In 2016, Daesh recruited 200 new members from the area of Karak. On 18th December 2016, Daesh attacked the Karak Castle, killing 14 and injuring many more. The perpetrators of this attack were youth from the region.
On 18th March 2017, in the green mountain landscape of Karak, a diverse group of people started to gather at 8am: Karaki youth, refugees of various nationalities and ages, Karaki blacksmiths, the Rebuild for Peace team, and a mixture of others who had heard about the events through their children or friends. It wasn’t long before the gathering had grown to over 70 people, who chattered excitedly with their friends and got to know new people from inside and outside their own communities. The atmosphere was electric as everyone was eager to get started.
It wasn’t long before the physical repair work began, and everyone got involved in some way. Where bullets had dented metal doors, hammers removed any traces of the memory. Where the railings had been peppered with bullet holes, blacksmiths repaired the damage, and even replaced some entire sections that had become unusable. It was a heart-warming sight to see Syrian refugees, Karakis, and others all working together in the name of peace, each dedicating their day to the shared goal.
Meanwhile, alongside the physical repairs to the castle, 15 members of the Karaki and refugee youth were taking on the role of community leaders to organise powerful symbolic actions. Their leadership and creative abilities were impressive, and it was exciting to think about how these skills will develop with the training provided by Rebuild for Peace.
Some of these actions were commemorative: people wrote letters to the families of the victims of the attack expressing their condolences and hopes for peace, and the letters were then signed by everyone present. Teams also formed to create commemorative banners in honour of those who had lost their lives, and two women worked together with a well-known artist, currently a refugee from Sudan, to create an extremely powerful painting depicting their hopes for a brighter future.
As Karak’s beautiful environment is a key part of the local identity, the young leaders also decided that it would be fitting that nature should benefit from our actions. A large part of the day was spent removing all the rubbish that had built up around the castle from years of tourism, and Rebuild for Peace had rubbish bins built and placed around the castle to prevent the problem from returning in the future.
However the most touching environmental action was the Peace Garden. With an olive tree planted as a symbol of peace in the centre, the diverse group of people present planted flowers of all kinds and colours around the tree to symbolise their growing together with the shared hope of peace.