Tag Archives: future;

Story of Love, Reconciliation, and Healing – Preemptive Love Coalition

I “liked” Preemptive Love Facebook page after I watched its founder’s – Jeremy Courtney’s – heartwarming, optimistic TED talk at TEDxBaghdad2011. Every now and then PLC Facebook page would post personalized photo-stories about their patients with blogs entries talking about things range from meeting the patient to after-surgery celebration. I came across a photo-story today about love, hope, and kindness in their finest and purest forms (pictures below, or can be viewed here.) Because we hear about suffering, disasters, misery all the time, it aches me to say that sometimes people’s pain becomes mere background noise. Not for the Courtneys.

Beautiful Nivar

Jeremy walked the extra mile to change the sad, sick, helpless realities of Iraqi kids. “Dissatisfied with mere sympathy, Jeremy started looking for solutions,” to alleviate some of the suffering in Iraq. After their visit to Iraq in 2006, the Courtneys decided to “love and serve the poor” and starting PLC. (Here’s a little bit of a bio about them here.)

Nivar’s echocardiogram

Anyways, today as I was going through my usual, religious duty of Facebook-ing, I came across a touching photo-story about Nivar – the girl with congenital heart defect. Iraqi Nivar was transported to Istanbul for a much-needed heart surgery to fix her Tetralogy of Fallot that is most debilitating and potentially life-threatening, thanks to Preemptive Love Coalition staff and surgeons. I initially had a gut-wrenching feeling about Nivar but as I read her story, and scrolled through her photos, I was filled with feelings of optimism, love, and hope. Why PLCers do it? It’s because “we work because we love, and we hope that love can be shared with everyone who donates to a child.”

Nivar Prepped & Ready For Surgery

Read one of PLC’s staffs experiences in Nivar’s home before she was given surgery. http://preemptivelove.org/2010/06/27/revisiting-nvar-helped-plc-family-advocate-refocus-on-plc-goals/

Nivar made it through surgery!

I strongly urge you to donate to help PLC taking on more cases. Or simply, talk about PLC’s work. Bring to people’s attention the plight of Iraqi kids.

Click to go to [PLC] blog and read about our excitement when Nivar made it out of surgery with total correction!
http://preemptivelove.org/2010/07/21/nivars-surgery-results-in-total-correction/

More pictures and short photo-stories can be found PLC Facebook page.

PLC twitter page: @preemptivelove
Looking for summer internships with PLC click here.

Video: Four Iraqi Children Arrive in Istanbul for Lifesaving Heart Surgery

Taken from Preemptive Love Coalition website: http://preemptivelove.org/2010/07/20/video-four-children-arrive-in-istanbul-for-lifesaving-heart-surgery/

Please donate, help, or simply share/talk about PLC. You might be the cause of saving some kid’s life.

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أيضيع العراق بين خامنئية شيعية وصدامية سنية؟

ملاحظة

أرجو من جميع من تصله هذه الرسالة اعادة ارسالها ليقرأها الجميع لانها بالفعل تمثل خارطة طريق لمن يحبالعراق ويحاول ان يعيد بناءه

أيضيع العراق بين خامنئية شيعية وصدامية سنية؟

مشكلتنا أننا سنة وشيعة… مشكلتنا أن هناك قلوبا لا تنبض إلا شيعيا، وأخرى لا تنبض إلا سنيا. 

مشكلتنا أن هناك عقولا لا تفكر إلا سنيا، وأخرى لا تفكر إلا شيعيا… مشكلتنا أن هناك من يريد عراقا شيعيا، وآخرون يريدون عراقا سنيا. سيسألني الشيعي: أتريدني أن أتخلى عن كوني شيعيا؟ كما سيسألني السني: أتريدني أن أتخلى عن أكون سنيا؟ لو كان سؤال كل منهم على نحو الاستشارة مع الاستعداد على الاستجابة لمشورتي، لقلت نعم، كفاكم تمسكا بهويتَيكم الشيعية أو السنية.! 

