Ryan Dangerfield | Staff Writer | @RyanDanger23
Baroness Emma Nicholson of Winterbourne visited Utah Valley University on October 20, 2014 to expand awareness of events occurring in Iraq. She discussed her previous career in the English government, and the current obstacles faced in everyday life of living in the Middle East.
The death total since the beginning of June has totaled more than 5,500 people, not including the children who have been captured and sold as sex slaves or used as soldiers. Therefore, the university believed it was important for students to have the opportunity to become more aware of what is happening in the Middle East.
The event was well attended by faculty, and those in attendance were supportive of Nicholson’s call to action getting students involved in helping spread awareness of the differences between what is being portrayed in the media, and what the real truth is in the Middle East. “I am one of the few people who visits Iraq regularly, and it is like standing on the edge of a volcano, looking down into the pit, you cannot even see the bottom, and it is a mass of black depth with fire in it,” said Nicholson. “It is terrifying what is going on in Iraq.”
Richard Crow, chief executive of AMAR International Charitable Foundation said he believes one of the biggest differences between what is shown on the media and reality in Iraq is the Iraqi people are being depicted as bad people, but after talking and having dinner with them, it is seen that they are similar to Americans, except they are fighting for their freedom against a seemingly invincible foe.
“If we do not take effective action, we will have another Cold War coming, we will have another Iron Curtain between the West, and the Middle East,” said Nicholson. “The present United States President has quite a lot of work to do.”
Over the past three days, the United States military has conducted six air strikes against the Islamic State military near Syria. U.S. forces also conducted six air strikes against ISIS in Iraq with help from France and the United Kingdom.
“We all want freedom, in respect to the way we are born, how we are born, the type of background we are born into, everyone wants personal freedom,” said Nicholson. “Those who are gaining freedom in Iraq are having it taken away from them, and that is their single biggest problem.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recently donated over $100,000 to help fleeing Christians escape Iraq. According to Nicholson, the work being done in Utah to help in the Middle East, has been having an impact, and is causing Utah to be important globally.
“We have had help from a number of organizations in Utah, for example, the LDS church, as we work together we have seen several organizations are passionate about what is helping in that area of the world,” said Richard Crow, chief executive of AMAR International Charitable Foundation.
Several people have spoken out about the need for something to be done now if there is to be any hope of helping the Iraqi people, triumphing over ISIS, and gaining their freedom. Recently, the leader of the Church of England, Justin Welby, said that what is happening in Iraq is a once-in-a-millennium type of horror.
“I think coming from the West, where we have learned to merge our differences and respect others, we assume there are commonalities in parts of the world, which is not there,” said Nicholson. ”In the West we tend to lump people together, and because countries have the same prominent faith in Iran and Iraq, we tend to believe they are the same.”
Nicholson will visit several different places in Utah before returning to England or Iraq. However, she does not believe she has learned many lessons while in Iraq or in the English government.
“I am not sure I am in the business of learning lessons, politicians give lessons, and we do not learn them,” said Nicholson. “However, as a conduit I can transmit to you the sufferings of others…I think it is time for us to review our ultra-sophisticated and complex instrument we call democracy.”