The Forum's Weekly Message 63

The speech by Mr Abdel-Saheb Shakiry during one of Ramadan’s evenings to the Al-Kindi Association

Brothers, sisters and dear guests of the Al-Kindi Association, 

Al-Salamu Alaikum,

I will begin my speech by saying how great Iraq is and how wonderful is its dictatorial ruling so as to enable its only ruler not to only intimidate every member of his nation, but to go further and intimidate the neighbouring countries and others.

How beautiful is our democracy and its infinite prospects. The results of its elections not only baffled everyone in our nation, but they also baffled the neighbouring countries, the countries of the world and even America.

I say this is our Iraq for its sole ruler, for his election results and not for its nation.

My question is where is the nation’s role to manage its matters and not its political matters but its public matters in all its forms.

What is mentioned above arises from the journey of my life as an industrialist and as a worker where I never delayed to do any work I am capable of, or to take any helpful or productive decision awaiting political orientations or resolutions of the Chambers. I worked for 65 years and I am still working within the possible and the available legal spaces.

Brothers and sisters, we should not waste time by waiting, we must work to save the helpless impoverished categories. There are many available means to help, and no matter how small our aid is or minimal our donations are, they will still contribute in spreading the awareness for the vital need of charities.

There are many charities and kind people who work or who are willing to work. The question is, have we built organizations and charities that are aware of those entities, that work hand in hand as a third sector, with the public and the private sector that are ready to donate to help us fulfil the requirements of those in need?

If we look at Britain, the country where we live in full comfort, how big is its third sector? The name (third sector) was given by Gordon Brown, he supported it financially and created laws to enforce it, especially Tax laws. These include the charitable sector or the civil society organizations sector which, the number of its volunteers has reached 21 million, almost a quarter of Britain’s entire nation; and for the amounts donated, they have not merely reached figures of millions but billions. So the question is how deprived is Iraq of these charities or charitable organizations that will be sufficient to fulfil the needs for those in need? Will we, the expatriates in the Diaspora be able to reach out a helping hand and build this sector?

From this point we launched our project entitled The Charity Bank for Small Businesses. The first project of the bank was entitled: The Power of the Sewing Machine.

This idea was derived from an article that I published in 1987. The article was about what has occurred to my family when my father passed away in 1940, where he left nothing for us to survive on. My eldest sister, may she rest in peace, had to find some sort of job to maintain us, so she bought a Singer sewing machine, which she paid for in instalments. She began with learning the art of tailoring and teaching other girls from the neighbourhood. With my sister’s hard work, our financial means improved and we no longer sought help from relatives. My siblings, may they rest in peace, continued to work and I myself, begun my career on a sewing machine working with shoes. So in this way the family became successful.

There is another story which I published in 1986 and it recounted the story of the success of Laura Ashley, the owner of the most important stores in the markets around the world, she begun her work from her kitchen table till she achieved what she has now in the London Stock Exchange.

From our experiences in the fashion industry field, the above examples and many others- we planned the Charity Bank for Small Businesses. For more information about this project and its activities, which as soon as its launch, proved its success by the statements of its workers and those who are familiar with its details and beneficiaries, please visit the following link:

May God grant us success


A S Shakiry

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