Sunni and Shiite Youth Demand Peace Through Art
Posted on: Wednesday, February 7, 2007
February 7, 2007—New York—This weekend in Baghdad, a brave group of young Sunni and Shiite artists and poets will come together to demand peace and resist the violent sectarianism consuming Iraq. MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, is working with our partner, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, to support these artists and their participation in Art Action, an Iraqi youth peace project.
On Saturday, February 10, Art Action will host its next Freedom Space event, public performances where young people come together to share their poetry and music. Freedom Space performances take place in an extremely hostile environment. The gatherings have been banned by Islamists, whom the US boosted to power in Iraq early after the invasion in 2003. In fact, in Iraq today, Islamist militias systematically torture and kill artists and musicians. Several members of Art Action have been attacked. Despite the danger, Iraqis who hunger for peace flock to Freedom Space performances, the only gatherings of their kind in Iraq today.
MADRE Communications Director, Yifat Susskind—author of a forthcoming report on violence against women in Iraq—commented that: “What we often hear in the news is that sectarian hatred has permeated every corner of peoples’ lives in Iraq, including their closest relationships. Young people in Iraq are caught up in this maelstrom. But the young artists of Art Action refuse to succumb to sectarian hatred. Instead, with the support of OWFI and MADRE, they are joining together through art and poetry, calling for an end to the civil war, and working to create a society that promotes human rights—including women's rights and freedom from occupation and religious coercion.”
Available for interviews on Art Action Freedom Space gatherings, sectarianism, violence against women, and US policy towards Iraq:
Yanar Mohammed is the Director and Founder of MADRE’s sister organization, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). OWFI, which sponsors Art Action Freedom Space gatherings, has established five women’s shelters in Iraq and an Underground Railroad for Iraqi Women to protect women from a sharp rise in gender-based violence since the US invasion. Ms. Mohammed has received death threats for her work to further women’s human rights, but she continues to fight publicly against both the US occupation and Islamic fundamentalism. She has appeared frequently in the Iraqi and Arab press, and has been featured as a commentator in major international media, including The New York Times and CBS Evening News. Ms. Mohammed lives in Toronto and Baghdad.
Yifat Susskind, MADRE’s Communications Director, was active in the Israeli women's peace movement for several years and directed a project at a joint Israeli-Palestinian human rights organization in Jerusalem before joining MADRE. She has written extensively on US foreign policy and women's human rights; her critical analysis has appeared in online and print publications such as TomPaine.com, Foreign Policy in Focus, and The W Effect: Bush's War on Women, published by the Feminist Press in 2004. Ms. Susskind has been featured as a commentator on CNN, National Public Radio, and BBC Radio. She is the author of a report on US culpability for violence against women in Iraq, which will be published in early March.
Archives"Press Releases" Home June 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 September 2013 August 2013 June 2013 March 2013 February 2013 September 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 November 2010 October 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 September 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 January 2009 October 2008 September 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 February 2008 January 2008 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 March 2007 February 2007 December 2006 October 2006 July 2006 June 2006 September 2005 January 2004 August 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
In Iraq, women 'are the battlefield' (Women Under Siege , August 12, 2014)
Haitian woman faces death threats for speaking out about violence against women (WBEZ Worldview, July 16, 2014)
Media Spotlight Turns Away from Iraq, as Concerns Mount Over Human Rights and Political Stalemate (Uprising Radio, July 11, 2014)
Iraq: The women left behind (Aljazeera, July 3, 2014)
Under Isis, Iraqi women again face an old nightmare: violence and repression (The Guardian, July 3, 2014)