About the Culture of Life

It’s ironic that the morning after Mel Lehman of Iraq for Children was honored for his writing about the plight of Iraqi children, the AP reported four children were killed by a home made bomb in southeastern Baghdad while collecting trash.

In last night’s award ceremony at the Religion Communicators Council, Mel was gracious accepting the DeRose-Hinkhouse Award for his piece God’s Voice in an Arabic Lesson in National Catholic Reporter. He told the interfaith communicators how important their work is toward creating global understanding. In fact, it is his concern for the children of the Middle East that was justifiably honored and should sensitize us to address their critical needs.

As the war in Iraq grinds on, it grinds up the children. Here are a few of the latest facts provided by UNICEF:

  • Children make up half of Iraq’s population of 25 million.
  • Nearly one in four do not attend school.
  • One million under age 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition.
  • Infant mortality today (107 deaths per 1,000 live births) is more than double what it was at the end of the 1980s.
  • The under-five mortality rate (131 deaths per 1,000 live births) is two-and-a-half times what it was in 1989.
  • Preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea and respiratory infections account for 70 per cent of child deaths.

As politicians talk about a culture of life, remembering the legacy of Pope John Paul II, they must be reminded that the children of Iraq urgently need peace that they may have life. Among many humanitarian organizations working to make life better, here are two worth considering:



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