Dear all,

Greetings from Baghdad. We are having a really inspiring time talking to students from around the world who are motivated and who have gathered here to show solidarity with Iraqi students. There are hundreds of students from all over the world who are working in so many ways in their own communities to shed light on the continuing problems in Iraq due to sanctions as well as working to oppose the current rush to war. The Belgians organized a “5k run for peace” today which went well. We have had the opportunity to talk about last weekend’s marches and their global impact. It is encouraging to see such organization and concern among students worldwide.

The students’ big message here: war is not liberation. Bombs do not bring freedom but rather death and misery. We also must continue to make the global interconnections between war and education – what gets spent on war does not get spent on education. This message from the students is clear and strong.

The Iraqi people are in good spirits in general here. We see them repairing building facades, washing their cars, going to and from work and the mosque, and playing checkers and socializing in cafes. It is quite clear that a war would be devastating, though. As always we have been met with the graciousness and hospitality by friends and strangers. People are forthcoming with their stories and their personal messages, for which i am tremendously grateful. one student shared his experiences living in a state of continuous war since 1980 and the impact it has had on his life perspective, on his family. Still, with the tremendous sorrow wars have brought, he does not have hatred in his heart but rather a constructive perspective that does not hold individuals accountable for events beyond their control. In short, he does not hate you or me, a sentiment I have encountered time and time again in this country.

Thank you for your continued good work and support. See you all soon!

*Leah C. Wells serves as the Peace Education Coordinator for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.