ولكن لكون هذا يمثل مطلبا وأمنية غير واقعيين، ولكوننا كعلمانيين ديمقراطيين نؤمن بالحرية، نحترم قناعات الناس وعقائدهم، نقول لهم: كن يا أخي السني سنيا، وكن يا أخي الشيعي شيعيا، لكن يا أخي الشيعي كن شيعيا في بيتك، في حسينيتك، وفي مرقد إمامك، وكن يا أخي السني سنيا في بيتك، في مسجدك، في ضريح وليّك، ولكن رجاءً رجاءً، لعيون العراق، اتركا بالله عليكما هويتكما المذهبية في البيت، واخرجا إلى الشارع، إلى المجتمع، إلى الحياة العامة، إلى الوظيفة، إلى المعمل، إلى الحقل، إلى البرلمان، إلى الحياة بلا بصمة شيعية، وبصمة سنية. 

عندها فقط سننعم بالسلام، والأمان، وستسود المحبة والاحترام المتبادل حياتنا الاجتماعية.

هل هذا مطلب مستحيل؟ لو رأيتَ – كرجل – امرأة جميلة جذابة المنظر، ولو رأيتِ – كامرأة – رجلا وسيما جذاب المنظر، هل ستفكران ما إذا كانت هذه المرأة الجميلة، أو ذلك الرجل الوسيم شيعيين أو سنيين، مسلمين أو مسيحيين، عربيين أو كرديين؟

لو استمعت لمحاضرة علمية مفيدة في مجال اختصاصها، من محاضِرٍ يتمتع بالعلم والاختصاص، فهل يهمك أن يكون شيعيا، أو سنيا، أو مسلما، أو ملحدا؟

لو كان مُدرِّس الرياضيات في مدرستك أيها الطالب وأيتها الطالبة قد نجح في مساعدتك لأول مرة في استيعاب مادة الرياضيات، التي كنت تلاقي صعوبة في استيعابها، هل ستسأل بالله عليك، أسني هو أم شيعي، أو مدريشنهي؟

لو رأيت لاعبا في مباراة لكرة القدم، انبهرت بمهارته، وقدرته على الحركة السريعة والمدروسة والأنيقة بالكرة، وبين اللاعبين، وعلى التهديف المتتالي، أستصفق له بعدما تعرف لأي طائفة ينتمي؟ 

لو رأيت أطفالا يلعبون ويمرحون، وأسعدك وأسرّك منظرهم، لما فيه من جمال، وبراءة، ومرح طفولي، أستسأل عما إذا كانوا من أسر سنية، أو شيعية، أو صابئية، أو مسيحية؟ 

لو كنت تتذوق الفن ورأيت لوحة تشكيلية رائعة، أعجبتك، وأبهرتك، وسحرتك، أسيكون موقفك من اللوحة مختلفا أيها الشيعي، لو علمت أن مبدعها سني، أو أيها السني لو علمت أنه شيعي، أو أيها المسلم أن مبدعها إيزيدي أو لا ديني؟ 

لو رأيت عمارة ذات فن معماري رائع واستثنائي، أيهمك عندما يسحرك جمال الإبداع المعماري فيها، أن يكون مصممها شيعيا، أو سنيا، أو مسيحيا، أو يهوديا؟

تماما هكذا هي السياسة.. ما معنى أن يهمني في تحديد موقفي من السياسي، أن أعرف انتسابه لطائفتي أو للطائفة الأخرى.

لكن مشكلتنا ليست في المواطن وحسب، وهي فيه بلا شك، لكن ليست حصرا، كما ليست في السياسي فحسب، وهي فيه بلا شك، فعندما يفكر السياسي سنيا عندما يكون سنيا، ويفكر شيعيا عندما يكون شيعيا، وهكذا عندما يحدد موقفه من أي قضية، ويحدد انتماءه، وولاءه، ومعارضته، وسكوته أو اعتراضه على أي من تدخلات الدول الإقليمية، عندما يحدد كل ذلك، في ضوء شيعيته أو سنيته،؟ 

كيف ننتظر منه أن يبني وطنا؟ لأن السني سيريد أن يبني وطنا سنيا، لأن خارطته التي رسمها للوطن خارطة سنية، والشيعي سيريد أن يبني وطنا شيعيا، لأن خارطته التي رسمها للوطن خارطة شيعية.

