Kurdo's World
Kurdistan blogger. Blogging about life in Kurdistan.

Democracy Kurdish style

A Kurdish writer was thrown into prison for 30 years in a court in Kurdistan just 4 days after the Iraqi elections for swearing at the President of Kurdistan Massoud Barzani.

Kurdish media networks are approaching the case nervously and some are even scared to report about the news. Some newspapers haven't even reported about this anti-democracy and human rights decision.

The writer's name is (Dr. Kamal Saeed Qadir) and he was put in prison for 2 articles he wrote against the KDP.
KDP's tribal mentality are not fit for today's democratic life.

The Kurdish news websites regularly report about this issue but the English ones are a bit quiet. KurdistanObserver are still yet to report about the news while KurdishMedia have published one or two letters. Kurdistani News have published several news but have stopped since after.

Some reports about the new freedom and democracy in Kurdistan :

Dr. Rebwar Fatah: Dr. Kamal’s sentence is against the principles of human rights in Kurdistan
KRG Human Rights Minister: Dr. Kamal is an Iraqi citizen before being an Austrian
Dr Kamal Sayd Qadir describes Erbil court as “illegitimate” and calls for retrial
Dr. Kamal Sayd Qadir’s sister calls on Kurdish intellectuals for help
Erbil court sentences Dr. Kamal Sayd Qadir for 30 years in prison
Dr Kamal Said Qadir: Don’t let Kurds put their hands in my blood
KRG Human Rights Minister: Dr. Kamal Sayd Qadir must rot in prison
Article: Will Iraqi Kurdistan teach Turkey about freedom of speech?
Amnesty International Starts Official Public Campaign on behalf of Dr Kamal Sayid Qadir
Writer detained for articles critical of Kurdish authorities
Barzani’s KDP tortures Kurdish Austrian writer – Kurdish website
Kurdistan regional government admits “abducting” Kurdish writer
Barzani-critic arrested by KDP in Hewler – KurdistanPost

The best thing we can do is zip our lips otherwise we will be also put into prison for swearing AKA criticising the Kurdistan government.

Iraqi Elections in Kurdistan :

Because of the nature of my work, I could not report about the elections on the day. I have collected photos, reports, interviews, and results in this post from different forums and news websites as well as blogs.
I would like to thank all these forums and blogs and websites.

Election Photos 1
Election photos 2
Election Celeberation photos 3
Election photos 3 (protests by an Islamic Kurdish party)
Election Celeberations in Netherlands photos 4

Photos of Kurds participating in the Iraqi elections 15.12.2005
Photos of Kurds participating in the Iraqi elections 14.12.2005
Election photos 12.12.05
More Holland photos

The elementary results of the Iraqi elections in Kurdistan
Iraqi Vote Update from Global Voices (Delal)
Kurdistani Alliance sweeps 46% of London votes
Iraqi election: Kurdistan alliance list is on top of EU countries
Iraqis vote, celebrate near Washington, DC
About 95 percent of Kurdish Amedi took part in the election
Kurdistan President votes using Arabic ballet box
Kurds win in Kirkuk - Hiwa

Removable Ink ?!
I did not participate. But fraud and cheating was very wide across the whole of Iraq. My friend who works in Baghdad told me that he and his friends voted several times because the purple ink could be washed off with any cleaning liquid.
Another way to remove the ink was to dip your finger in oil (cooking oil, car oil etc) before entering the polling center, then washing your hands with soap was enough to get it off.

Lack of ballot papers across Iraq ?!!
One funny thing happened on the day is that we heard that ballot papers run out across Iraq. An election official came on a popular radio and said we have sent out ballot papers for every single voter to the polling stations. That is about 15 million ballot papers. How can they run out ?
Well they can. This is what happened. Every single party started to fill out papers by themselves.
A friend of mine went to vote..He is of the religious type and he wanted to vote for the Kurdistan Islamic Union. He is a funny guy he always makes jokes. This is how he told me about his experience:
"I went to vote at about 3.30 pm. A guy eating an apple and a few election officials (women and men) were dancing on the other side to some loud Kurdish dance music)...they told me voting is over...My friend told them "Look it is 3.30...voting is until 5.."...they told him "oh don't worry..we voted for you"..
My friend gets angry and shouts "Voted for me ?! Who told you to vote for me ?? They told him "We voted for you for 730..we will win..come and dance with us"..my friend (who does not look religious at all) told them I don't want to vote for 730..I want to vote for what I believe in...

the election officials become confused and they give him a ballot and let him vote...Later when he finishes, they ask him who did you vote for..He says that is private...they give him an apple and tell him not to tell anyone !!!

This happened all over Iraq. In Rumadi and other Sunni areas, tribal militiants were in charge of security and not the independent Iraqi army !!!

But despite all of these violations, it is not too bad...Better could be done in the future.

