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From Baghdad to Boston, We Reject Violence!

22 April 2013 One Comment

Baghdad Marathon

Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative [ICSSI] and the Baghdad Marathon
Baghdad, Iraq 

“In the wake of the Boston tragedy, they have redirected themselves to a race that will prove that the streets of Baghdad can be made peaceful for sports, and that sports can promote a culture of nonviolence.”

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The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative [ICSSI] and the Baghdad Marathon want to extend our condolences to the families of the victims of the explosions that took place at the Boston Marathon, in Baghdad, and elsewhere in Iraq on April 15th. We grieve for all those killed and injured by these explosions targeting innocent, peaceful people. We reject the idea that violence is ever an effective means to make a statement or promote a cause. In solidarity with the people of Iraq and the U.S., we want to understand why these tragic events occurred, to seek justice for the victims, but most importantly to promote a culture of nonviolence in which differences are resolved by dialogue, and to build a world in which public sporting events create communities of trust and peace.

Boston

The two powerful bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon killed at least three people, including an 8-year-old child, and injured more than 130 people. The Boston Marathon, while a world-class sporting event, has always also been about community values, charity, and good works. This year the 26th and final mile of the Marathon, where the bombs went off, had been dedicated to the victims of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. “26 miles to honor 26 victims,” read the banners and signs. The spirit of healing that slogan conveys is one of the ways that sports promote peace. It should inspire us all to work for nonviolence wherever we live.

Baghdad, and Beyond

Tragically, deadly explosions are all too common in Baghdad, but April 15th was a particularly devastating day. According to Iraqi security sources and medical personnel, at least 79 people were killed or wounded by six explosions in different parts of Baghdad. Seventeen car bombs went off in other parts of northern, central, and southern Iraq, killing or wounding at least 219 people – nearly 300 in total. Among the victims were innocent bystanders, government officials, police, and candidates in the local elections that were to be held in Iraq on April 20th. This loss of human lives is intolerable.

Another Way

As we mourn and grieve, we must work together to promote alternatives to violence. We must reject the belief that individuals, movements, or nations can ever solve their problems through violence. We must reject calls for revenge or further violence. The ICSSI has promoted solidarity with nonviolence and human rights activists in Iraq since 2009. These activists are the greatest hope for a renewed and peaceful Iraq. One of their dreams is to hold a Baghdad Marathon. In the wake of the Boston tragedy, they have redirected themselves to a race that will prove that the streets of Baghdad can be made peaceful for sports, and that sports can promote a culture of nonviolence. A Baghdad Marathon would be a vitally important event that could help us all to heal.

This post originally appeared on the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative – مبادرة تضامن المجتمع . Visit their website at: http://icssi08.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network

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One Comments to “From Baghdad to Boston, We Reject Violence!”
  1. Daniel Moskowitz says:

    I have always been close with my friend, Mahmood Faris in Mosul, Iraq, but it is a common Occurrence that a Bomb will go off while we are Chatting. A “Boston Marathon Bombing” type of Event every Few Weeks. I could say that That sounds insane. However, even Locally, I notice Rising Tendencies towards FACTIONALISM and an Absence of Authentic Communication. Unfortunately, many people don’t use the Internet to Address Problems as much as to be Entertained. Therefore, as Economic and Environmental Stresses increase in the United States, I would anticipate more of a Type of Violence similar to what goes on in Iraq unless the SOURCES of these Stresses are ADDRESSED and Aleviated. No Violence is ever JUSTIFIED, but It always has Root Causes.

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