لماذا لا يستنكر الشيعي قبل السني : التدخل الإيراني المُضِرّ، والفضّ، والوقِح، والمخرِّب؟ ولماذا لا يستنكر السني قبل الشيعي : التدخل التركي-القطري-السعودي المُضِرّ، والفضّ، والوقِح، والمخرِّب؟

أوطنيٌّ من ينبض قلبه بالولاء.. لخامنئي؟ وأوطنيٌّ من ينبض قلبه بالولاء للقادة السعوديين والقطريين والأتراك، أو أن يرف حنينا لعهد صدام !؟ 

أوطنيٌّ ذلك الشيعي عندما يبرئ الخميني من كوارث حرب الثماني سنوات، ويعلم أنه هو الذي أصر على مواصلة الحرب من السنة الثالثة ولست سنوات، رغم استعداد صدام لوقفها بلا شرط !؟ 

أو أوطنيٌّ ذلك السني عندما يبرئ صدام من كوارث حرب الثماني سنوات مع ايران وحرب الكويت، وهو يعلم أنه هو الذي بدأهما برعونته، ويحن لعهد صدام، رغم المقابر الجماعية وحلبجة والأنفال والدجيل وغيرها؟

السنة الوطنيون والعقلاء براء من كل ذلك، كما الشيعة الوطنيون والعقلاء براء مما ذكرنا. 

لكن لماذا يعمم الشيعي تهمة البعث والإرهاب والتكفير على السنة ؟ ولماذا يعمم السني تهمة العمالة لإيران على الشيعة ؟

ثم إذا أصررتم على أن تكونوا مواطنين سنة، ومواطنين شيعة، وأن تكونوا مواطنين عربا، ومواطنين كردا، قبل أن تكونوا عراقيين، فأخبرونا بالله عليكم : أين مكاننا نحن اللامذهبيون، اللاسنيون، واللاشيعيون، في هذا الوطن ؟ أين مكان المسيحيون المسالمون، والصابئة الخائفون، والإيزيدية المكفَّرون،!

وأين مكان من ليس له علاقة بأيٍّ من ذلك في هذا الوطن !؟ 

أم تريدون أن نرى أشلاء وطن، هنا شِلوة شيعية، وهناك شِلوة سنية، وأخرى كردية، وجزء آخر (مُختلَط) تتناوشه المخالب، كل يريد ضمه إلى هذه الشُّلَيْوة أو تلك؟

تبقى مشكلتنا أنّا شيعة، وتبقى مشكلتنا أنّا سنة !!!.

10/01/2013

ضياء الشكرجي

ضياء الشكرجي

dia.shakarchi44@yahoo.de

http://www.nasmaa.org

Iraqi Youth, Whereto?

Iraqi Boys

“Our history, our memory, our perceptions of the future, are all built and held within stories,” Dahir Jamail, Beyond the Green Zone. Since the extensive abrupt change that happened to many Iraqis generally and the young ones particularly, especially in 2003, many social and mental disciplines had been changing. Some of them started to expose to public, for instance, from expatriation, emigration, being far from one’s own country, to the mental and psychic disorder. Some of these issues started to vanish or disappear, commitment and patriotism for instance. Iraqis adapted the Idea of traveling and abandoning their houses, friends and country, simply because Iraqis wanted to get rid of all the confusion and disorientation that Iraq had been facing the past few years. Those poor years in numbers, are rich in incidents. Those incidents had their negative affect on people on different perspectives. The ones who really were injured because of these horrible incidents, were the young Iraqis! They had to face many responsibilities that they didn’t have to face before. Some of those young Iraqis went to find a job to further their life-class, while others found their way to European countries seeking re-settlement or fleeing from religion sectarian conflicts! Many causes and our youth is paying the price.

Traveling and Knocking on Emigration Doors

People at their early life with their early stages suffered a lot because of IraqAn Iraqi refugee hold his national flag ready to board on buses in Sit Zainab, a southern suburb in Damascus, in November 27’s wounds. Some of them carried out these sufferings inside their country, while others add additional weight to their chests – mourning and enduring on their beloved occupied country – by tolerating these sufferings outside their country. Recent  conditions separated between friends, lovers, relatives and even between east and west. There are many opinions, someone supports leaving country, while some other oppose it.

I had the chance to meet a student at the Technology University, Baghdad. Mohamed Saleh, 21 years old, rejects the idea of leaving the country for foreigners “Why do we run away from our own reality. That’s what meant for us to live, and thanks God I live in my country,” he said “I haven’t lost my dignity, dislike many others I know outside Iraq,” he adds. This young man has an interesting way of thinking. Saleh thinks that leaving the country is hard, and he has his reasonable reasons, “I have no intentions to be in the middle of this scary adventure, emigrating is a hard experience that I don’t want to try, and hopefully, I will not be forced to try it. It is exhausting, physically and mentally,” he explains.

