United in Kurdistan

Ashley, Timothy, and Mohammed talk before the "Ritual of Arrival" worship service this afternoon (5/19/16)All members of the CPT/PPF Iraqi Kurdistan delegation arrived as scheduled in Sulemani!

We spent the morning at the archeological museum viewing artefacts from ancient Mesopotamia. The main exhibit, "In Writing: Objects from the Collectionof the Slemani," showcased ancient stamps, coins, jewelry, and pottery.

Both at the museum and during our walk to and from, I was struck by the aspirations of the city. The museum displayed graphic renderings of a new modern facility. Advertisements on billboards out on the streets portrayed sleek, luxury condos. Yet, all the projects remained unfinished with progress indefinitely stalled. 

The region is mired in economic crisis. For example, Mohammed, who works for CPT in addition to being a teacher, has seen his teaching salary reduced by 60% since the fall.

This afternoon, with Mohammed and Likasz as our teachers, we learned more about the social, political and economic history of Kurdistan. Not only is Kurdistan challenged by internal conflict, but also by the mercurial political will of regional and global powers.

Kurdistan's parliament is deadlocked and the budget allotment from Baghdad dry.  Meanwhile Kurdistan continues to accept displaced Sunnis, Shias, Yzedis, Christians, Kurds and Syrians.

And now, Kurdistan accepts us.

Photo: Ashley, Timothy, and Mohammed talk before the "Ritual of Arrival" worship service this afternoon (5/19/16)