Union College Hosts Interfaith Iraq Memorial

Today is the International Day of Non-violence. The UN describes three categories of non-violent action:

  • protest and persuasion, including marches and vigils;
  • non-cooperation; and
  • non-violent intervention, such as blockades and occupations. (link)

A meaningful story about an Adventist vigil is the recent memorial service hosted by Union College in Lincoln, NE. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that

Doug Hardt welcoming the attendees to the service. Credit: Tom Randa, Good Neighbor Community Center

Doug Hardt welcoming the attendees to the service. Credit: Tom Randa, Good Neighbor Community Center

300 people of different religious backgrounds gathered for the “Interfaith Iraq Peacemaking and Memorial Service on Sunday, which was dedicated to remembrances of Yazidis who have been killed and enslaved by ISIS” (Chris Heady, 28 Sept 2014).

The article shared the context and motivation for the event:

Lincoln is home to more than 1,000 Yazidis, a group of Kurdish-speaking people who live largely in northern Iraq. Lincoln’s Yazidi community is the nation’s largest, and on Sunday some of them, along with other Lincoln residents of various faiths, tried to send out a message of peace to the world. They urged everyone to look at humans as people, not as their faith or skin color.

Doug Hardt of the Union College Center for Interfaith Studies and Culture conceived of the remembrance ceremony after traveling to Iraq this summer. After seeing one million people without homes and after talking with people who had gone through hell, he said, he wanted to do something to remember those who had died.

The article concludes:

As the group of 300 or so reflected during a moment of silence, phones lit the poem on the back of a program: “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” (complete article)

Doug Hardt tells about his trip to Iraq to visit the refugees affected by ISIS. Credit: Tom Randa, Good Neighbor Community Center

Doug Hardt tells about his trip to Iraq to visit the refugees affected by ISIS. Credit: Tom Randa, Good Neighbor Community Center

The service closed with a rendition of "Let There Be Peace on Earth" led by Dr. Bill Fitts and the Union Octet. Credit: Tom Randa, Good Neighbor Community Center

The service closed with a rendition of “Let There Be Peace on Earth” led by Dr. Bill Fitts and the Union Octet. Credit: Tom Randa, Good Neighbor Community Center

Laila Khoudeda tells the harrowing story of a Yazidi girl who escaped ISIS. Credit: Tom Randa, Good Neighbor Community Center

Laila Khoudeda tells the harrowing story of a Yazidi girl who escaped ISIS. Credit: Tom Randa, Good Neighbor Community Center

See also the earlier article, “Union College’s Iraqi memorial service aims to begin healing, reconciliation” (Lincoln Journal Star, 26 Sept 2014).

APF readers who are interested in nonviolent peacemaking in the Middle East may find the following items worth considering:

“Alternatives to Violence: Various SNVM Members Speak About the War on Da’esh (ISIS)”
SNVM member Rasha al-Qass Yousef:

As a Syrian from a Christian background who has many years of experience with different Syrian opposition groups, I believe military intervention against ISIS will only lead to the creation of more extremism.

Before starting with a military solution, why not explore political, economic, and social solutions? Why did it take the West so long to embargo the oil produced by ISIS? Why did the West turn a blind eye to the flood of jihadists entering Syria through Turkey? Why no real pressure on Gulf countries for their official and unofficial massive support of different nefarious armed groups? Why did the “Friends of Syria” fail to provide Raqqa—the first liberated area in the country—with any support for the local community, the civil society organizations, and the emerging local council, despite all the calls to do so?”

—Rasha Qass Yousef, member of the Syrian Nonviolence Movement and the Syrian Democratic Forum, a co-founder of the Haquna Movement, a civil resistance group in the city of Raqqa that campaigned against both the Assad regime and the armed groups who seized the city, including ISIS

Posted on Facebook by the Syrian Nonviolence Movement

Published online by Dissent Magazine

Advertisements