Today Ned Lamont — businessman, former Democratic Senate candidate in Connecticut and Mercy Corps board member — called out Mercy Corps' work with Iraqi refugees in an insightful piece on Huffington Post.
Lamont discussed the "Independence Day" aspects of U.S. troops pulling out of Iraqi cities this week, and the ongoing "unintended consequences" of the Iraq war. Among these consequences has been the flight of millions of Iraqis within their country, as well as to neighboring nations such as Syria. Lamont recently visited Iraqi refugees in Damascus who are working with Mercy Corps to acquire job skills.
His notes on the plight of Iraqi refugees is sobering:
"Last month, I had the chance to see a different perspective as part of a Mercy Corps fact finding trip in Damascus, Syria, which is home to about 500,000 Iraqi refugees. Mercy Corps provides the refugees there with computer job training skills, but the Syrian government, terrified that this latest generation of refugees will stay in their nation, have instituted a $4,000 fine on any business which hires an Iraqi. None of the refugees we met wanted to return to Iraq; their lives as they knew them there were over. They wanted to start over again, in Europe or North America - in nations that are no more likely to welcome them than the Syrians. All wars have many unintended consequences." [The Huffington Post, 6/30/09]
To view Lamont's full article, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ned-lamont/independence-days_b_222921.html.
On this "Independence Day" there is certainly much more to be done to build peace, stability and prosperity for the people of Iraq.