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People Intimately Affected by Iraq War to Share Stories on Thursday

The campus community is invited to a forum on Thursday, Nov. 15 to hear stories from those who have been impacted by the Iraq war on an intimate level. Hosted by the Iraq Action Group, the forum is scheduled from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at UCSF Cole Hall, 513 Parnassus Ave., in the Medical Sciences Building on the Parnassus campus. The event, titled "When the War Comes Home: Stories from Those Who Know the War First-hand," features presentations from four speakers personally affected by the war in Iraq. A panel discussion and opportunity for audience participation will follow the program. This event is free and open to the public. This event is sponsored by the Iraq Action Group, a campus organization at UCSF comprising UCSF faculty, staff and students united in the goal of educating the campus community and the public about the health effects of the Iraq war. The focus of the forum on Thursday is to explore the less obvious emotional health consequences that remain long after an individual's involvement in the conflict ends. The stories told will serve as a reminder of the heavy burden this war has placed on communities at home and the urgency of finding a peaceful solution to this conflict, organizers say. "This will be an emotionally charged event. How could it not be?" said Daniel Lowenstein, MD, UCSF professor of neurology and founder of the Iraq Action Group. "But our hope is that the stories we hear from these remarkable, courageous people will help everyone realize that it is our responsibility to make sure our leaders in Washington hear our voices." The speakers and topics in order of presentation are: * Aidan Delgado, peace activist, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and the author of The Sutras of Abu Ghraib: Notes from a Conscientious Objector, will talk about his experiences in applying for conscientious objector status while serving as a soldier in Iraq and at Abu Ghraib prison. Delgado's presentation includes a slide show depicting the violence and brutality prevalent in the U.S. Army, and an examination of the morality of war from a Buddhist perspective. By bringing home the reality of war, Delgado hopes citizens in the United States can make an informed moral decision about whether to consent to its continuation. * Eli PaintedCrow, a 22-year US Army veteran, peace activist, grandmother and a co-founding member of the Service Women's Action Network - which focuses on helping other women veterans of the US military and reaching out to women considering joining the service - will share some personal insights about what is presently missing in the peace movement that is working so hard to promote change. Struggling with her own post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other effects the war has caused in her life, PaintedCrow shares her thoughts "from the place in my heart and the wound that I continue to heal as I speak to those hearts that can hear me." * Physician Javad Razani's son, Omead, 19, was a medic in the US Army in Iraq when he was killed three years ago. Razani, MD, will share the trauma his family has experienced with this event; his pride in his son -- "Doc Razani," as Omead was known -- who was trained to treat casualties, regardless of the nationality of the injured; and his experiences raising an Iranian-American family. Razani will also share his despair when his family learned of the stop-loss laws which kept his son in the military after the family thought his service was "complete." Razani's current focus is on a foundation created in Omead's honor, and preventing a war with Iran. * Steve Edwards was a soldier in the US National Guard stationed in Iraq in 2004, when a roadside bomb exploded next to his vehicle resulting in head and neck injuries. Sergeant Edwards will describe the overwhelming effect of these injuries on his wife and daughter after his return to civilian life, the difficulties he encountered in receiving care through the US Department of Veteran Affairs, and his experiences joining a group of veterans with PTSD in a class action lawsuit against the department. Michael Adams, director of the UCSF Office of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity, will moderate the discussion. Adams' family continues to feel the impact of war, having had two of four brothers, as well as members of his extended family, serve in the Vietnam War. Related Links: UCSF Iraq Action Group