On the other side of this equation, Ali Mahmoud, a 23-year-old refugee, Damascus, Syria, disagrees with Saleh “living in my country became desperate and unbearable.” Mahmoud faced many difficulties in his life. He was threatened by an unknown militia. “If I want to improve myself and develop my skills, I have to go to Europe. I’m aware of the difficulties I might face there, and I’m capable to deal with them. Simply because, I have nothing to do other than that,” he says, explaining his future plans.

The negative pattern of emigration will, surely, reduce and may be eliminate one’s skills and capabilities. Indeed, their passion for participating, creativity, originality, and planning for their big picture – future will be injured.

The Positives and Negatives of Emigrating, and Its Impact

Emigrating is like a funnel where positives and negatives are pouring through. Positive – negative, two intuitive concepts that we’re familiar with in every single experience in life. What if this experience was migrating? What if emigrating meant separating from your beloved belongings and people. Many opinions and points of view regarding these questions!

Through my involvement in working things out for refugees, I met an incredible personality. Mohamed Faleh, a 20-year-old student, living in Damascus, Syria, talked to me about his opinion “Emigration has a direct impact on one’s life psychologically. They used to live with their families and friends; doing activities that they can’t engage in them only in their home country.” Leaving country is harsh in Faleh’s perspective “When I was compelled to leave my country, I felt different kinds of negative feelings, depression and frustration for instance. It is very normal that people grief and sorrow, it’s like a big mountain lay upon my chest,” he explains. He thinks that migrating sufferance vary from one country to another. Living in an Arabic world is different from European side of world, for instance, “Although I live in an Arab-Islamic world, where people nearly have the same nationality and speak my language, still, I miss my school and neighborhood.” In addition, he said that “on the one hand, here in Syria, as a refugee, I had the chance to learn more about Syrian culture and accent, and their way of living, on the other hand, daily, you have to worry about work, food, education and money.”

Arej Emad, 21 years old college-student in Arbid University, Jordan. She finds that negatives of emigration are far more than positives, “I don’t think that there are positives in migration,” she said. She thinks that the moment a one leaves their country and becomes a refugee, they will worry about things they didn’t worry about before. “Most refugees have psychological issue that they have to live with, because of bad news about Iraq, the separation from their beloved ones, redundancy and managing to live for a next day in the host country,” she adds. Emad agreed with me about the sad fact of education fees. They are so high that some of families cannot afford them because of redundancy and prohibiting working in host countries.

Education, Standards and Curriculum Changes

Curriculum, teaching styles and methods, class standards and accent change are the biggest problems that Iraqi students are complaining about. While some of them cannot study due to those factors, other managed to cope with them to complete or continue their education.

The Iraqi Cultural Council (ICC) in Syria is offering an exceptional chance to do the Iraqi version of baccalaureate – in Iraqi curriculum. I was there; I saw a face with an optimistic look full with hope, prospect and confidence, Ahmed Ismail. This 20-year-old student, who likes to be called as a man instead of a student, lost faith in himself when he failed two times in his last year of high school. Ismail faced hard times back in Baghdad. He received many kinds of threats from unknown militias “I came to Syria running away from killings in streets.” He did his transcripts and carried them out to The Syrian Ministry of Education, to be part of the Syrian baccalaureate. Problems in specific fields of study were faced by Ismail; as a result, he failed in his first year of baccalaureate and the year after, “Physics and Math were the hardest rivals in my two baccalaureate years. Symbols and names were different than the ones I’m familiar with. I was confused, my head kept swirling, I have names and symbols from the eight years of my study in Iraq, and now I have names and symbols from my six months of study!” He explains. Ismail tried the Iraqi version of baccalaureate. At that time, in front of the ICC, Ismail was waiting for his marks. Therefore, I waited with him; the results came and Ismail passed that vexing term of his study.

 

On contrary, I met Maryam Al Rubaie, a 19-year-old high-scholer. Changing curriculums and teaching styles are the advantages of being a refugee in host country, as she noted, “all the manners are poured in one funnel.” Another advantage, students will have the chance to access different kinds of syllabus. As a matter of fact, it’s good to educate in different environment, Syria, than the one you were familiar with, Iraq “I can see no wrong in learning Syrian curriculum. Teachers, students speak my language. I can know more about Syria’s culture and traditions.” She mentioned that we, Iraqi students, are an ambition and well-known with our intelligence, intellectual capacity, smartness and talent.

