Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Seeds of Civil Society" Sown in Iraq

Homeless shelters and clothing distribution projects are just two examples of iniatives being undertaken by the 5,000 private organizations - charities, human rights groups, literacy projects and more - established since 2003, New York Times reports today.

According to the piece:

"The burst of public-spiritedness comes after long decades of muzzled community life under Saddam Hussein, when drab Soviet-style committees for youth, women and industrialists were the only community groups permitted."

"Mr. Hussein stamped out what had been a vibrant public life. Since the founding of Islam in the seventh century, charity has had a special place in its societies. As far back as the 19th century, religious leaders, descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, formed a network called Al Ashraf that was a link between people and the Ottoman-appointed governor of Baghdad."

"The Iraqi Chamber of Commerce dates from the 1930's, and its volunteers plunged into Baghdad's poor areas to conduct literacy campaigns in the 1950's, around the time of the overthrow of the monarchy."

"Today's groups have picked up that historic thread and offer hope in an increasingly poisonous sectarian landscape that Iraqis may still be able to hold their country together."

To read the full story, click here.

The Leadership Council for Human Rights is currently developing its own literacy project in Iraq - check back for updates.


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