A wreath laid in Iraq (Boston Globe)

20090715 Wreath Iraq

A wreath laid in Iraq
Farah Stockman (Boston Globe)
15 July 2009

UMass Boston professor Padraig O’Malley laid a wreath today at the site of a bombing in Iraq that killed at least 72 people last month which appeared to be aimed at fomenting ethnic tensions in the volatile Kirkuk region.

Kirkuk is one of five “divided” cities participating in a peace forum established in Boston by O’Malley this past April. Elected representatives from Kirkuk visited Massachusetts this past April to learn about how Boston had overcome violence and division during the busing crisis of the 1970s.

The group toured Boston neighborhoods that had been impacted by violence, led by Robert Lewis Jr., the Boston Foundation’s vice president, whose home was fire-bombed in 1976, presumably because his family were the first blacks to move into a white housing project in Maverick.

Other participants included representatives from Mitrovica, a city divided between Kosovo and Serbia; Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, claimed by both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities; and Derry/Londonderry and Belfast, in Northern Ireland.

After the meeting in Boston, the group pledged to meet annually and share experiences.

O’Malley traveled to Kirkuk after a series of deadly bombings to read a letter of condolence to Kirkuk’s Provincial Council from the group.

“When one of you dies, all of us die a little, too,” he said. “We stand with you in resolute solidarity.”

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