Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Help Ghaydaa

Ghaydaa an Iraqi friend of mine living in the US has a brother in Baghdad who has been denied access to his family stores and property on Abu Nuwas street near the Palestine hotel because of the roadblocks placed to protect the NY times and Reuters offices. He desperately needs the income from renting these stores. He tried sueing the NY times at an Iraqi court in Karradah but with no success. Ghaydaa has been sending email and snail mail to the NY times for weeks and nobody even cared to reply. Here is a copy of the letter she sent to them:

Arthur Sulzberger

Chairman and Publisher

The New York Times

November 15, 2003

Dear Sir:

I am writing you on an issue of immediate concern.

My name is Ghayda Al Ali. While I am from Iraq, I am currently visiting the United States. As you can understand I am very interested in events back home. There is a most disturbing situation there which you should be aware of as your paper is an involved party.

My family has a property in the green zone in down town Baghdad on Abi-Nuas street. The New York Times rents the adjacent property. For several weeks now my brother Ali Al Ali has been denied automobile access to our property by security guards. Until two days ago we thought this was a coalition security measure. Now we known these guards are not coalition personal but are instead the private security force employed by your news paper.

The family property has two store fronts. Yesterday (Saturday November 15, 2003) my brother and two hired men were in one of the stores installing shelves. My brother lost his livelihood in the war and needs to open this store to make a living. His efforts were interrupted by several of the security guards employed by your paper. He was knocked roughly to the floor and threatened. Your guards pointed there AK-47 rifles and my brother and his work men and told them they would be shot if they did not leave immediately.

I feel sure if learned the United States Army was responsible an incident such as this you would feel obligated to publish the story and condemn the act.

In this his case I respectfully suggest you have an obligation to do somewhat more.

My family needs full use of its lawful property. This means no interference of any type to access to the building. Your guards also block access of potential customers to this business location. While mindful of the security requirements of your Baghdad employees I believe they do not completely supercede our legal right to use our property.

I hope this is a simple misunderstanding that you can correct quickly. My family hopes yet to have The New York Times as a good neighbor. I urge you to contact me or my brother quickly as an indication of your good faith. I can be reached at the email address ghaydaalali@yahoo.com Ask for Ghayda (pronounced Ride-dah). I will provide an email address for my brother upon hearing from you.

I will follow up this email with a letter to your office sent by United States Postal Service.

Please look into this matter quickly.


Ghayda Al Ali

Please help my friend by sending as many copies of this letter to the morons at NY times until they notice and do something about it. If they want to be protected they should choose a safe building elsewhere and not block streets downtown and prevent Iraqis from using their properties by force. I am so indignated to hear about this and so should you be. Please help us do something about it.