An Iraqi branch of Extinction Rebellion?

Will we see Extinction Rebellion in Iraq?

A few months ago there was severe drought in Iraq. We cannot say if it was related to ‘climate-change’ but water levels in the Mosul Dam dropped so low that a previously-hidden Mittani palace emerged for the first time in centuries. According to the Stockholm-based ‘Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risks’, ‘Iraq is one of the Middle East’s most climate-vulnerable countries’. If reservoirs, rivers and waterways dry up, this will have a devastating impact on food production, not to mention societal stability. Whatever we may think about the true scale of the risks associated with climate-change many people around the globe are fearful about what the future holds. With climate protests happening across the world this week, could we soon see an Iraqi branch of Extinction Rebellion?

While temperatures in Iraq continue to climb, protests have engulfed the country. People are fed up with the lack of public services and the political corruption. Some of you may have seen our prayer request about this a few days ago. Against this backdrop, we are doing what we can to help those returning to their homes after years in displacement camps. Our Nineveh SEED job-creation initiative is starting to bear fruit. In the northern Iraqi villages of Teleskuf and Karamles (where we have built two large greenhouses), the first crops of cucumbers are being picked. 

Cucumbers ready to pick in Teleskuf

Food as a means of division

There is a bizarre yet telling story about cucumbers in Iraq. In Anbar Province, Al Qaeda banned women from buying cucumbers and “other suggestively-shaped vegetables”. The enforcement of their ideology on even the most mundane aspects of life alienated many of their supporters. For some vying for the heart of Iraq, even food must be a means of division. That being said, the cucumbers being grown in our greenhouses mean one thing only – that your support is making a tangible difference to those we are helping. 

Karamles is a place of new life once more

During their occupation of Karamles, ISIS fighters reportedly burned an 80 year old woman to death for failing to comply with their warped interpretation of the Sharia. In their attempt to erase Christianity from the village, they also destroyed a large portion of the historic Mar Behnam Monastery which belongs to the Syriac Catholic Church. Images of this violent desecration are still on social media. Now that ISIS has been driven from the area, our first Nineveh SEED project is bringing hope to the people of Karamles.

It is wonderful to see bags of freshly-picked cucumbers being packed onto pick-up trucks. Most of the food consumed in Karamles is still being trucked in from as far afield as Turkey. However, the greenhouses provide optimum conditions for the growing of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Locally-grown produce will hopefully reduce the need for imports. With more investment, we can replicate this project in other villages across the Nineveh Plain and help create a sustainable and environmentally-friendly means of food-production. 

Please help us plant the next seeds

We have 5 employment projects completed to date including the greenhouses. Now we want to fund another 5 including beekeeping and honey production, an olive oil soap factory and a women’s employment project. We need several thousand pounds for each of these projects. Please support our work by making a donation via our donate page (there are numerous options for how to donate).