January 31, 2005

ARTICLES: Iraqi girl Sara describes her family's preparations for the elections (Voices of Youth Digital Diaries)

Voices of Youth Digital Diaries

28 January 2005: A young Iraqi girl Sara describes her family?s preparations for the coming elections

Sara returns to tell us more about the tough choices her family has made on the eve of Iraq?s election, in her second digital diary for UNICEF Voices of Youth and UNICEF Radio.

Voices of Youth Digital Diaries are all about young people who want to know more?do more?and say more about the world. Our goal is to amplify their voices by inviting the world?s children to share UNICEF?s electronic podium. These reports are first-person/eyewitness accounts by young people from around the world.

AMMAN / NEW YORK 28 January 2005 - With the situation in Iraq on the eve of the elections growing worse each day, 17-year old Sara and her mother and brother have temporarily left Iraq for the neighboring nation of Jordan. In Baghdad, Sara and her family faced rising violence, a lack of electricity and water, and a strict curfew imposed on Baghdad residents.

Sara told us back in October about her return to school after the official end of the war, and now she reports again, about her thoughts on the violence in Iraq, her fears about her father who stayed behind, her experiences in traveling over the border to Jordan, and her hopes for the future of her country.

Since they left last week, things have deteriorated in Baghdad. ?The situation is no good at all,? she says. ?My father told me there has been no electricity for sixty hours. There has also been no water since they bombed the main pipes that give water to the entire city.?

Jordan is close, and many Iraqis have fled there. ?There are over a half a million Iraqis here,? Sara says. ?It took us about 21 hours to reach here because the borders were crowded. All of the Iraqis were traveling after the exams finished.?

Sara?s father stayed behind in Baghdad to make sure nothing happened to their home. He has been debating whether or not to vote on election day this weekend. ?He wanted to, but we told him, no,? Sara says. ?He will risk his life is he votes.?

Sara herself has become more cynical about the election, and about how soon things can improve in Iraq. She expects it will take around ten years to repair the country to the way it was before the war. ?War was not justified. There is no good justification for war. What is it for? For democracy? For freedom? What freedom? I can?t even step out of my house.?

Sara and her family will return to Iraq next week, so that she can return to school after the mid-year holidays.

Listen to Sara?s story, and other Voices of Youth Digital Diaries, at UNICEF Radio.

SOURCE: http://www.unicef.org/people/people_24984.html

Chris Schuepp
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