Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative

The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) is dedicated to bringing together Iraqi and international civil societies through concrete actions to build together another Iraq, with peace and Human Rights for all.

Call: Global Action Day “Sing, Play, Paint — Take a Stand for Hasankeyf”

Call for Global Action Day “Sing, Play, Paint — Take a Stand for Hasankeyf” on 14 September 2019:

Do not close Hasankeyf to the public! Stop the Ilisu Dam!

Once more we say “It is not too late for Hasankeyf” and call on people to support actions to save the ancient village of Hasankeyf and the Tigris River, which are threatened by the Ilisu Dam Project. All those people and organizations in favor of preserving life, nature and cultural heritage are invited to participate in the Global Action Day “Sing, Play, Paint — Take a Stand for Hasankeyf” on 14 September 2019. It is urgent that we act now with all of our energy and collective creativity for this place of outstanding heritage and immeasurable value, for the Turkish government has already started to fill the Ilisu Dam reservoir and has declared that it will close Hasankeyf to the public on 8 October 2019.

The filling of the dam reservoir has begun: although progress has been slow because it is summer, a few villages have already been flooded and abandoned (a total of 199 villages have been affected). The risk to communities, culture and the environment has become a reality. The last big river in the Middle East and its many tributaries could be destroyed soon, leading to a change in the local climate which would in turn contribute directly to the global climate crisis. The 12,000 year old town, Hasankeyf, with its rich heritage embracing two dozen cultures as well as 300 archaeological sites, is now under enormous threat. Losing Hasankeyf would be the annihilation of a deep memory in Upper Mesopotamia.

And the social impact would be enormous: up to 100,000 people in the affected region could end up in poverty given that their livelihoods would be ruined due to flooding. The adverse affects would also be experienced downstream, where not only Iraqis but also the people of Rojava/Syria have used the waters of the Tigris for thousands of years.

Because of the success of widespread protests involving many organizations and artists, the date to start filling the dam was pushed back from its initial plan of 10 June 2019. But on 23 July 2019 the government commenced the filling, and did it silently, without any public announcement of its work. However, we will not be discouraged and will continue to use other means to stop this potential tragedy from taking place. The Tigris Valley has not been lost yet, and there is much more to save. We believe that there is still hope for this region of immense natural beauty, rich culture and diverse people.

In our country, there are now real challenges to preservation. We need broad solidarity for the support of Hasankeyf and the Tigris, for the mountains of Ida, Cudi and Munzur, for the Salda Lake and the forests of the North. Together, let us raise our voices against this project of destruction, exploitation and hegemony. Together we can use art to stand up to the forces that want to override what is best both for the people and the environment. Join us on 14 September, come play your instrument and sing, paint a picture on paper or a mural on a wall, perform with friends or on your own, in short: make public art to save our natural and cultural heritage! There are so many ways to take a stand for Hasankeyf and the Tigris — as well as the many other sites under threat. Do not allow the heart of our region to be destroyed for the benefit of private companies and corrupt governments. Join with us and refuse to accept policies of destruction and repression.

We are making an urgent request to ensure that Hasankeyf is not closed to the public on 8 October 2019 as planned by the governor of Batman province. We must stop the filling of the Ilisu dam reservoir. We must work to establish a new participatory and democratic process which will decide fairly the future of this region. Stopping the Ilisu Project at this stage would benefit everybody in our society!

You can start to take action now by sharing images and videos using the hashtags #HasankeyfİçinGeçDeğil and #SaveHasankeyf. On 14 September at 8pm (7 pm Central European Time) we will be present on social media with new hashtags. Follow our accounts and website (or contact us directly) in order to join this crucial action day in order to bring threats to Hasankeyf and the Tigris into the public awareness.

We are not just dreaming when we claim that together we can stop the destructive Ilisu Dam from being completed. But Hasankeyf and the Tigris River need our solidarity now! We will never give up HOPE! But we need support from everybody, from countries all over the world NOW. We need the creativity of ALL!

It is not too late, it will be never too late for Hasankeyf and the Tigris River!

Hasankeyf is our culture, Tigris our nature!

Hasankeyf Coordination
(Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive is part of this new big alliance)

Twitter: @HasankeyfKoord and @hasankeyfdicle
Facebook: @HasankeyfKoord ve @hasankeyfyasatmagirisimi
Instagram: @hasankeyfkoord
hashtag: Until evening 14.9.2019: #HasankeyfİçinGeçDeğil and #SaveHasankeyf- on day of social media campaign we will share the new hashtags

More information (in English):