Lots of retired
people travel, but where Irving M. Wolfe, PhB’34, goes, he tries
to make a difference. Since his first trip abroad to Germany and
Italy in 1936, Wolfe—now some 48 countries later—has continued to
travel to the world’s political hot spots. Last May, along with
his wife, Evelyn, Wolfe went to Iraq for eight days as part of the
Iraqi Sanctions Challenge delegation.
Led by Detroit
Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and organized by Ramsey Clark,
former U.S. attorney general, the group brought more than $4 million
of medicine to the people of Iraq, defying the UN–backed trading
and travel sanctions.
“That was just
a drop in the bucket,” says Wolfe, at 85 the oldest delegate on
the trip. “We hope that other people and other groups will start
to take medicine. Medicines—sophisticated medicines like penicillin
and chlorine—are needed everywhere in Iraq.”
U.S. prohibits direct travel to Iraq, Wolfe, along with 100 other
U.S. citizens, ministers, and doctors, went from Amman, Jordan,
by jeep across the Syrian Desert to the capital city of Baghdad.
Each delegate, he says, was allocated only 2 liters of water during
the 21-hour drive. A self-described anti-war activist, Wolfe says
he endured the trip because he believes the Iraqi sanctions have
harmed Iraqi civilians, especially children. During a trip to a
Baghdad pediatric hospital, Wolfe recalls, “there was blood on the
sheets, when there were sheets.” He says he witnessed children dying
of preventable diseases, such as amoebic dysentery, because of a
lack of medical supplies.
“The war has
been over for seven years,” says Wolfe. “We are not letting the
Wolfe, of Pomona,
New York, has also traveled to Cuba, Nicaragua, and China. He urges
others “to go to places where things are happening.”—P.J.A.