Iraqi activist visits Hiroshima and appeals for peace in Iraq

by Kyosuke Mizukawa

Fryal Akbar, Head of the Women's Bureau of the Iraq Freedom Congress, which promotes the democratic reconstruction of Iraq, recently visited Hiroshima and toured Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum on March 7, 2008. Ms. Akbar is preparing to hold an A-bomb photo exhibition in Iraq this August in order to appeal for peace in her country, still in a state of disarray five years after the start of the Iraq War.

Members of a local citizens' group, who are helping her to produce the exhibition, guided her through the museum. Ms. Akbar expressed shock at a child's tricycle that was charred by the heat rays from the atomic bomb. She remarked, “Iraq today is beset by the same kind of situation in which the lives of children can be lost in an instant.”

As security conditions in the country deteriorate due to war, violence against women is reportedly on the rise. In response, Ms. Akbar is working to establish a shelter for victimized women and produce a documentary film which denounces the grim realities of violence.

Ms. Akbar delivered a speech on March 6, declaring that the U.S. occupation of Iraq has caused nothing but confusion. “It's vital that the world raise its voice for the U.S. military to make a swift withdrawal from Iraq and for the rights of Iraqi women to be respected.”