Kurdistan blogger. Blogging about life in Kurdistan.
Mr. Annan , what was the point of the sanctions ?!
Seriously, what was the point of the sanctions ? 13 years of a vicious embargo imposed on a suppressed people in the name of punishing its dictator ?!
I remember in the begining of the sancitons once Saddam Hussein appeared in one of his usual tours on Iraqi TV. He was in an Iraqi village where he was eating slaughtered sheeps "Iraqi BBQ style" he said "The sanctions are not on me. Look at Saddam Hussein I am eating very good now. It is on you".
Whoever that person was who came up with the idea that punishing an entire nation would make Saddam Hussein hungry and results in Saddam Hussein dying from hunger was - mind my language - the stupidest person ever.
The sanctions resulted in making the people weaker, and Saddam Hussein stronger. When facing a tyranny, a nation must not be hungry if it needed to revolt. I think the sanctions did more benefits to Saddam Hussein than harms.
Did they really think that Saddam Hussein was going to die from hunger ?!
Then they came up with "OIL-for-Rubbish"
programme. People were getting expired food (and until now) from the third world undeveloped countries. Like expired rice, flour, solid oil, yukky soaps (when you use it to wash your hand it makes your hands dirtier not cleaner), etc. Oh yeah, and don't forget Egyptian expired cheese with all kinds of bacteria growing on them.
The Oil-For-Rubbish programme totally killed agriculture and local industries. The programme was designed to benefit some certain people, including Mr. Annan, rather than benefit the sanctioned people.
In Kurdistan, there were 2 sanctions, or sometimes 3 or 4. One from the United Nations, one from Saddam Hussein, one from Turkey, etc.
We were telling the UN "Excuse me Saddam Hussein is not in Kurdistan why we are being punished for his actions ? That is an insult. He is our worst enemy why you are punishing us for something our enemy has done ?!"
I hope Koffi Annan and all the other western countries involved in the embargo then the Oil-for-Rubbish (sorry that is not food) programme would be punished. There was no point in punishing a nation fighting tyranny for its tyrant. And there is no point to continue that punishment in another form "Oil-for-Rubbish" programme.
Iraq : The Cancer Case
Ever wondered why Iraq has never worked as a state since its artificial creation in 1921 ?! Many people link Iraq's current failure in security and stability to the presence of the foreign forces.
Looking at Iraq's history since the day it was established in 1921, there has never been a peaceful period of time that we could identify. When the (Americans+Britons et. al., 2003)
arrived, people started to become interested in Iraq. But they don't acknowledge Iraq's history.
Created by Churchill in 1921, Iraq was designed in a way that it could never succeed. Let's face it, can you count 5 subsequent peaceful years in Iraq's history since 1921 ?
Iraq was created by forcing three different type of people to live under one roof. In marriages, when the wife and the husband are not very happy together, they decide to put an end to the marriage.
The three different people were already living in different states. The Kurds were part of the Mosul Willayet (province) , the Sunni Arabs mainly concentrated in Baghdad Willayet, and the Shias were mainly in the Basra Willayet.
The forced marriage of Kurds, Arab Sunnis and Arab Shias was proposed by The British Empire . Just like in some Eastern cultures, the marriage was carried out by the father (British foreign Ministry) without the knowledge of the boys or girls (Kurds, Sunnis, Shias).
So after experiencing a bitter 80 years of an unwanted marriage, now the uncle (US government) is coming for giving advice. Of course, just like the some Eastern cultures, a failed marriage is a big shame. Therefore it has to work, despite that the husband and the wife, the two very important components of the marriage process, are not very happy with the decisions.
You try to solve a problem, a hundred more problems emerge. This is what is now happening with the Americans. Let me compare what the Americans are now like with Iraq, a friend of mine is working in fixing electricity generators, he says that some generators are called "Cancer" because there are no ways they could be repaired. They can be repaired of the cost of 2 new generators. So when they see any of these generators, they tell their owners "This is cancer we won't touch it". I asked why, why you just don't try to fix it for them. He told me "I fix one thing, 10 more things break, I fix 10 more things, I mess up what I already did in the beginning. Then you finally fix everything, 1000 more things need to be changed. In the end, the total cost of all the repair services will be twice the price of a new generator. So what is the point ? You can't do anything to cancer.
