Wasfi M. Al-Mahdawi
September 9, 2015
Hope Is Back!
Leaving behind my life and moving from my hometown, the place you were born in, the place where you grew up and the place where you had friends, can be extremely difficult.
In the end of 2003 when I was thirteen years old, my family decided to leave Baghdad and move to Sulaymaniyah due to security reasons. At that time Baghdad (Madinat al-Salaam) or City of Peace has started to change to “the City of Death or something else” but not peace anymore. Consequently, the reality of repatriation was almost impossible and my father told us that we would never ever think of moving back to Baghdad.
As time passed, hope has started fading until one day something very good happened that gave me hope again which I have lost since a long time ago.
So what really changed? And why am I, someone who has lost hope to return to Madinat al-Salaam or City of Peace, doing in Baghdad and being part of the family of the Baghdad City of Peace Carnival? The answer to these questions goes back when I met young people in Erbil from all over Iraq during the ToT (Training of Trainers) program by Mercy Corps. Those young people were full of vigor and vitality like the sun at eight or nine in the morning, and willing to swim against the tide in order to spread the concept of peace.
One of the guys, whose name is Caeser Alwardii, gave a presentation about the Baghdad City of Peace Carnival. From his way of talking about the carnival, I felt the importance of it to him because he said this peace carnival has changed him from a person without a purpose in life to a person who has a great purpose in life which is to spread peace again in Baghdad (City of Peace).
This guy and others from the Baghdad City of Peace Carnival have really motivated me to come all the way from Sulaymaniyah to be part of this community because all of them have realized that they come from different backgrounds, religions and mindsets, and they know for sure that this diversity can lead to peace among them.
So, I have been happily surprised to meet this kind of young people who have given me so much hope and made me think of coming back and be part of this carnival. As a matter of fact, being part of this carnival will generally translate into valuable memories for me, which are worth remembering for many years ahead.