Qamishlo: a day of struggle to protect the environment and promote Peace
On September 21st 2019 a Peace Forum has been organized in Qamishlo, North East Syria, by local activists, together with our local partner, DOZ, to celebrate the International Day of Peace. This is the public message we address them, read from the stage, to stand in solidarity with their initiative.
“Greetings too all of you who came to Qamishlo to celebrate the International Day of Peace and thanks to DOZ and all civil society activists who organized this event.
Un Ponte Per is a humanitarian organization working on health and protection programs, supporting this region to build its health Infrastructure, but we know that in every society an “Infrastructure for Peace” would be equally important: a series of civil society and institutional programs, schools and academies to train and equip people to prevent and solve conflicts by nonviolent means.
As you may know, international days are occasions to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. In this sense, being in North East Syria today is particularly meaningful for all the people who are there.
Indeed, you are proving to humanity every day that local institutions and civil society together can build a new model of democracy, upholding the values of environmental defence, gender equality, and tolerance for diversity. This is Sustainable Peace, which goes much beyond the simple absence of violence.
This is precisely the model that the international community is trying to promote, since this year they dedicate this day to Climate Action for Peace: a call for immediate action by all to lower greenhouse emissions, build resilience and improve education on climate change.
Our house is burning, youth activists say in Europe, and your crops were burning this summer.
Students all around the world are marching in the streets of 150 cities in the Global Climate Strike and we are part of them.
Sometimes people abroad wonder why here in North East Syria there is so much attention on the ecological issue, with all problems you have to face with war and terrorism. But you are more focused than us on real threats to peace.
Climate change and natural disasters displace three times as many people as conflicts, forcing millions to leave their homes and seek safety elsewhere. The salinization of water and crops is endangering food security, and the impact on public health is escalating.
Hence even humanitarian organizations like UPP are now adding among their priorities environmental protection and environmental justice. Space needs to be provided for all those who want to work in this direction: civil society activists, experts and technicians, public authorities.
DOZ is joining forces with us in a campaign to save the rivers of Mesopotamia – Save the Tigris – which was born in Iraq, and this is an important action also to defeat the ideology of terror. Daesh went down the rivers of Mesopotamia spreading violence and fear. Civil society activists go up the rivers with campaigns of environmental protection and social cohesion.
Today we celebrate all invisible Peace Heroes that in this region are working to protect life and nature. Thanks for launching a message of hope to the world”.