Iraqi Election!
It has been a quite day for Kurdistan...I will post a detailed description of events in the following hours.

Saddam Trial

Stayed in all day yesterday to watch Saddam's trial.

I think the trial is unfair - (not to Saddam, but to his victims) because :

1. The trial is not live. We get 30 minutes delay. Let's hear what the man has to say. Why he did that to us LIVE and without censors.

2. The trial video is edited and censored. This is not fair. So many people have died and so many mothers and fathers and orphans want to hear the facts. Why is the video censored and edited ?

3. All we get to see is Saddam being defiant, his aids crying for help....but nothing about facts...Saddam wanted to explain what he was doing in the video and he was stopped from doing so. Let's hear what the man has to say for fairness's sake.

Get paid up to $800 for blogging from Iraq/Kurdistan

Salam Pax, sent this to emigre :

Channel 4 Documentaries are making an Iraq season for the new year, and they're thinking of promoting the diary of an Iraqi on the website for a week. (This has nothing to do with Channel 4 News, they're just asking me as a favour to pass this on to Iraqis I know). They're willing to pay the blogger £500 for a 7 days worth of blogs (approx 1-200 words each).Please contact Ziad directly:Ziad.Al-Hasso@itn.co.uk

I can't do. 7 days is just too long . Sometimes I post 5 posts a day sometimes 1 in 5 months .

Ideology change in Kurdistan
So remember all these hyper pro-independence minded opinions out of Kurdistan ? Well, there has been a very sharp obvious change in ideologies in Kurdistan, perhaps more important than that of Ariel Sharon's.

Currently, and especially after the end of the transitional period in Iraq following the approval of the Iraqi constitution, there have been more calls by Kurds for equality and democracy.

There are almost frequent protests by civil servants and students against the Kurdish governments...People are extremly angry at both parties... There are people out there talking about an uprising similar to that of 1991 which happened against the Iraqi army..
Talking of uprisings, actually there were 2 uprisings in two Kurdish cities against the Kurdish parties. One in September against PUK and one in October against KDP.

Just last week, there were several students protests against PUK and KDP in both Arbil (Hawler) and Sulaymani.

Thankfully, international media have started picking up the stories and I was very happy to read this. This is what the report started with
"Iraqi Kurds complain of nepotism and power abuse. Just a small group of powerful officials benefits from the economic boom in the Kurdish region of Iraq. The regular citizens complain of nepotism and corruption. But the two parties have lost a lot of support among their population."

So this democratic "Other Iraq" and "Model for Iraq's future" is just being laughed at in Kurdistan. That day a Kurdish journalist was speaking on a Kurdish radio. He said "I hope Iraq will not be modelled on Kurdistan, because otherwise, we will have an ineffective parliament, corrupted leaders, and massive fraud and theft, and an angry poor nation".

To sum up, this is what a Kurdish newspaper published in its backpage last week. The change of the Kurdish dream. The dream of independence (on right) has changed to the dream of equality and democracy between Kurds themselves.

Iraq abuse claims...Both sides of the story

This week there have been some terrible news for those who still have hope of peace and democracy...I hope these were just a bad nightmare but unfortunately they are not...

1st....reports of using chemical weapons by the Americans in Fallujah and then reports of prisoners abuse and torture by the Iraqi government...

These reports destroy the hopes of the people of Iraq who still to build a democratic and peaceful system in a shattered land.

The president of Kurdistan has condemned these acts but the irony is that many in Kurdistan also beleive that the Kurdish authorities also carry out prisoners abuse. Especially those who get caught in terrorist activities....
This issue is very sensitive and I always try to avoid its discussions, because sometimes you get terrorists blowing themselves up and they get caught just before they do that...Now is it possible to torture this person in order to extract information taking into account that he was on a mission to kill and possibly seconds away from dying ?
I can not answer this question because I am not in the position of the authorities...But I take their point of view that they are desperate to stop the insurgency...So we better take both sides of the situation...

Another thing..I guarantee you that after these 2 reports, there will be a fierce attack by the anti-war movements...Well... this is their right and I also support their campaign for bringing better human rights for the people of the world, but wouldn't it have been nice if these people also raised their voice while we were being tortured and gassed by Saddam Hussein ?

In other developments, another blow has hit the Kurdistan Alliance Movement (which is headed by the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani)...The Yezidi Kurds are now not very happy with the way they were treated by secular Kurds....They only had one candidate in the Iraqi National Assembly in January's elections (if you remember this was the guy who told the parliament not to say anything bad to The Devil because Yezidis regard Devil is something positive). Now they demand 5 seats instead of one...

On good articles this week, The Middle East's real bane: corruption by Michael Rubin and
Kurds struggle for power, autonomy in Iraq by Anita Powell are two different sides of the story from Kurdistan (1st one mainly on Middle East but Kurdistan also being discussed breifly)..