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

Iraqi medics arrive at the capital Baghdad's suburb of Sadr City on May 21, 2020, to test residents for COVID-19, as part of measures taken by the authorities aimed at containing the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images) Views
Monday, June 22, 2020
Missing: 505 COVID Masks Destined for Baghdad Hospital via UPS
Iraq experienced a dramatic upsurge in COVID cases beginning in early in June just as a group of mask-makers in Western Massachusetts was sending 500 masks—including 100 highly effective, medical-quality HEPA vac masks— to the Pediatric Oncology Unit at Children’s Welfare Teaching Hospital in...
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Claudia Lefko and Faiza Al-Araji, Amman Jordan 2012. (Photo: Courtesy of author) Views
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Remembering the Days of the Invasion: Iraq 2003
"Am I mad, to see what others do not see, or are they mad who are responsible for all that I am seeing?" ~Leo Tolstoy Who cares about Iraq and Iraqis anymore my Iraqi friends ask me. Who indeed. And even if you care, as I do, what more can be said. It seems everything that can and should have been...
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A wounded Iraqi child. (Photo: SAFIN HAMED/AFP via Getty Images) Views
Friday, January 17, 2020
That This Doctor Cannot Even Afford Computer Shows Iraqis Still Paying Price of US Invasion
Dr. Mazin Al-Jadiry, a senior oncologist and assistant professor of medicine, needs a new computer . His old one, purchased in 2015 is worn down and out-of-date. Not a big problem for most doctors or professors as computers are—to state the obvious— critical, an absolute necessity, provided and...
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"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: 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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