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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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ELCA member sees life before the war

What most of us know about the people of Iraq comes from TV, newspapers and magazines. But Elaine Martinez has firsthand experience with the people of Baghdad.

Martinez, a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Villa Park, Ill., spent the month before the war in the Iraqi capital as a volunteer for Voices in the Wilderness. As part of this U.S./U.K. campaign to end the economic sanctions and military warfare against the people of Iraq, Martinez composed e-mails to enlighten Americans about the everyday lives of the people she met.

In one letter to her congregation, Martinez wrote: “Yesterday I went to a hospital where children with cancer are being treated. Cancer rates among children are greater here. … The mothers, and sometimes fathers, too, stay with the children. They do not speak English and we do not understand Arabic, so communication is difficult. But we hope that our presence and our doing crafts with the children is worthwhile.


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