have two convents: one at the beginning of the army camp and the other at the end," the letter says. "Will the bombing kill the soldiers or the people? We are living in great fright, panic, and extreme worry." The letter was sent to the Dominican Sisters in Springfield, Illinois, a companion congregation to the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs in Columbus, Ohio. Members of both congregations are among thousands of Dominican sisters, brothers, priests, laity, and associates in the United States and around the world who have worked since 1998 to bring to the world's attention the humanitarian consequences of the 1991 Gulf War and twelve years of the debilitating economic sanctions in Iraq. There are about 200 native Iraqi Dominican sisters, brothers, and priests, as well as a large community of lay Dominicans in Iraq. To read the full letter see our Letters Section.
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