On 30th of January 2005, as well as participating in the Iraqi elections, around 2 Million people participated in the unofficial poll on independence. Around %98 of the voters, voted for an independent Kurdistan state.
Watching the news headlines, the commentators were stunned by this massive figure of people wanting to break away from Iraq, something which embarrassed the Kurdish leaders who were calling for a united Iraq.
I will be honest with you here, the only reason there was a high Kurdish turn-out in the Iraqi elections, was because they viewed a high Kurdish bloc in the Iraqi Parliament as a closer step towards indepenence.
Now these %98 figure of people are not maniac, extremist, ultra-nationalist people. They are just ordinary citizens that are affected by day to day events in Iraq.
I will translate a word-to-word account of an eyewitness who is calling for "independence instantly" in one of the Kurdish newspapers. (ASO, 20/02/2005, page 6 (PDF FILE).)
"Mohammad Nasradeen, a Kurd, but with an Arabic name. Travelled to Mosul to get his university certificate. On the way back to Kurdistan, near Goear (place close to Mosul), an armed gang stopped their taxi.
They approached and shouted "Who is a Kurd, let him step down ?"
No one dared to reply. They were 2 Kurds, 2 Turkmens, another Arab passenger, an an Arab driver.
Then the gang members asked for I.D.s (In Iraq, the I.D shows your place of birth and your name).
The Arabs easily got through. The Turkmens, were insulted and sworn at, but they managed it through.
Now it is the turn for the 2 remaining passengers. The turn came to "Mohammad Nasradeen", who pretended he is an Arab, but as he says, he got a few insults but got away with it.
Now to the final passenger, they take his I.D. and shout "Sherzaaaaaaaaad ?! huh ? Kurdish ? come down." Yes, the passenger's name was Kurdish and he couldn't lie or pretend.
They force Sherzad out of the taxi. Sherzad starts to plea for his life. He says "Only my name is Kurdish, I am an Arab. I haven't got anything against Arabs let me go". But the gang won't listen. They shoot him. They shoot him and they shoot him again.
The gang members return to the taxi, they shout "This is the fate of every Kurd in Iraq" .
These incidents, of killing people for just being Kurds, for just having a Kurdish name, are now common.
The writer goes on "There are no solutions for us apart from independence. The Kurdish government should stop brain-washing our people for emtpy slogans of fake "unity and brotherhood".
The next 6 months are going to be the most important time in Iraq's history. This 6 months will decide whether the "Kurdish-Arabic" brotherhood is fake, or is real.