Power to the People in Iraq

power-to-the-people-in-iraqIn parallel to all the projects mentioned above, the NGO also designed a project in which people with special abilities would take the responsibility of being educators. The volunteers asked them to think of topics they consider important to teach to elementary school students. The aim of this activity would be to put people with disabilities in an active role in society, visiting schools, and giving presentations to raise awareness about our world, animals, ecosystems, resources, Arab traditions, and humans.

For eight weeks, the volunteers held meetings for two hours to produce quality presentations, to get together and share ideas, to think and rethink methods, practice, etc. One of the cities, where they held these presentations, was Baghdad, a city stricken by the horrors of war. The volunteers were very well received by the authorities of the institution and the students listened attentively and respectfully to the educators, responding enthusiastically to the activities proposed. It was a great experience that enriched and empowered both students and educators alike. Students could for the very first time in their lives witness a class being conducted by people with various physical limitations, who showed everyone that those limitations, many times, are imposed by society, since they are fully capable of thinking, speaking, feeling, and expressing themselves.

The project in Iraq helped widen the perception of many people to new concepts of reality and to question the current structures of power relations within society. What the volunteers did was a joint effort, teamwork that aimed to bring “power to the people”. The people have the power. All we have to do is awaken the power in people. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were part of the activist movement that opposed firmly but without violence to the military campaign that the US government carried out in Vietnam.