7 December 2017
IRAQI KURDISTAN: CPTers celebrate with partners from Baste village an important achievement – connection to electrical grid – which the community strove for for many years
by Lukasz Firla
Christian Peacemaker Teams has accompanied the community of Baste and their mukhtar – traditional community leader – kak Bapir since the early days of the team’s presence in Iraqi Kurdistan, for over ten years now. Baste is an ancient village, famous widely for being a “Peace village”, for providing a safe haven for women and men running from blood feuds and for negotiations between warring Kurdish clans and armies.
Yet, the invading armies have shown no respect for this well-established oasis of peace that saved many lives and helped end a war of two Kurdish fractions. The Iraqi military razed the village once. In the past three decades, the Turkish warplanes and Iranian artillery shells have destroyed, damaged or emptied Baste countless times. Following each attack, the farmers and shepherds of Baste returned to restore their beautiful homes and fertile fields and orchards, and to revive their great flocks of black-haired goats and sheep.
However, the one thing that they could not achieve was a connection to the electrical power grid. As a community alone, or with other community leaders and in partnership with CPT, they kept on asking the local government officials for the connection to power over and over again. Meanwhile, they used generators fueled by kerosene in times of highest need, even though nearby villages have enjoyed electricity since a long time ago. The political parties were not fans of the subversive nature of Baste’s peacemaking activities.
Last week, Baste has finally won. The electricity for a village under constant threat of Turkish airstrikes is an important milestone of Baste’s long-term persistence. The CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team would like to express our deepest joy for this great achievement of the community and to share a photograph from the invitation to celebrate over a meal with team’s partners from Baste and other local and regional mukhtars.