Signs of Life :: Iraq's Nonviolence Activism
Iraqis Organize for Peaceful Elections
A LaOnf activist holds a poster for the week of nonviolence in Iraq.
Iraqi Week of Nonviolence: See photos from this year’s events.
More than 100 citizen groups in all 18 Iraqi provinces participated in a mid-October week of activities aimed at reducing violence in the January 2009 provincial elections. A coalition called La’Onf (“No to Violence” in Arabic) led the Week of Nonviolence.
Among many highlights, Iraqis in Sadr City and Al-Anbar province held conferences to encourage women to vote. Youth in Salahuddin played soccer in uniforms that bore the slogan, “Nonviolence is Our Choice.” In Babil, children performed an operetta about how Iraqis can face violence and find unity. The al-Iraqiyah media outlet and members of the Islamic Union of Iraqi Students and Youth gathered with other civic groups at a peace festival. La’Onf participants also appeared on Arabic radio, television, and satellite broadcasts.
“Within the polarized and dangerous political environment of Iraq … if you speak about resistance you are accused of supporting terrorists … but if you speak about nonviolence you are accused of supporting the occupation,” says Ismaeel Dawood, a La’Onf founder. La’Onf is working to create a third way in which “nonviolence is a tool to resist occupation, terrorism, and corruption.”
— Kristin Carlsen.
“We should withdraw from almost all of the [occupied Palestinian] territories, including in East Jerusalem and in the Golan Heights.”
Ehud Olmert, outgoing Israeli prime minister, in an interview with Israel’s largest newspaper.
Peace Activists Support Gaza
Nearly 50 peace activists from more than a dozen countries sailed two wooden boats carrying basic medical supplies from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip in an effort to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza and express solidarity with Palestinians living there.
“We are out to show that the people of Gaza have human rights … Israel completely blocks them from travel. And right now, [Israel is] trying to starve and humiliate an entire people,” said Huwaida Arraf, cofounder of the International Solidarity Movement, who sailed on the boat Liberty.
|Photo courtesy Freegaza.org|
Activists celebrate on a wooden boat sailing from Cyprus to the Gaza strip to protest the Israeli blockade of Gaza and show support for Palestinians living there.
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