Iraq

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Poem: "The boats, the sea, the lives"

in:

CPTnet
13 February 2016
by Kathy Moorhead Thiessen

A poem: "The boats, the sea, the lives"


(from a blog post)

On the morning of February 4 the team in Iraqi Kurdistan joined together for our gathering/worship time. The electricity had turned on after the night and so people were taking a quick look at their Face Book and emails. My team mate Mohammed Salah showed me a photo of a teenage boy and a woman. I looked at him with a question on my face. He said, "He was my student". I said, "He drowned?" Mohammed's face told me that I was correct. Yad had been in his class two years ago. The impact of the deaths drew near to us.

Lukasz Firla immediately changed the topic for his gathering. We sat in silence and drew and wrote out our feelings. Last week 28 Iraqi Kurds died in the Aegean Sea. Yesterday Kurds from this region were among the 103 persons on the boat, including young Yad from Sulaimani. I wrote this poem as we sat together

"The boats, the sea, the lives"

Kurdistan, oh Kurdistan
How I hate to leave you
But how I long to leave you.
Political crisis, financial crisis
No electricity, no salaries, no school
There is no life, there is no hope
There is no future for my son.
We must leave

I heard about thousands drowning in the sea
Surely they were not prepared
Surely they paid the wrong smuggler
Surely they bought the fake life preservers
We will do better
We will stay in the boat and live

Today the son is a photo on Facebook
Yad- his fourteenth year was his last
There is no life, there is no hope
His body will return to Kurdistan

IRAQI KURDISTAN: "My tent is beautiful"—a Sunni Arab refugee’s story

A drawing by a boy from Salahadeen depicting life in his home on the farm and life in the camp.

Ahmed* watched his brother disappear in the smoke. “The bomb hit and I couldn't even see him to save him. I haven't seen him since. Then we had to quickly run away.” As the Iraqi militias faced the ISIS invaders, Ahmed fled with his wife, three small children, and eight members of his extended family. He left his farm with its fertile fields, vineyards and orchards to live in a tent camp just outside Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan. He says, “We have not slept one night in a house since we left Salahadeen eighteen months ago. It is so cold here. I had never seen snow before.”

 The world media report about ISIS and the Syrian refugees that fled to nearby countries. They have also told of Ezidis (Yazidis) and Christians of Iraq who left everything behind to live as internally displaced persons (IDP) in another region of Iraq. However, the media have largely neglected the story of the Sunni Iraqi Arabs of the province of Salahadeen.

Prayers for Peacemakers, January 20, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, January 20, 2016

Give thanks for the people in Iraqi Kurdistan who want to reach across ethnic groups and class divisions and participate in CPT Iraqi Kurdistan’s Alternatives to Violence workshop.  Pray for their peacemaking efforts as they return to their communities.

UNITED STATES: Former CPT Iraq, Palestine, Vieques team member goes to jail for drone resistance

 On 12 January, the National Day of Action to Stop Killer Drones, grandmother and drone resister Mary Anne Grady Flores learned that she will go back to jail for six months starting Tuesday, 19 January. Grady Flores served as an intern on the Palestine and Iraq teams and was part of Christian Peacemaker Team’s delegation campaign to stop the U.S. Navy bombing of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques.

Grady Flores had been out on appeal of a lower court convicting her of violating an order of protection. Col. Evans of the Hancock Air National Guard Base 174th Attack Wing (in Syracuse, NY), sought the order to “protect” him from nonviolent anti-drone activists.  The court charged her with violating the order because she took pictures of eight Catholics protesting the US drone assassination program at Hancock on Ash Wednesday, 13 February 2013.  Onondaga County Court Judge Miller upheld the lower court conviction. Of note is that a court acquitted all eight Catholic drone resisters because they went to uphold law, not break it.

