IRAQ UPDATE: 23 April-3 May 2008

24 May 2008
IRAQ UPDATE: 23 April-3 May 2008

Wednesday, 23 April
Beth Pyles, Chi Chun Yuan, and Michele Naar-Obed visited the women Peshmerga at their base in Fermandi. This Peshmerga Women’s Unit formed twelve years ago, with the support of Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish President of Iraq, and the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan). Women who want to join the Peshmerga must belong to the PUK, (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan), the political party to which Talabani belongs. As the team left, the female general said, in an expression of solidarity, “We are women first, Peshmerga second.”

Monday, 28 April
Yuan and Naar Obed traveled to Erbil to meet with Dara Khailany and Mrs. Pakhshan, the outgoing and incoming KRG (Kurdish Regional government) liaisons with the UN, regarding the accompaniment of the Iraqi Kurdish villagers displaced by Turkish and Iranian bombings. Both were impressed by the offer of this work. They said that no other NGO (Nongovernmental Organization) has offered assistance like this and the KRG needs NGOs like CPT on the ground.

Thursday, 1 May

Pyles and Anita David observed a parade, with many people carrying red banners through the city streets. A man pulled someone from the marchers who spoke English to explain that the event was a May Day Parade. The marchers, he said, were not only workers, but also employers and the unemployed.

Saturday, 3 May

David and Naar Obed met with Mr. Ayoub of the NGO Darstan to inform him that the CPT offices in North America approved CPT Iraq’s request to place CPT Iraq’s name on Darstan’s USAID grant proposal. The team presented the following to Mr. Ayoub:

“ CPT Iraq, a part of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT, an NGO organized according to the laws of the State of Illinois, United States of America, working in the Kurdish region of Iraq), agrees to facilitate the efforts of Darstan, an Iraqi NGO organized and working in the KRG, to find a partner or partners in the U.S. to participate in the 'Building a Bridge Between the Iraqi and the American Children.'" The projects consist generally of the creation and distribution of media materials, such as magazines and self-made videos by Kurdish, Arab, Turkoman and Christian children in Iraq to the children in the U.S for the promotion of peace-building and cultural understanding.