By Shannon Stapleton
When asked, “What do you see for the future of Iraq now that the United States military is leaving the country ?”, 12-year-old student Kharar Haider replied, “I don’t think we will have more problems and it is better than when Saddam was here. We have no heating or light in school. I don’t think that is going to get better.”
Upon arriving in Baghdad on Dec. 1st of 2011 for my first time in Iraq, the question that I couldn’t get out of my mind as we made our way through a maze of military checkpoints was “What will be the future of Iraq after we leave?” If security was this tense now, I could not imagine what was going to happen after the U.S. troops finally pulled out of this war-torn country.
By Shannon Stapleton
The 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center has been causing me some anxiety for some time now.
We were told that magazines, newspapers and all other outlets for pictures regarding the 9/11 attacks would need to be filed and completed by mid-summer for deadlines. For a long time I didn’t cherish the thought of covering another anniversary let alone trying to find new ways to illustrate something that for some time I have been trying to avoid. Having been there first hand on that dark day in history I truly dislike having to go down there at all and usually do my best to avoid World Trade Center site area.
(Click here for an emeddable version of the video)The Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corp (RAM) is a non-profit organization that provides free health care, dental care and eye care in remote areas of the United States and the world since 1985. Volunteer doctors, nurses and support workers provide the care at their own expense and the medical supplies, medicines, facilities and vehicles are all donated by supporters.From July 24-26, I attended the RAM event at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Wise, Virginia. The area is in the Appalachian Mountain region bordering Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina.People received numbers and started lining up to enter the health clinic around 4 a.m.For those who did not receive the full range of health care they needed, they spent the night in their cars and returned the next day.It was truly a remarkable experience to witness how many people in the United States, ranging from infants to the elderly, have little or no access to healthcare. It was truly the front lines of the healthcare problem in our country.Editor’s note: On Wednesday, July 29, President Barack Obama discussed his healthcare plans at a town hall meeting in Bristol, Virginia, 62 miles from the Wise County Fairgrounds. He acknowledged the outstanding work of everybody associated with the event.“People are able to get care because of the great volunteer efforts of people all over the country. That’s great,” President Obama said in front of employees of the local supermarket.Further coverage elsewhere online:In Virginia, health fair tends to America’s poor (AFP)Rural Medical Camp Tackles Health Care Gaps (NPR)On health care, America looks awfully third-world (Oregonian)A different perspective on the health care debate (Daily Kos)The Doctor Is In – in the Heart of Appalachia (AARP)Uninsured queue for free healthcare (AFP)