27 September 2010
Iranian and Iraqi youth were the stars at a 24 September ceremony to celebrate peace between their countries. On this date thirty years ago began the eight-year Iran‐Iraq war that killed and injured hundreds of thousands of both sides. With a whole generation of orphans wishing to prevent future conflicts, the focus on children at the recent celebration of peace was most appropriate.
Iraqi officials and Iranian celebrities in attendance included Uncle Poorang, host of most watched children’s TV show in Iran.
Dozens of war veterans, including former POWs, and authors of histories of the war were also among other invited guests.
This week’s ceremony was rich with symbolism. The participating youth met at the Shalamcheh border crossing, where the heaviest battle of the Iran‐Iraq war took place in 1987. They then boarded the “Friendship Boat” anchored midway on Arvand River. The waterway forms the southern and most contentious segment of the Iran‐Iraq border. Dispute over navigation rights on Arvand was among the primary causes of the eight-year war.
According to well-known Iranian novelist and peace advocate Habib Ahmadzadeh, who co‐ organized the event, Iraqi counterparts plan peace exchanges like this celebration in future years.
Ahmadzadeh, a native of the border area and a war veteran, believes the Persian Gulf remains volatile. He hopes to help reduce the likelihood of more conflict by healing the scars and erasing the hatreds of the past.
Click here for more photos of the Iran-Iraq Friendship Boat.