Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Profiles of Courage - Updates on the Third Annual Week of Nonviolence in Iraq

All across Iraq communities are working to repair the damage of Iraq’s many wars - this is the third year of coordinated activities. These efforts to revive and restore are helping to create an environment to build a better future that meets the needs of all Iraqis.

The challenges they face are daunting. Communities have been devastated by unimaginable violence that has left hundreds of thousands dead, and one in five Iraqis forced from their homes. Communities are separated by walls and barriers, foreign occupation, bombings, and arrest sweeps.

This is the face of change we don’t often hear about.

Your help in drawing attention to these campaigns will help illustrate that peace and security in Iraq will come from Iraqis united, not a better foreign occupation. It is an opportunity to learn more about what Iraqis are identifying as their priorities.

To see what change looks like, visit the picture gallery that documents just some of the amazing activities. Remember, many of the groups in Iraq feel very isolated. To address that, the gallery is envisioned to have a duel role; to give us a snapshot of the activities taking place in Iraq, AND, by documenting our solidarity to show Iraqis that we are in support.

Below is a list of the current reports – keep an eye on the last link for the most resent updates. You will find reports the feature student organizing on campus, safe environments for children to play sports – with ‘no to violence’ jerseys, organizing among women’s groups, and the artists of Iraq.

Report Four: The Women of LaOnf
Report Three: Inspiration From Iraqi Artists
Report Two: Highlights From Day One
Report One: Elections as a Path to Nonviolence
Background and Goals: Focus on the Upcoming Iraqi Elections

You can find all of the reports here (September Eleventh Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow).

More information on LaOnf is available on their website in Arabic, Kurdish and English: The button for English translation is in the upper right hand corner of the site.

Open Letter of Support

International LaOnf Solidarity Campaign Supporting Iraqi Nonviolence Activists
LaOnf = NonViolence

Today in Iraq, there is a growing movement of citizens pursuing an end to violence, occupation and corruption through nonviolent means. LaOnf is a network of Iraqi organizations and individuals, from all religious and ethnic groups, with different ideological and political backgrounds, who have joined together to promote nonviolence as the most effective way to struggle for an independent, democratic, and peaceful Iraq.

LaOnf is neither a political party nor an organization: it is a free gathering of people, and any Iraqi committed to nonviolence is welcome to join. It has a democratic structure composed of elected councils and representatives from each of the 18 governorates (provinces) of Iraq. LaOnf members reject occupation and war as a means to build democracy and establish rule of law: they believe instead in promoting dialogue and a culture of peace.

On the 10th of October 2008, LaOnf members will start their annual campaign, the Iraqi Week of Nonviolence, in which they will advocate through nonviolent action for measures to ensure the freedom and security of Iraqis who will exercise their right to vote during Iraq’s upcoming governorate elections.

As believers in the power of nonviolence and supporters of an independent and democratic Iraq, governed by its people, free of foreign occupation, we, the undersigned, endorse the work of LaOnf and their activities during their Week of Nonviolence.


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