Help for the Victims: WNC Women Seek to Aid Iraqi children

ASHEVILLE – In September, Anne Craig went from despair to hope when she met Salee Allawe, a 9-year-old Iraqi girl who lost both legs in a U.S. bomb attack near her home.

“I knew I could do something about the devastation that’s been caused in Iraq,” Craig said. “I decided then to start a chapter of No More Victims here in Asheville.”

No More Victims is a national relief organization that works to get medical sponsorship for war-injured Iraqi children and to forge ties between the children, their families and communities in the United States. It is the subject of the monthly movie night at the Unitarian/Universalist Church on Friday.

Also at the event will be Ann Cothran, who is with the Greenville, S.C., chapter and was one of the people responsible for Salee’s treatment at the Shriner’s Hospital there.

Since Salee’s visit in September, Craig and six other women have worked to bring another child here for treatment. The group learned recently that they will be able to bring Rusul Jalal, Salee’s 6-year-old cousin, to Greenville, S.C., for treatment at the Shriner’s Hospital there. Rusul was injured in the same air strike as Salee in November 2006..

Ymani Simmons, of Asheville, is another of the women working to bring Rusul here.

“As a longtime worker for world peace, I was despondent over the failure of the peace movement to have an effect on the U.S. occupation of Iraq,” she said. “But this allows me to step up to the plate and do something instead of waiting for things to get better.”

Craig and Simmons talked about grassroots movements being the way to bring about peace.

“I think this is a good way for Christians, Jews, Muslims — all the people in these mountains to work together,” Simmons said.

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