The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative, August 28, 2015.
Thousands of Iraqi people will take the streets of their cities today, as they do every Friday since end of July, in massive popular demonstrations that denounce corruption in the country and the political bankruptcy of the ruling sectarian political parties. In spite of the approval of economic, political and administrative reform measures by the Parliament on August 11 in response to the demands of the Iraqi street, people are skeptical: will reforms produce a tangible outcome?
ICSSI calls international activists and organizations to send solidarity messages to the Iraqi people, through pictures and selfies with slogans and messages for those who are demonstrating in Baghdad and many other cities. Post your pictures on social media using hashtags #withIraqidemos #ICSSI and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will print a poster collecting pictures who arrive before each Friday and bring copies of the poster in the demonstrations in Baghdad, giving them to activists of the Iraqi Social Forum.
The demonstrators, mostly youth and civil society activists, challenge the political system as a whole, call for a secular state in opposition to a confessional state, against the division between Sunni and Shi’a populations, for women’s rights and workers’ rights, with slogans saying “the Parliament and the Islamic State are two sides of the same coin”, “Daesh was born out of your corruption”, “humans do not survive with religion but bread and dignity”, “in the name of religion, they act like thieves”, “no to sectarianism, no to nationalism, yes to humanity”, “there is no end to corruption in a sectarian and nationalist regime”. There is a substantial female presence, and Iraqi women’s rights groups are actively working to make sure women can take part in the demonstrations without being harassed.
Demonstrations will continue until reforms are implemented, and reached a level of civil mobilization that has never been seen in Iraq, not even during the so called Arab spring. International solidarity and visibility is urgently needed, to help Iraqi civil society keep up the momentum. Raise your voice now, with the Iraqi people!
Watch a video of last Friday’s demonstration in Baghdad, by Ali Arkady & Saud Murrani:
For other videos of previous demonstrations, from July to August 14, check:
An inspiring collections of videos can be found at these links: