On March 16th 2018 a worldwide tree planting campaign is launched in joint commemoration of the chemical attacks on Halabja, Iraq 30 years ago and those on the Ghouta in Syria, 5 years ago. Each tree planted honors and remembers the victims of both attacks.
The effects of chemical warfare are severe, painful and long-lasting. The people, and the landscape continue to bear the scars. Survivors of the attacks suffer from cancer, skin, blood and bone diseases, infertility, and high rates of still-birth. These devastating conditions, require constant and high level medical care. Not to mention the emotional and psychological toll.
Planting trees to commemorate the victims in the Ghouta and Halabja, is an expression of hope and peace. A way to bring people together, to talk, to condemn these attacks, to remember and to actively create something better: a green space.
This campaign is an Iraqi-Syrian effort, led by NWE Organization, the Syrian Working Group and Kirkuk Now and supported by Wadi.
We share with you the statement and video by this campaign as reported by Kirkuk Now:
To all the humanitarian and environmentalist around the world,
A few days ahead is the 30th year anniversary of Halabja chemical attack at the same time the 5thanniversary of Ghouta chemical attack in Syria. Negligence and silence are dishonoring the two crimes committed against humanity. However, till now politicians and the radical parties are still playing the same disgusting game of spreading fear and hate.
War still continues, innocents, women and children are becoming victims on daily basis and they are still looked at as an investment and victims in the developing world, they are also looked at as numbers and they are easily forgotten.
Today we will not respond the way politicians expects us to; we will not face hate with hate, discrimination with discrimination, generalizations with generalization.
We will not face violence with violence.
With the help of the people in Halabja city, Activists from Iraq and Syria, Kurds and Arabs have decided to commemorate the victims, resist oppression and political greed, and promote peace by planting for the future.
We decided to launch a planting campaign across the world. With the help of citizens we plant for the future, we dream of a region clear of wars, oppression and discrimination.
In the end, we like to thank the head of municipality in Halabja for the land that was given for creating the park. We also like to thank any person or origination locally or internationally that would participates in this campaign and helps us in creating this park even if it is with one tree.
We hope with the end of the 30th year anniversary of Halabja chemical attack in 2018 we all step forward for greening, planting, and achieving peace in the world.
NWE organization for protecting environment and women’s right/ Capital of Peace organization
13th of March, 2018.