IRAQ UPDATE: 1-31 December 2010



28 January 2010
December 2010

On team during this period were Chihchun Yuan and Bud

Wednesday, 1 December

Yuan, Courtney, and the team translator led two English
classes at the local youth activities center.  The first group was quiet and “shy,” but the team
sang songs together which got almost everyone involved.  The team decided to bring “We Shall
Overcome” translated into Arabic and Kurdish and English for all to learn
at the next meeting.

Thursday, 2 December

The team made plans with local partners to attend the guitar
workshop at the youth center next week.

Sunday, 5 December

The team met with local friends and partners to plan a New
Year’s party.  Another partner
visited in the afternoon.  He asked
if the team could help his cousin through his residency processes in Belgium by
writing a letter to corroborate that the cousin was, in fact, living in Suleimaniyah
after he left an armed group.  Team
members decided not to write the letter, because they did not know this cousin
or his situation personally.

Monday, 6 December

The team started work on translating video footage.

Tuesday, 7 December

Islamic New Year.

The team visited a friend at his grandmother’s home located
in one of the oldest areas of Suleimaniyah.  He spoke with the team for an hour about his upcoming trip
to Turkey.  He hopes to connect
with UN and be given asylum, after which he would like to study, earn his
degree and return to this region to work for change.

Wednesday 8 December

The team led English classes at the youth activities center
and worked with the classes to learn the song “We Shall Overcome” in Kurdish,
Arabic, and English.

Thursday, 9 December

The team went to Raniya and invited the guitar group to
perform in the New Year’s party in Suleimaniyah.  The guitarists played three songs and Courtney sang “We Shall
Overcome “ with them in English and Kurdish.

Saturday, 11 December

A small group from Pana for Peace came from Kirkuk to meet
with the team for an hour.  Together,
they discussed planning for a 25 December event.  The team invited Pana to take an hour of the party to read
poems and articles they have written and to perform music.

Sunday, December 12,

Yuan accompanied a partner to the city of Hawler to meet
with MCC.  This partner hopes that
MCC will support a project she is working on to offer sustainable food and
income to IDP families through livestock.

Saturday, 18 December

The team attended a protest led by Various NGOs and the
Gorran Political Alliance (a local political party).  Parliament secretly passed a law putting restrictions on
public demonstrations, which NGOs say will make it very difficult for people to
demonstrate for justice without high legal risk.  NGOs asked President Barzani to send the law back to
Parliament before signing it, in order to make time for public discussion of
the issue.  But, while the NGOs
were still negotiating with Barzani, they found out that he had (also secretly)
signed the law into practice days before.  This event sparked the protest.  Afterward, the NGO staff held a meeting to discuss steps for
amending this law.

Saturday, 25 December

The New Year’s Party started at 10:00 a.m.  The guitar group from Rania, the Pana
group of youth from Kirkuk, and the English class students in the Suleimaniyah youth
center all joined the party.  The
team led everyone in games, and the guests performed songs, poems, and music.

A partner from Kirkuk asked the other youth to write some
words for the people in Kirkuk.  They wrote,

Kirkuk is a flower . 
flowers cannot live without water
and Kurdish people cannot live without Kirkuk
Kirkuk is an injured bird, leaders
don’t want to treat it.
I love you Kirkuk.  Peace for Kirkuk.

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