From 8-10 July, the Iraqi Social Forum (ISF) held a specialized training in Baghdad to develop the capacity of youth in a new ‘Arts of Peace’ team, part of the ISF’s nonviolence masar (path). The training included a review of key strategies for building successful campaigns, starting with problem analysis, determining the targets best suited to guide the campaign, and finally, measuring the results.
Four young women and five young men participated in the training and now make up the core of the Arts of Peace team. A range of topics were considered, with special attention given to ongoing violence in Baghdad. The participants were divided into two groups and discussed effective ways of building and implementing campaigns dedicated to specific issues. The first group explored ways they might improve the preservation of long neglected buildings of historical and cultural importance in the city, such as theaters and houses. The second group discussed the random shootings in Baghdad which continue to kill many people.
Ahmad Alaa led the training and provided a thorough overview of how to use nonviolent means to confront various social issues, highlighting the ways art can be used effectively in a nonviolent campaign. The team agreed to focus their first campaign on the random shootings, which they will start work on next month. A clear schedule was drawn up listing the activities that will be included in the campaign. The group also determined the time period needed to collect information, and how best to rally public opinion to pressure the government to pass a law directed at ending this senseless violence that is causing so much suffering.
The Iraqi Social Forum is an open space for social movements, civil society organizations, and voluntary teams that collaborate together with the conviction that “Another Iraq is Possible”. This is an Iraq grounded in true democracy, human rights, and social justice. The organizers of the training seek to develop the full potential of the new Arts of Peace team, empowering them to use art as a tool which can challenge the traditional mentality, which assumes that violence is necessary to achieve one’s goals.
The Iraqi Social Forum
11 July 2018