My friend, children of America,
I’m your friend from Iraq. I love you and love all the children of the world. My people love to live in peace. I want to play and grow up looking to the sun of freedom. Please I don’t want war. Let us be friends. Let our both people be friends loving each other.
Your friend, Hind, age 10, Karbala, Iraq
Dear Iraqi brother,
I really wish this war would be over. I dream of a day when there is no war or killing. I want peace throughout the world. I am 12 and in seventh grade. I hope that one day you can play freely.
Love, your brother, Wilson K., St Paul, MN, USA
Letters for Peace - first sparked by letters written by Iraqi teens to their peers in the US, the Letters for Peace program has generated approximately 800 letters back and forth from US schoolchildren to their Iraqi counterparts. Iraqi letters are translated into English; American letters into Arabic and all are distributed to age-appropriate schools in each country and placed on a website for mutual viewing. The need for translators has brought spouses of Arab students at a local college in MN into the project; as an extra dividend, these volunteers get to read heartfelt desires for peace emanating from US schoolchildren.
Water for Peace – a project initiated by Vets for Peace in response to the deteriorating water sanitation problems, Water for Peace is a service-learning project that raises funds to provide Iraqi schools with potable water. Available to US schools, clubs, and religious institutions, this project links a US organization with a recipient school. Photos of the installation process and the resulting happy, healthier children help to build bridges across our cultures that have been torn apart by war.
These projects are sponsored by the Iraqi & American Reconciliation Project (IARP) of MN whose mission is to promote reconciliation between the people of the United States and Iraq in response to the devastation affecting Iraqi families, society and culture.
IARP’s projects offer simple means to enable the people of both countries to shed layers of immobilizing fear, to see beyond the notion of “enemy” when they consider each other. IARP works in tandem with the Muslim Peacemaker Teams (MPT) of Najaf, Iraq. The Najaf MPT chapter is directed by Sami Rasouli a US citizen for 26 years, who returned to his homeland after the US invasion of Iraq to help his people pull together to survive the chaos of occupation. Mr Rasouli, with strong roots in both cultures, serves as a bridge-builder, helping to explain the peoples of each country to each other.
For a brighter future for children everywhere, as one step to move nations beyond war, please join us in writing letters and / or providing clean drinking water to the youth of Iraq. Let your teacher friends know about this project, too. Meet us at www.mpt-iraq.org/teachers.html