A Letter of Solidarity from Iraqi Civil Society to Civil Society in Lebanon
We’ve lit candles and raised the Lebanese flag in our cities and towns, we’ve prayed for mercy for all the injured and martyrs, but we’ve found that this solidarity is not enough. So we’ve chosen now to express our feelings of support with this letter of solidarity. Let us highlight the common denominators that unite the struggles of both countries, let us enhance the opportunities for cooperation among our people in order to move up and out of the difficult situations we face.
Iraqis know the pain, the destruction and the damage the Lebanese are going through more than many others. Like Lebanon, Iraq too has suffered from wars and conflict on its soil, leaving wounds in the collective memory. Iraqis thus feel a responsibility to show solidarity, to extend a helping hand to assist the Lebanese in moving beyond the consequences of the humanitarian tragedy country now faces.
The Iraqi and Lebanese people stood against corruption at the same time: thousands of peaceful protesters went to the streets in Lebanon on the 17th and in Iraq on the 25th of October 2019. These powerful, nonviolent movements have come to be known as the October Revolution. At that time, the people of both countries were calling for similar changes, both were united against a single adversary — corruption. Peaceful demonstrations in both countries called out for a change in the political quota system and a reform of the governmental joint management mechanism. The struggle continues in both countries to stop foreign interference and strengthen national sovereignty.
In the march of our common struggle for peace, freedom and the elevation of rights, we have shared similar experiences which have in turn supported and reinforced each other’s steps forward. The nonviolence movement in Lebanon was the inspiration for the Iraqi nonviolence movement. Peaceful activists from each country have cooperated to raise their voices amplifying calls for justice. Organizations such as ‘’Baskit Defeats the Lebanese’’ and ‘’Sports Against Violence’’ have cooperated constructively. Iraqi activists have worked to create effective social alternatives to spread the values of peace and reject violence by turning to sports. There was also cooperation between the group ‘’Save Marj Bisri’’ in Lebanon and the ‘’Save the Tigris and Iraqi Marshes’’ campaign in Iraq. The ‘’Save the Tigris’’ initiative continues to work to protect the environment, specifically water resources in the countries of the region. The ‘’She Revolution’’ campaign in Iraq has also benefitted from an exchange of experiences with Lebanese activists on women’s rights issues and confronting domestic violence.
This deep relationship between Iraqi and Lebanese civil societies has always been an opportunity to strengthen our joint work and to enhance our ability to promote and defend shared social goals. As members of ICSSI, we seek to reinforce this relationship and are confident that together we will achieve more success in our common struggles.