Gifts for Iraq held back


Jan Slakov

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Fri, 25 Dec 1998 10:26:53 EST
Subject: forwarded re Iraq sanctions

Elias Davidsson writes:

Reykjavik, ICELAND
24. December 1998

Dear friends,

This morning the Icelandic delegation (3 people), including Santa Claus (an
Icelandic school janitor), Thor Magnusson, director of Peace 2000, and
myself, boarded the plane of the Icelandic Airlines on the way to London,
Milano, Athens, Cyprus and Baghdad, with 5 tonnes of Christmas gifts and
food for children in Iraq and Kosovo.  The decision to go was made last
night after the UN Sanctions Committee gave permission for this
humanitarian flight. Icelandic Airlines were generous in forwarding this
cargo free of charge to London and other airlines were willing to transport
the shipments from London on.  There was full cooperation by both private
and governmental parties to make this trip successful.

After our plane was already on the runway, the pilot suddenly announced in
the loudspeakers that due to the fact that some of the cargo was destinated
to Iraq (on which a trade embargo is in place), the plane would be turn
back in order to off-load the cargo.

By this action the Icelandic authorities have thus succeeded to prevent our
humanitarian flight, which has been meticulously planned in coordination
with the UN Sanctions Committee and have showed that they do not care the
least for the feelings of the suffering children of these countries as well
as to the children of Iceland who with care and love collected the gifts
and packed them so nicely.  The Government of Iceland showed even more
animosity to the people of Iraq than the US Government, the  representative
of which supported the request by Peace 2000 for this exceptional
humanitarian flight through the "no-fly zone".

Personnel of the airline don't remember any action of this kind, in which a
plane was turned back because of such reasons.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs was not willing to meet our delegation
after the event.  He barricaded himself at home, apparently drunk, and
called for the police to remove us, as we learned later.

The media in Iceland reported extensively on this human rights violation.
These methods demonstrate once more that in order to violate human rights
of other peoples a government ends by violating human rights of its own

We and many Icelanders feel ashamed of our country and of our authorities
who condone such acts on the eve of Christmas.

We have demanded that the Icelandic authorities provide us with a plane to
bring these gifts to the children.

We send our deep sympathy to all the children in Iraq and Kosovo who will
not receive gifts this Christmas / Ramadan, as a result of such disgusting
show of  inhumanity and promise that we will try to come to them at the
earliest opportunity with these gifts and a message of peace and solidarity.

I wish all of you on this list, in spite of these sad news, a happy
Christmas and Ramadan.  The struggle for justice will continue.

Elias Davidsson

Elias Davidsson - Post Box 1760 - 121 Reykjavik - Iceland
Tel. (00354)-552-6444     Fax: (00354)-552-6579
Email: •••@••.•••     URL: