Today begins the 56th annual Fellowship of Reconciliation conference in Seabeck, Washington, and some 200 FOR members and friends will gather for four days of workshops, music, keynote speeches, and fellowship over this July 4th weekend.
“This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the 4th of July. It is the birthday of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, is what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the clay, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act that day….
The people of Iraq and Syria have suffered beyond what many of us could ever comprehend. We acknowledge our deep complicity in and relationship to the brutal violence devastating their homelands. Our inability to stem the roots of violence at home and abroad is manifested in the bloodshed and oppression wrought upon the Syrian and Iraqi peoples.
On June 17, 2014, we are a group of Iraqi intellectuals (academics, artists, authors, journalists, and civil activists) from all Iraqi provinces, including Kurdistan region, who agree to launch a comprehensive national initiative to save Iraq, stop the political and security deterioration, and get our homeland out of the crucial crisis that threatens its unity.
The Ka`ba is the cubical stone building that forms the focus of the hajj pilgrimage. It is also the point of convergence for Muslims at prayer everywhere, who turn to face it when the time comes for ritual devotions. It is the center of the circle of yearning and aspiration, and as such is one of the most pregnant symbols conceivable for the spiritual imagination of Islam.
“Those Iraqis have been fighting each other for centuries,” a friend recently said to me. I have heard this mistaken view so often that I had to take several deep breaths before replying.
In 1991, the United States bombed and invaded the sovereign country of Iraq. While Iraq at the time was ruled by a dictator, as were other countries in the region, the country functioned reasonably well for most Iraqis. Saddam was brutal to those who opposed his rule but education and health care were free to all citizens. The regime was disproportionately comprised of minority Sunnis.
This August 15 to 17 in Berkeley, California, young adults and their elders will gather for an intergenerational summit on social, economic, and racial justice. Will you be there?
I left Iraq in 2010 and studied academic English in Damascus for a year then started my bachelor’s degree in Montana. I was born and raised in Baghdad. I mainly came to the United States for studying and to experience traveling.