Iraq Posts

Fighting Violence with Generosity – and Opportunity

Each year as we mark the anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, people wonder what they, as individuals, can do to mitigate the consequences of terrorism.

Conventional thinking encourages us to rely on our government to respond to terrorism and extremist acts – though foreign policy, military action, bilateral talks. But when it comes to private citizens, the only guidance we have been given is “go shop”.

I prefer Gene Steuerle’s approach. Gene lost his wife when her plane was crashed into the Pentagon. He was humbled and moved by what he saw as an outpouring of goodwill toward families who had lost loved ones.

Based on that experience, Gene decided that he and other 9/11 families should send a message to the world: peaceful collaboration and opportunity are among our best antidotes to terrorism over the long term.

Whether it’s fast tracking education for Afghan women and girls, financing microlending in rural Afghanistan, or establishing health clinics in Pakistan, Americans who want to play a role in combating terrorism over the long term can make a donation and give people opportunity and hope.

Visionary philanthropy like Gene’s can help create the conditions that make it much harder for extremist networks to take root. And the good news is that it costs a lot less than guns and bombs.

So far, the US government has allocated more than $500 billion for the military “war on terror.” This is around $10,000 for each citizen of Iraq an Afghanistan.

By contrast, using Gene’s “Safer and More Campassionate World” approach, a mere $100 can provide 56 Afghan women with basic healthcare and health education. And that amount is within reach of nearly all of us.

Top Read CNN “News” Stories – huh?

Take a look at the most highly read stories on today:


Oprah, a parade gone bad, MySpace suicide, and the writer’s strike in Hollywood.

How about somebody paying attention to this:

BASRA, Iraq, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Women in Iraq’s southern city of Basra are living in fear. More than 40 have been killed and their bodies dumped in the streets in the past five months for behaviour deemed un-Islamic, the city’s police chief says.

A warning scrawled in red on a wall threatens any woman who wears makeup or appears in public without an Islamic headscarf with dire punishment. Read More…


Over the river and through the woods…

As Thanksgiving approaches, I can’t get these holiday carol lyrics out of my head. Working on the project team at GlobalGiving, I have the privilege to work with the amazing project leaders and innovative organizations that list their work for funding on our website. This also means I get an up close and personal look at the challenges our partners face on a daily basis. Here is one description of the journey to send an e-mail in Malawi:

“Well, first I leave the school and hop on my bicycle. After riding my bike for two hours over dusty, bumpy roads, I arrive at the internet café. Then I write out my e-mail carefully by hand and give it to the owner. Assuming the internet isn’t broken that day, he logs on to the only computer in the village and sends the e-mail for me.”

Rather than braving the river and woods to get to grandmother’s house, each day our project partners face challenges ranging from lack of electricity or internet connectivity, natural disasters like floods and earthquakes, health crises including malaria and HIV/AIDS, non-existent transportation infrastructure, or unstable political environments. Tasks that seem like no big deal to those of us in the U.S.—sending an email, turning on the lights, making a phone call—can be time consuming and difficult.

With all of these challenging circumstances it’s a wonder that anything gets done at all! But the most exciting part of my job is that not only is stuff getting done, our partners are tackling the most difficult challenges our world faces right now and achieving great results. It’s a testament to the determination, creativity, passion, and insight of the projects listed on GlobalGiving that each day I get to read updates from the field like this:

“The Roteang Village children have nearly completed the immunizations…” from "Provide 570 Children with Lifesaving Vaccines" in Cambodia.

“One of our a pioneer teachers at Nyaka told me last year that because of his job at Nyaka, he has been able to buy land, take care of his twin sons and daughter, and take care of his aging mom and dad…” from "Nyaka School for Children Orphaned due to HIV/AIDS" in Uganda.

“Through these two projects, we secure transportation and safe passage for women who are fleeing their homes to reach the shelters or other refuge…” from "Safe Houses for Iraqi Women" in Iraq.

Whether arriving via the back of a bicycle, the dusty Indian mail service, carrier pigeon, or solar-powered dial-up email, project updates keep donors informed about all things (good and bad) going on with the project on the ground. Clicking “submit” isn’t the end of a donation to a GlobalGiving project—it’s the beginning of an adventure!