Claudia Lefko

Claudia Lefko, a long-time educator, activist and advocate for children, is the founding director of The Iraqi Children's Art Exchange and its project, Baghdad Resolve: An International Collaboration to Improve Cancer Care in Iraq.

Articles by this author

"This is a space devoid of the most basic human values; a space in which children are slaughtered, raped and maimed;...a space in which children are starved and exposed to extreme brutality." (Photo: Oxfam International) Views
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
It’s About Children
More than twenty years ago, in August 1996 Garca Machel the UN Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict, issued her report to the Secretary-General of the UN: Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children: Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. The introduction outlined a bleak...
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018
For These Children of Iraq, Help Did Not Arrive
In the end, help did not arrive. In 2001, a 10-year old boy sketched this image of his sister, Faiza Amir, in her sick-bed at what is now Children’s Welfare Teaching Hospital (CWTH) in Medical City Baghdad and then, in large letters above the drawing, he made his plea, in English: "Help Cheldrin (...
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Monday, March 05, 2018
Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Marking the Anniversary of a Disaster in Iraq
A car bomb exploded on Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad on March 5, 2007. Thirty people were killed and an estimated one hundred others were wounded. Car bombings were common in Iraq in those terrible an terrifying years. So many bombings over so many years, they barely made the news here in the US...
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Monday, November 10, 2014
Modern War: A True Global Health Emergency
When I said Iraq was facing a public health crisis—and this was a few years ago—others in the audience jumped up and accused me of avoiding the real issue: war and western imperialism. But, I wasn't. I was speaking to conditions on the ground in Iraq, trying to focus attention on one of the most...
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(Credit: iraqichildrenart.org) Views
Monday, July 07, 2014
Iraq: What You Should Know About the Country We Destroyed
I've been working with Iraqis since January 2001, when I made my first trip to Baghdad. Some of these long-time colleagues and friends are Christians, most are Muslims. I don't know if they're Shi'ia or Sunni. I've never asked, and they have never offered. So, I don't know if my friend Mazin in...
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A displaced family from Mosul takes refuge in Erbil, Kurdistan in June 2014. (Photo: UNHCR/ACNUR Américas/flickr) Views
Thursday, June 26, 2014
The Human Narrative in Iraq Still Missing
Dear Mazin. The greeting is always the same and easy, although sometimes I might be more formal and address him as Dr. Mazin. But then what? I stop typing. What now? How will I phrase my question? Writing to friends in Baghdad is delicate and complicated, not to mention scary and sad. Sometimes...
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Ali Muyaid Salaheddin, 8, and his sister, Shahad, 14, rest at their home after being injured by bombing in Baghdad last year. Millions of Iraqis have been killed, injured, or sickened thanks to the U.S. war and sanctions regime waged against them over more than twenty years. (Photo: AP) Views
Friday, May 23, 2014
We Have Not Forgotten and We Believe You: Taking Action on Genocide in Iraq
Samantha Powers, US Ambassador to the UN was in Rwanda last month marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Ms. Powers book, The Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, won the Pulitzer-prize in 2003. I'm trying to imagine how many years it will take before we see a UN...
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Saturday, September 24, 2011
Children's Art and Children's Rights
We’ve been here before, confronting this question of children’s art, and why it creates such a stir. I wrote about it in May 2006 when Brandeis University cancelled an exhibit of Palestinian children’s art. This cancellation seems even more egregious because the museum in question is specifically a children’s museum.
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Monday, January 07, 2008
The Humanitarian Crisis for Iraq's Children Continues
I imagine I am not alone in despairing at the end of the year. While others look forward, I am haunted by what we did not accomplish in 2007. Particularly devastating is the ongoing war and occupation in Iraq, and the toll it continues to take on all of us, but particularly on the civilian population in Iraq, most especially on children.
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