The Danish NGO, CCPA conducts a youth festival in Babylon, not far from the devastating terror attack on a football tournament where 29 youths lost their lives in a meaningless terror attack.
CCPA in cooperation with their partner, the Iraqi Youth Network conducted a major festival for the youth, covering culture, sports and education in one festival. Celebrating 2 years of association building in Iraq, that also includes entrepreneurial projects such as job centres, beauty saloons and grocery shops set up to create jobs for the unemployed; mainly widows, Syrian refugees and Iraqi IDP’s.
The festival started at 11 in the morning in the ancient city of Babylon, where the first code of law among other things was created.
Present were 400 volunteers from a variety associations created through workshops funded by the Operation Day’s Work and educated through Cross Cultures, both Danish. With over a thousand visitors and their families who had picnics in the beautiful area surrounding the festival, which was made possible through a great deal of help, and support from the Swedish-Iraqi activist, Maida Nassif.
The first activity was to clean the ancient city up, as it was reported by the Al-Sharqiyah tv channel, the Fallujah coordinator Amer Khamees said; “This city that is the holy grail of human history, it deserves the respect that equals its name and we teach the youth to appreciate what their ancestors have done for all humankind through these kind of activities”.
Thereafter the massive area was split up in 16 areas for association activities; among other things it showcased its art, after-school activities, poetry, music, acting, chess, football, jiu jitsu and much more.
The festival also had room for the guest of honour, whom was the 13-year-old youth activist, Rawan Hussein, infamous for speeches on the shortcomings of the Iraqi government, in her speech she highlighted: “Through the Iraqi Youth Network we have the ability to, and thanks to our Danish friends at CCPA and OD, create associations that can advocate for the youth whom represent 60% of the population. We are the ones who will inherent this country, not the politicians, so if we want an Iraq in our own vision, then we have to work for it directly”.
The festival was also in the memory of the 29 kids whom lost their lives in a devastating terror attack, Al-Iraqiyah TV asked the communicational director of IYN, Mohammad Karim about the connection between this festival and that horrific crime and he answered; “This festival is in their memory, the dark forces whom conducted these crimes, usually do it to scare people from living their lives.” And he continued; “…but the Iraqi people are known for their resilience and stubbornness, our backs can’t be broken; if today they destroy an area of fun and games, where children can be children, then we will come back the next day and rebuilt it with twice as many open fun games.
It’s our duty and obligation as Iraqi youth, it’s our way of fighting back.” When Al-Baghdadiyah tv-channel asked the Danish representative of CCPA, Safa Hadi on what’s the agenda of the “Danish NGO’s” in Iraq, he replied; “Denmark or, more specifically CCPA, what makes us differ from other organisations is that we work from the bottom-up and not from the top-down, we do not hand out our projects to major organisations or government affiliated agencies and expect them to come with results that can only be seen on reports and evaluations. We take control of the project itself and we work amongst the people, we go the extra mile.
We do not implement projects as we feel like it or follow some kind of pre-written set-up or formula, we walk amongst the people in areas that might be considered extremely dangerous and work directly with the people, we ask them what they need and not tell them what we want out of them.
We want to empower people, we want physical results and not just ink on paper. …but from a perspective of cross-national relations, when they see the Danish flag in areas such as Iskan, Hillah and others infested by the presence of gangs and militias. When the Danish flag is flown there during IYN activity, the area will automatically be thought of as sanctuary and protected, for the Iraqi people this flag is now considered a flag of integrity, service and opportunities and that’s thanks to our work in Iraq since 2005”.
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