Building partnerships to transform violence and oppression.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Life goes on under a shadow

 

 
 Neighbors line up at bakery to buy bread

In the hot afternoon sun, two children dart into the small grocery store near our house and come out smiling with popsicles.  A woman responds to my greeting of “choni bashi?” as she fills up a bag of plums.  As the sun starts to drop closer to the horizon, clusters of boys are out on our street playing football (soccer).  Even though Kurdish and international forces are fighting the Islamic State (IS) two and a half hours away, life, in Iraqi Kurdistan, goes on.

A shadow, however, looms over the people in the Kurdish region of Iraq.  They feel it when they hear that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces have taken back towns on the edge of Mosul from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, also called ISIS and DAASH) fighters.  But they also remember early August, when the Peshmerga had been protecting the city of Shangal (Sinjar) and the surrounding areas, but then withdrew from the area—claiming they had run out of ammunition.  The withdrawal allowed IS soldiers to come in and terrorize the Yazidi people.

Even though IS had been collaborating over the past years with some Sunni populations in Iraq, in their opposition to the oppressive actions of the al-Maliki government, it was the IS takeover of Mosul in June that made the world take notice.  Yet, it seemed that IS was moving toward Baghdad afterwards and not the northern Kurdish region, so the Kurds drew a deep breath.  Then, on 3 August, the front got a little closer when IS captured the Mosul Dam and the city of Sinjar.  Peshmerga forces responded with attempts to retake some captured towns on the edge of the Kurdish region.  But it came as a surprise, when, on 6 August, IS seized four strategic towns on a key highway and advanced to positions just minutes from Erbil, the capitol of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Upcoming CPT Events

Title Start: End:
Aboriginal Justice Delegation Fri, 09/26/2014 Mon, 10/06/2014
Iraqi Kurdistan Delegation Fri, 09/26/2014 Fri, 10/10/2014
Palestine/Israel Delegation Thu, 10/09/2014 Wed, 10/22/2014
Steering Committee Meetings - Conference Calls Tue, 10/14/2014 Sat, 10/18/2014
Palestine/Israel Delegation Sat, 11/29/2014 Sun, 12/14/2014

Video Introduction

 

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About CPT

Partnering with nonviolent movements around the world, CPT seeks to embody an inclusive, ecumenical and diverse community of God's love.  We believe we can transform war and occupation, our own lives, and the wider Christian world through:

  • the nonviolent power of God's truth
  • partnership with local peacemakers
  • bold action

CPT places teams at the invitation of local peacemaking communities that are confronting situations of lethal conflict.  These teams seek to follow God's Spirit as it works through local peacemakers who risk injury and death by waging nonviolent direct action to confront systems of violence and oppression. 

CPT understands violence to be rooted in systemic structures of oppression. We are committed to undoing oppressions, starting within our own lives and in the practices of our organization.

Featured CPT Partner

The collective village of Hardan is made up of 450 families from thirteen villages internally displaced by bombing. Hardan collective formed in December 1995 after Turkish bombings forced villagers to move. During the first two years people lived in tents. In 1997 each family received six hundred concrete blocks and ten bags of cement with which to build their houses. Turkish attacks subsided between 2003 and 2007, during which bridges and roads were rebuilt in 2004, allowing people to return to their homes to plant and rebuild. In February 2008, however, Turkey resumed bombing in the village areas and destroyed five bridges. People depended on these bridges to visit other villages as well as to bring their crops and animals to market. Hardan collective awaits the day they can safely return to their original homes.

CPT’s Work: CPT accompanies communities like Hardan, documenting their experience, and advocating with decision-makers for a cease to state-sponsored violence and bombing.