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January 26, 2005

Planting Seeds of Democracy

Lt. Cmdr. Louis Rosa, 24th MEU Chaplain, sends along this account of a recent visit to the Regional Democracy Center in Al Hillah.
Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Anthony Pilozo
Lt. Cmdr. Louis Rosa, 24th MEU chaplain, stands in front of the Regional Democracy Center in al Hillah, Iraq earlier this month.
Recently, I had the privilege to visit with a group of Marines the Regional Democracy Center. The center, about 95 kilometers south of Baghdad, is designed to provide a gathering place for Iraqis of all backgrounds to discuss principles of democracy and develop programs aimed at empowering their own groups and civil society initiatives. The center's founder Sayyed Farqat Al Qizwini's vision is that from the center all Shi'ia, Sunni, and Kurd start building a new democracy in Iraq. He hopes the center will be filled with all Iraqis, especially including women for a united Iraq. For 35 years Iraqis didn't know about democracy. Now the center is teaching its people about it. The Center provides a place for sheikhs, tribal leaders, community leaders, men, women, and students to promote democracy throughout south central Iraq, an area that includes 12 million people. It is refreshing and extremely hopeful to participate in the educational opportunities of the Regional Democracy Center. The Marines had an outstanding opportunity to hear and see the dialogue of democracy in its full bloom. Inclusive to the excitement is the chance many of the Marines have to engage in discourse with citizens of this nation which they so bravely fight for to have the right to Democracy and Freedom. The four pillars of the Center's philosophy are: Equality, Justice, Liberty, and Peace. The members of this center know that the key to the future are it's children so it is expanding activities to reach the children in its region. Children are the promise of each future generation. Like the many Palm trees growing in the desert here, the key to success is deep roots and lots of flexibility. The Regional Democracy Center is in the planting business. Plant ideas, ideals and lots of hope and the future will reap a bountiful harvest of freedom!
Marines of the 24th MEU enjoy lunch with their new Iraqi friends during a recent visit to the Regional Democracy Center in Hillah, Iraq.
Petty Officer 1st Class Anthony Pilozo

Posted by Deb at January 26, 2005 06:29 PM


My most earnest prayers are with you and the families of those thirty fallen Marines. Such heros die preserving goodness and life. I am thankful that America has this Corps to protect us...



Posted by: Mattson at January 26, 2005 11:14 PM