Baghdad City of Peace Carnival Finding Peace in a Hopeless Place
In 2011, a group of young people who live in Baghdad came together, and decided to organize a peace carnival in a city that is known as the “House of Peace” but has not seen peace for decades. Since then, these groups of people have been organizing this carnival for September 21st, which also happens to be International Peace Day.
This year was no exception, and despite the unstable and dangerous situation, around 300 female and male volunteers came together to tell the world that Baghdad is not only about bombings, and terrorists groups. They want everyone to know that the youth, and the people in Baghdad still believe in peace, and still believe in their community, and have hopes for the future.
In a conversation with Zain Mohammed who is a lead organizer of the event, he said “Baghdad is a part of me, and I can never imagine myself leaving. Instead, I want to stay and turn Baghdad into the dream city that I would want to live in”.
The diverse group of young people managed to raise around 6000$ to organize the event independently by selling different things, and were able to attract more than 5000 guests who enjoyed various activities and acts including plays, and concerts. They provided 32 booths in the area of Abu Nawas, and each booth had a different purpose like promoting healthy eating, drawing, souvenirs, and activities for kids, arts and crafts, and a number of booths to collect donations for the displaced people.
This brave and inspiring group of people overcame the security risks, the lack of tangible support from the government and decision makers in order to organize a successful event that sent out a strong message to the rest of the world. For all those who thinks that Iraq’s future looks dark, this carnival is one of the many events that show even in the darkest places of the world there are still people who believe in their country, believe in their society, and believe that one day they will be able to lead their countries to a brighter and more prosperous future.
By: Amir M. Ashour