Customs, Traditions, Folklores and Rituals

Tradition is a strict and complicated concept in our, unfortunately, closed-society. Those rituals manipulating human-communities, and this manipulation will end up in the creation of one’s personality. That’s why we notice stereotypes in Chinese, Western and Middle Eastern personalities. It will be an understatement to say that this is who we are, a bunch of traditions. Unquestionably, when two cultures are mixed, we will have a unique culture that breaks stereotypes’ cultures.

Through the internet, which brings people closely than they are, I interviewed a young woman, who lived nearly thirteen years in Netherlands. A 22-year-old Zahra Ali is studying medicine in one of Netherlands universities. She clarifies the differences in the cultures, Dutch and Arabs’, but that didn’t stop her from continuing her life though. “There is a huge gap between the Iraqi’s and the European countries in every aspect of life. It’s hard to live here, because I have two cultures and one identity – Arabic,” she said. The young Dutch have their way of living, which varies from the Arabic way of living. Dutch do things that Arab can’t do, as a result, Arabs got rejected because of their beliefs. They feel that Arabs are crazy; they don’t respect Arabs’ beliefs, “I know how to deal with such discriminate people, I’ve been here for thirteen years.” What comes in parents’ mind is that how they going to control their children behavior in such communities where everything is allowed under many justifications. Western communities have a completely different way of living; it’s not just about accent. Indeed, those non-Arab people have different way of dealing with things; this kind of actions is not acceptable in Eastern communities, “Now I’m living my life as an Arab, because that’s who I’m. A party will not change my identity, trust me!”

Totally the opposite – in other side of the world I met a person. An Iraqi-Syrian, Karar Abbas 24 years old, live in Humus, has another look to the Syrian culture “In my humble opinion, I think that there is no such thing called – Iraqi and Syrian culture – I remember that my father usually said “The Iraqi say ‘where you want to go? Syria,’ and the Syrian say ‘where you want to go? Iraq.’ That’s because the two countries are not too far from each other.” In addition to that, Iraqi people marry Syrians and Syrians marry Iraqis.

The Freedom That was Obtained Throughout Loneliness and Being Lost in the Exile

Diverse and democratic societies enable young people to think freely. A person usually reflects the values of an era or time that he/she lives in. However, there is an exception to that rule, when someone comes up with new ideas that don’t fit their period of time.

A twenty-year-old network engineer student in Damascus, Ahmed Samir, explained that the concept of freedom was misunderstood by some parts of society, “Freedom, democracy and transparency issues, those appealing words that have been introduced lately to the Iraqi scene were understood and applied in a wrong and uncivilized way.” Unfortunately, this misunderstood freedom was used by some young men to break the law. In my personal perspective, I believe that establishing the freedom of a person on someone else’s is a savage and disturbed way of using freedom. I also believe that we are not actually living in the freedom time while there are still some restrictions on freedom. On the other side of this picture, Omar Mohamed, 18 years old, illustrate his opinion in quite few words “When a man leaves his country, the dignity and freedom concepts will be vanish. I don’t believe that there is freedom in an exile because no freedom for people without home!

One day I went to a café where Iraqis used to hang out. As usual, I saw a bunch of Iraqis who used to play cards, backgammon or domino. When I started to talk to them, they took a deep breath, I sensed the rage and depression inside this breath, and they said, “We are young men living alone here in Syria because of the grave conditions in Iraq. We often come to this café, so that we kill our free time and the feelings of failure. We couldn’t find anything else other than playing cards to fill up this huge space inside us.”

Iraqi Youth’s Big Picture – Their Future

Future has a unique definition for Iraqis, it might be different for other nationalities. Regarding those mischievous actions of killings and discomforts, Iraqis’ future definition had been changed, as a result, the combination of migration and loneliness had a direct impact on their life in the exile. As noted before, there are positives and negatives. Refugees should think positively in order that positive things will come to them. I have faith and positive hoping in those young Iraqis. We hope much in the coming generation of young Iraqis, whose life is full with experiences. They will re-build our country, get it out from dark and put the cornerstone for a new community full with gratitude and determination to their life.