Every year, Iraqis celebrate their national, religious and cultural heritage with events and festivities to mark Norouz and Mother’s Day. Thousands go out to vast green areas of Iraq to celebrate this day. In Mosul this year, this happy occasion turned into a crisis. On 21 March, more than 180 people died after a ferry sank in the Tigris River. It was carrying too many passengers and the extra weight caused it to sink.
This terrible tragedy was a shock to all Iraqis. A large group of activists and volunteers from the local social forums joined in to express their sorrow for the victims by organizing and participating in demonstrations of solidarity in a number of cities across the country.
From 22 – 24 March, young people and families of Najaf stood in solidarity with the victims of the ferry tragedy under the Revolution of the 1920 bridge, expressing their sadness and anger at the negligence that caused the disaster. On the second day, the had ceremony which included sending their condolences to the families of the victims. On the third day, students distributed awareness-raising brochures and wrote messages to the people of Mosul.
Young people of Al Anbar also showed in solidarity with Mousl. Mosul and Al Anbar are closely linked given their recent experience suffering under the horrors and injustice of terrorism. The youth of Ramadi, Falluja, and Hit organized a big solidarity event, standing together to express their sorrow for those families who lost lives during this day which should have been celebratory. Activists from Ramadi used a Hashtag #Disasteroftheferry to write about the incident on all social media platforms.
“We will not forget what happened to you, and we will stand up for your lives, which ended because of negligence,” said the youth from the Misan Social Forum in Amara. Dozens of activists from the city of Nasiriyah took to the streets in their city to express solidarity, carrying slogans condemning the incident and demanding accountability of whomever was the responsible for this horrifying incident.