INTERVIEW WITH A PEACE YARD FACILITATOR

[Ghamra RIFAI, Iraq Project (July 12, 2018)] On July 12th, 2018 I had a video call interview with Miss Shelan Serwan, a facilitator of the Peace Yard of our Iraq project. We chatted about her life, her dreams, and her work with the children. At 40 °C degrees temperature, despite the power outages and the scorching heat Shelan started the video call with a big smile. When I asked her about herself, she said, “I’m from Baghdad, Kurdish, but my Kurdish is not that good, I speak better Arabic than Kurdish. I was born in 1994 and raised in Baghdad until 2007 when the sectarian confrontation between Sunni and Shia…

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MOSUL CELEBRATES THE SPRING FESTIVAL AFTER 16 YEARS OF SUSPENSION

[Ghamra RIFAI, Iraq Project (July 10, 2018)] On April 10, 1969 the first Mosul Festival was inaugurated and lasted for nine days. Many floats passed through the city in a huge parade presenting various periods of the Iraqi history such as Babylon and Islamic Golden Age, in addition to floats that represented the Pan-Arab mentality of the ruling Baath party. These floats included a model of Al-Aqsa mosque and the church of the holy sepulcher in Jerusalem. The festival was not limited to the parade but it included art performances, poetry reading and exhibitions such as the Mosul flower exhibition, and it was considered a great tourist attraction. After that,…

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Promoting Peace Building through ‘Peace Yard’ Activities

[Original by Ghamra Rifai, Volunteer of the Iraq Project Team and Emi Nakano, Assistant of the Iraq Project Team (6 March 2018); Translated by M. Kanai/R. Florea] Here is the report on the activities of ‘Peace Yard’implemented jointly by INSAN (Iraqi Society for Relief and Development) and JVC from August to October 2017. 1. Selection of participants In five districts including Rapareen in Kirkuk City, we approached the parents of children who were not attending school and called for participation in our Social Art Workshop. We had a meeting with the parents, explained our activities, and tried to obtain detailed information about the participating children. In cooperation with the INSAN…

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Towards “PEACE YARD” in August 2017

[Original by Emi NAKANO, Assistant of the Iraq Project (June 1, 2017); Translated by K. Adachi/R. Florea/M. Takahashi] The diverse ethnic groups such as Arab, Kurds, Turkmen, and Assyrian used to live together in harmony in Kirkuk prefecture located in the northeastern part of Iraq. Under the Hussein regime in 1980s, however, “Arabization” was carried out to immigrate Arabic inhabitants from outside and expel non-Arabic inhabitants, partly because of the rich oil resources. As a result, the tension among ethnic groups increased, and the security in this area was deteriorated. A local Iraqi NGO, INSAN, which means “human being” in Arabic, has been carrying out activity mainly in Kirkuk from…

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