IRAQI KURDISTAN: July 2016 Newsletter–Border bombings, AVP training, what peace looks like and more!


20 August 2016
IRAQI KURDISTAN: July 2016 Newsletter–Border bombings, AVP training, what peace looks like and more!


View this email in your browser

July 2016


Iraqi Kurdistan


Border Bombings

No Place to Hide

By Julie Brown

One of the CPT partner communities in the Allana Gully impacted by Iranian cross border bombings into Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo by: Julie Brown.

“When the bombing starts, where do you hide?” That is what I asked Sulltan.
“There is no place.  Behind rocks, wherever we can. We all just run in every direction. Everyone has to find their own place.  Even the children.”

The last shelling started on June 23rd at 10am and did not stop until after noon.  The farmer said over 160 bombs fell on the small area in those two hours.  After it was over, many animals had been killed and three children were injured.  It was this story that we heard in detail as we documented the events of that day.

In the Choman District of Iraqi Kurdistan High in the mountains near the Iranian border lies the Allana Gully.  It was here that CPT visited after hearing reports of a recent cross border shelling from Iran. The drive through the mountains to this remote area was slow. The road is an unpaved rocky path that hangs on the sides of very steep mountain ledges. In many places it is so narrow that the wheels of our vehicle came dangerously close to sliding off the edge.

Read Julie’s full article here

Rashad is showing the areas that has been bombed by Iranian state to CPTers. Photo by: Julie Brown.

What Has Happened to Rashad’s Tea?

By Muhammad Salah

In the middle of Ramadan this year, farmers in Iraqi Kurdistan experienced bombing by Iran. In the last three years there were not any bombings along the border with Iran. It was also the first time the area of Barbazin in Sidakan sub-district was bombed so heavily.

The team decided to visit the area and to learn what had happened. After driving for several hours on the highway and unpaved roads we had the privilege to met Rashad. While I parked the car near his house, I could see him outside making a fire for his tea. Rashad stood up to look at these strangers coming to his tents. As I greeted him, he very warmly greeted me in return and firmly shook my hand. Through his eyes and smile I could see that he was excited to know more about who we were.

Read Muhammad’s full article here

Weze located near the Iranian border in Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo by: Peggy Gish.

What Peace Looks Like Here

By Peggy Gish

“Is this the village of Weza?” I asked my teammate, not believing what I was seeing. This did not look like the same village our team visited in June 2010. Weza, nestled in the mountains of northeastern Iraqi Kurdistan and close to the Iranian border, looked bigger.  Fields were larger and greener and the houses in better repair.  Residents, we spoke to, said that even though they know in the back of their mind that danger could return to their village, they feel more relaxed. Tourists are once again coming into the area for vacations, to enjoy the beautiful views and the milder summer temperatures.

Read Peggy’s full article here

سەمیعە, لەکاتی قسەکردنیدا لەگەڵ ئەندامانی ڕێکخراوەکەمان دەربارەی تۆپبارانەکانی ئەو دوایەیی گوندەکەیان. وێنەکە لەلایەن جولی بڕاونەوە گیراوە

نیەگەرانیەکانی سەمیعە بۆچی؟

لەتیف حارس

گوندی بەربزین، یەکێکە لەگوندەکانی ناحیەیی سیدەکان. کوێستانەکانی ئەو گوندە بە ئاو و فێنکن. زەوی  و کەش و هەواکەشی لەبارە بۆ کشتوکاڵ کردن، بەخێوکردنی مەڕوماڵات و پەلەوەر

خاوەنی زەوی و زاری ئەو گوندە خەریکی بەخێوکردنی مەڕ و ماڵاتن. هەموو ساڵێک بەهار، هاوین و بەشێکی پایزیش لە گوندەکەیان بەسەر دەبەن بەمەستی پەیداکردنی بژێویی ژیانیان. بۆ زۆربەی خەڵکی ئەو گوندە تاکە سەرچاوەی بژێویی ژیانیان ئەو شاخ و داخانەیە. بەڵام تۆپبارانەکانی  تورکیا و ئێران خەڵکی دەڤەری سیدەکان و بەتایبەتیش گوندی بەربزینیان خستۆتە ژێر مەترسیەکی گەورە

تەواوی گووتارەکەی لەتیف لێرە بخوێننەوە



The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)

CPT sideways with STEP, CSRO organizations and Ann Ward facilitated one Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshop in the third week of July, 2016. AVP workshops teach the participants tools on how to transform violence, anger and unbalanced power dynamics in their lives.

We were thrilled to train around 21 participants from three different communities such as 7 Yazidis, 7 Arabs, 7 Shabaks from Ashty Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in Arbat and a few were from the Iraqi Kurdish host community.

At the end of the three day workshop, participants expressed their hopes of having more of this type of training in the future and sang together. One participant, an Arab IDP, said that AVP has taken him to a different world.

AVP Graduation Photo




A construction worker in Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan. Photo by: Peggy Gish.

War Looms on Their Borders, but Life Goes On
Peggy Gish

Even in the 110 F. heat, Kamal* works daily as part of a construction crew, building a several-story-high building in our residential neighborhood of the city of Suleimani.  He stopped a moment, in the hot sun, to pose for my photo, not minding the short break from his work.

Read Peggy’s full reflection here


Saying Goodbye

Caldwell Manner

He was in Kurdistan on project exchange from his full time position in CPT Colombia. During his two months in Kurdistan, Caldwell took a lot of initiative from reorganizing the team to helping new team members have a better understanding of CPT. Furthermore, his brilliant photography, design and writing skills contributed a lot to the team. The team will miss his happy and lively presence.


Join our next delegation, September 10-23. Click here to find out more.


We need your support to continue doing this work. Please consider donating to cover: 
$5 – Food for a CPTer for one day
$50 – Day trip to a village
$250 – Support for our team members to learn the local language.
$500 – Support for a local delegation participant










Mission: Christian Peacemaker Teams: Building partnerships to transform violence and oppression.
Vision: A world of communities that together embrace the diversity of the human family and live justly and peaceably with all creation.
Values: Christian Peacemaker Teams is committed to work and relationships that: Honor and reflect the presence of faith and spirituality; Strengthen grassroots initiatives; Transform structures of domination and oppression; Embody creative non-violence and liberating love.


Subscribe to the Friday Bulletin

Get Hannah’s thoughts and the entire bulletin every Friday in your inbox, and don’t miss out on news from the teams, a list of what we’re reading and information on ways to take action.

Read More Stories

Do you see us now?

The Israeli military withdrew from the al-Shifa hospital complex after a two-week raid. Eye-witnesses tell of a hellscape.

Building Partnerships to Transform Violence and Oppression

Community Peacemaker Teams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless noted. Feel free to republish and share widely. For permissions beyond the scope of this license contact us.
Skip to content