Iraq

IRAQI KURDISTAN: February 2016 Newsletter

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CPT Iraqi Kurdistan Newsletter - February 2016


FEBRUARY 2016

Iraqi Kurdistan

CPT 2016 trainees in Iraqi Kurdistan organised a public action to show solidarity with unpaid government workers in Kurdistan. The government has not paid the employees for last 5-6 months, so the workers are facing a very difficult situation now.

The trainees team envisioned the event to be held in Azadi Park in Sulaimani, Iraqi Kurdistan on Feb 19 th 2016. However, authorities denied approval for this action.

CPT trainees decided to perform it on the CPT office`s rooftop and capture it on video to share with you all.

To watch the movie, click here:
public action movie



IRAQI KURDISTAN VIDEO: Action in solidarity in unpaid state in employees

CPTnet
23 February 2016
IRAQI KURDISTAN VIDEO:  Action in solidarity in unpaid state in employees

What if you had to go to work every day and not get paid?  The 2016 Christian Peacemaker Trainees in Sulaimani wanted to show solidarity with Kurdish Regional Government employees facing exactly this dilemma.  They had planned to undertake their action in Suleimani’s Azadi Park on 19 February 2016, but the government authorities denied them a permit.

Instead, they shot this video on top of the roof of the CPT apartment.  Please share widely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXbPKIP7EYg

 

Currently, our CPT Iraqi Kurdistan needs a new washing machine,that would allow team members to wash clothes without wasting too much water, electricity and time.

A new functional washing machine costs $350 in Iraqi Kurdistan.
If you decide to help us, please, click on this link and make sure you mention that you would like to donate for new washing machine. 



Thank you very much!

IRAQI KURDISTAN: "We're sleeping on oil, yet freezing to death"

CPTnet
16 February 2016
IRAQI KURDISTAN: "We're sleeping on oil, yet freezing to death"

Child places flowers in a lake in to remember the 65 people who  died in the Aegean Sea on Jan 22nd 2016
Child places flowers in a lake in to remember the 65 people who
 died in the Aegean Sea on Jan 22nd 2016

"We're sleeping on oil yet freezing to death" is how one Kurdish man summed up the political climate here in Iraqi Kurdistan. War, dropping oil prices, corruption and mismanagement of government funds have led to a financial crisis. As a result, government workers, making up over half of the population, have not been paid in six months. 

CPTer  Muhammad, a fifth grade teacher, had worked without pay for over five months.  For the past month, along with the other school teachers, he has been on strike.  Almost daily, instead of going to the school, Muhammad stops by the CPT house and gives  the latest news about the strikes.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: January 2016 Newsletter

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CPT Iraqi Kurdistan Newsletter - January 2016

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JANUARY 2016

Iraqi Kurdistan


Alternatives to Violence Project changed our lives.


CPT Iraqi Kurdistan engaged in joint project together with STEP (Seeking to Equip People) organisation, which works to support vulnerable children and youth, many of which have been displaced by war in Syria and Iraq. Together with eight staff members of STEP and two other NGO`s workers, we took part in the basic and advanced Alternatives to Violent Projects (AVP) training, which lasted 6 days. Three of the team members participated as trainees and two others as trainers. The workshop is designed to help people learn skills to be able to build better relationships, partnerships and improve them. The training was very interesting and helpful. We made some new friends from different cultures and backgrounds as well as gained a better understanding of violence. The diverse activities brought all of us together and gave us a wider perspective of how we can work together to transform violence and oppression in our everyday lives.

Finally, on 22th of January, after 3 additional days of a very hard and exciting work, we successfully accomplished an AVP training for the facilitators. Now, all of us are ready to facilitate AVP workshops, share the ideas of non-violence methods and spread peace around us.

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.