Taking the call for peace to the middle of the conflict zone, renowned spiritual leader and founder of The Art of Living, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Thursday addressed a peace conference in Erbil in Kurdistan, the violence- hit province of Iraq.
Pitching for co-existence, compassion and commitment to peace, Gurudev said, “Peace conferences are held where there is peace. I wanted to hold this conference in the middle of the conflict.”
He also visited relief camps near Erbil to give solace to hundreds of displaced Christians, Kurds, Arabs. The International Association for Human Values, a sister concern of The Art of Living along with a few NGOs, have been working in Iraq, bringing relief by providing material aid. The organisation along with other NGOs has collected more than 110 tonnes of food supplies to be delivered to Yazidi refugees on Sinjar mountains.
The visit, which was Gurudev’s third to Iraq, saw him deliberate with various leaders, bringing them on a common platform to discuss peace. He also addressed the Kurdish Parliament and met President of Iraqi Kurdistan, Yusif Muhammad Sadiq and senior Yazidi leader and adviser to Government of Erbil, Mirza Dinaayi. Abdul Hussein Abtan, Minister of Sports & Youth, Iraq flew in from Baghdad to meet the spiritual leader and appreciated the hard work done by the organisation’s volunteers.
Addressing the peace conference titled “Protecting Women and Bringing Stability and Peace”, organised by The International Association For Human Values (IAHV) he honoured Kurdish Kobani woman fighter, Jeyan Haldan. Gurudev said, “Dark forces are creating conflict and havoc in the world. In the 21st century, people want to drag us back to the dark ages.” He, further, hoped that the conference would bring clarity, communication, commitment of participants to achieve peace.
“Kurdistan is a bouquet of culture and we must preserve it. Yazidis and Shabad, who are facing prosecution need to be preserved. Co-existence is the Divine design for the planet!”, he added.
“We want to send out a clear message to those, who think violence is the way, that they are wrong,” he said, highlighting the need for educating the youth, who have not yet joined extreme ideologies, about the futility of such radicalisation. Earlier, Gurudev interacted with the inmates of a relief camp in mountains and listened to their plight. “We could not speak the language, but we could communicate. We felt their pain,” he said.
Courtesy: The New Indian Express