The court and the Base have used orders of protection, typically given in domestic violence situations, in an attempt to deter protest and suppress free speech. Judge Miller also upheld a lower court ruling on the Hancock 17, seventeen nonviolent drone resisters who received orders of protection, jail time, and fines.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: October-November 2015 newsletter

 
OCTOBER - NOVEMBER 2015
 

Iraqi Kurdistan

Turkish warplanes intensify bombardments, farmers flee their village homes

 

As Turkey spirals into more intense internal violence, not shying away from bombarding even “its own” Turkish/Kurdish towns with artillery shells, its attacks against Kurds in Iraq also intensify. On the night of 21 November, Turkish warplanes bombed mountain slopes overlooking the Shawre valley. Shawre’s fertile soil sustains more than 30 villages and a larger town, as well as contains many treasures including sites dating to times far preceding Islam. The beautiful village of Gullan, that many CPT members, delegates and supporters know so well, lies in the upper parts of the valley, and dangerously near the bombarded sites. CPT visited the area on 26 November and met with three families who heard and saw the rockets hit meadows just over their village and fled their homes in fear of being hit in another attack. CPTers attempted to document one of the bombed places but were strongly advised by the armed forces not to go there as the warplanes could return at any moment. In the last two decades, Shawre has been considered as an area safe and free of Turkish airstrikes. During an overnight stay in Gullan, CPTers could hear the murmuring sounds of jet fighters flying around and towards the more distant Qandil mountains.

One of the displaced shepherds, who worked also as an assistant at a local school, told CPT: “A few days ago, Turkey shot down a Russian airplane for a supposed violation of their borders. Turkey shows how much they care about borders, by bombing us, more than 100km (60 miles) far away from their territory.”


Prayers for Peacemakers, December 16, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 16, 2015

Pray for the Kurdish villagers in the Qandil Mountains who are facing death and displacement because of bombing by the Turkish military.

*Epixel for Fourth Sunday in Advent, December 20, 2015
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. Luke 1:51-53
 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT INTERNATIONAL POEM: Advent's Eve, 2005

 
On that last day of ordinary time

Norman, Harmeet, Jim and Tom walk across a parking lot

in Baghdad and get into a van.

Years later, Jim can’t remember “those last, unremarkable motions.”

 

            The next morning (the first Sunday of Advent)

            The BBC called me at noon.

            The voice at the other end of the line was chasing rumors:

            We heard that four members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were kidnapped.

            What do you know?

 

                        What if Christians took the same risks for peace...

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 18, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 18, 2015
Pray for the families in the border regions of Iraqi Kurdistan who live in fear of cross-border bombing attacks by Turkey.

I lived through the death of my family (bombing of Zergaly)

 
 

RAQI KURDISTAN: August-September 2015 Newsletter

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AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2015

Iraqi Kurdistan

The three months, since our last newsletter, passed quickly for our team. The abundance of activities and engaging projects, delayed the time of our sharing with you - our support and partner community. We would like to invite you to join our first-two-month's recap of our work.

CANADA: E-mail Prime Minister Trudeau; tell him to stop the bombing of Iraq.


On October 19, 2015 Canadians elected a Liberal majority government, led by Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister in the 1970s and early 1980s. Mr. Trudeau’s first public announcement (an election promise) was that he would immediately order an end to the bombing by six Canadian CF-18 warplanes of targets in Iraq and later Syria. About one year ago former Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the then Conservative government had decided to add Canada’s warplanes to the U.S. bombing mission in Iraq. A much belittled news headline said, “Trudeau accuses Harper government of ‘trying to whip out our CF-18s and show them how big they are’ in Iraq.”

But two weeks after this promise by the Prime Minister, the Canadian Forces are still ‘whipping out their CF-18s’ to get in as many killer bombing runs as possible. For the third day in a row since the new government swearing-in (November 4) Canadian bombers have been dropping their deadly load onto Iraqi human beings. There is nothing to prevent an immediate order for cessation of the bombings, which would harm nothing and no one. 

Please send a quick on-line message to Prime Minister Trudeau urging him to live up to a commitment he made on his first day as Prime Minister-designate when he called President Obama and said he would be ending the mission. He has no excuses not to issue an immediate order to ground the warplanes and begin the process of ending the bombing campaign.

Go to this weblink (http://pm.gc.ca/eng/contactpm) and send a quick email to Mr. Trudeau to STOP THE BOMBING.