Tahrir Square in Baghdad sits at the heart of the Iraqi anti-government protest movement that has swept through Iraq for the past two months. Amid increasingly violent responses from security forces, demonstrators have turned Tahrir Square into a moving celebration of community, culture, and art as they continue to call for government reform.
As of today, Iraq’s Independent High Commission for Human Rights cited 460 deaths with at least 17,000 injured, and 3,000 permanently disabled as a result of amputation or loss of vision over the last two months of protests.
In a show of solidarity with non-violent civil society actors and to celebrate the creativity of Tahrir Square protesters, EPIC invites you to join us for “An Evening of Solidarity with Iraq”, a fundraising event on Thursday, Dec. 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Busboys and Poets on 14th and V Street.
“The courage, tenacity and humanity of these protesters is awe- inspiring. This is not only a political movement, but a remarkable social and cultural renaissance that’s challenging many stereotypes about Iraq” - Omar Al-Nidawi, Program Manager and Research Lead at EPIC
All donations from the event will go toward the Iraq Action Fund. In close coordination with the Iraq Health Access Organization (IHAO), a small portion of the fund will be dedicated to assisting volunteer medics treating the immediate needs of injured protesters. The remainder will provide technical assistance, training, advocacy, and other forms of support in close consultation with civil society organizations, human rights defenders, and key youth organizers to support the calls for government reform.
Since the first wave of demonstrations began on October 1, security forces and militias have continued to meet non-violent protests with disproportionate and unnecessary violence including the use of deadly canisters of tear gas, hot water, live bullets, as well as arbitrary arrests, beatings, and various forms of intimidation. Despite all the violence, the demonstrators show no signs of giving up their cause.
On Nov. 20, protestors painted a 22 meters by 44 meters mural of the word “peace” in cuneiform, an ancient form of writing that originated in Mesopotamia. The image is the largest in the history of Baghdad, on the rooftop of the garage Al-Sinak, which stands adjacent to the square. Colorful murals now cover the grim tunnels beneath Tahrir Square where protesters have etched declaratory, political messages into their art such as “We are Unstoppable” and “Iraq for Iraqi people”.
“The courage, tenacity, and humanity of these protesters is awe-inspiring. This is not only a political movement, but a remarkable social and cultural renaissance that’s challenging many stereotypes about Iraq,” Omar Al-Nidawi, Program Manager and Research Lead at EPIC said.
The event will include a distinguished, all Iraqi panel moderated by Erik Gustafson, EPIC’s Executive Director, featuring Wasna Dabbagh, an eyewitness to the events in Tahrir Square, Dr. Bilal Wahab, prominent Iraqi scholar and political analyst, Omar Al-Nidawi, Program Manager at EPIC and longtime analyst and commentator on Iraqi affairs, and Rasha Al Aqeedi, Iraq analyst and Editor-in-Charge at Irfaa Sawtak (“Raise Your Voice”).
We hope you can join us for an inspiring evening of solidarity to celebrate Iraqi youth, civil society activists, poets, and artists pressing for genuine government reforms in Iraq.
Please note: Due to limited space, you must be registered with a ticket and arrive by no later than 6:30 PM to ensure your place in the event. Non-ticket holders will be placed on a “wait list” and admitted into the event starting at 6:30 PM. Doors will close when capacity is reached. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.