Iraq is pretty much the same. It is a cancer case. You fix up one thing, you mess up another 100. Now the elections took place, which is a great step forward, but guess what will happen next ?!
Al-Sistani, an influential Islamic extremist cleric is already nominating everything in Iraq's politics. He blesses who is going to be the Prime Minister, the cabinet Ministers, what rules Iraq will have, etc.
Ayad Allawi, the current Iraqi PM, today has called for a stop for Sistani's influence on Iraq's politics. So this reminds me of my friend. Iraq's democracy is finally fixed, but now let's face its outcomes. And try to fix up the consequences. When we fix up the consequences, 100 more problems emerge. When you try to solve the 100 more problems, 1000 more emerge. That is when you finally come to a conclusion that a forced marriage would not work.
Because of Mesopotamia's wealth, all the superpowers in this world has invaded this land in the current borders of Iraq. From "Alexander The Great" to the "Mangols" to the "Ottomans" to the "Britons" and finally the "Americans".
If Iraq not fixed up properly this time, I see us in the same position in the next 100 years. With China now having the capability of becoming the next superpower, I am now thinking of buying a "Learn Chinese in 100 Years" book so that when they arrive, I can blog in "Chinese " from my grave.
Traditional Kurdish Clothes Record Sale in the Last Couple of Weeks
A few Kurdish newspapers reported that during the Newroz celeberations "Kurdish 2705 New Year", sales of traditional Kurdish clothes have reached a new record-high.
The last 8 days (starting from 19th of March) were with no doubt, the best time for party and celeberations in Kurdistan's history.
Kurdish clothes need to be designed individually. You can't buy it as you buy a pair of jeans, you have to first buy the materials, and then take them to a designer, and start it from there.
The papers said that most of the designers were totally booked and some of them had to work day and night in order to keep up with the high demands.
People have been celeberating Newroz freely since the uprising against the Iraqi government in 1991, but the living-standard conditions of normal people have become much better since 2003, that everyone affords to go out and party.
I have googled for Kurdish clothes designing and have found this one here, have a look and check out the other designs. A Kurdish girl in tradtional Kurdish clothes.
Kurdistan or Northern Iraq ?!
During the first session of the elected Iraqi parliament, the oldest member of the assembly said his blessing for Saddam's victims. He said "My blessing for the people of the North
Some of the 77 MPs from Kurdistan were insulted. They shouted "Kurdistan, Kurdistan. What North". The old man said "Sorry, Kurdistan".
If you watch this slide-show, you'd see that why using "Northern Iraq
" is not making any sense. Have you heard of "South of Britain" referring to England
or "Eastern America" referring to Washington, or Eastern China referring to Taiwan ?!
Feel free to link it.
update:The Turkish Democracy blog
asks to help 2 children being caught by the Turkish Police and says they may face life sentences over treason charges. Have a look some shocking photos and reports about Turkey.
Sistani is Angry !!click here for the photoWhich is more spiritual ?! Iraqi Al-cohol or Al-Sistani ?!
Saint Al-Sistani, the indirect Iraqi President and Prime Minister and Noble-Prize Superman, has become angry
over the delay of the government talks due to the Kurdish New Year holidays.
Doesn't Al-Sistani know that the people in Kurdistan are now busy drinking to his health ?! People are busy trying to get a place in the touristic attractions because it is our new year, it is just once a year....
Apparently Al-Sistani, who is in full charge of the winning United Iraqi Alliance (169) wants a quick formation of the Iraqi government, but he doesn't aknowledge that he and his nationalist Arabic thinking was the main reason of why the government formation was delayed until now. He and his UIA winners refused the return of the Kurdish refugees to Kirkuk, and wanted to limit Kurdish autonomy.
If Al-Sistani is serious about forming a government, let him come to one of touristic places in Kurdistan while the holiday lasts and sign the government deal, we will aslo have a pint or two of his best spiritual drinks !
Vote for Medya's photoblog Medya
, the blogger who is risking his life by blogging from Iranian Kurdistan has been nominated for the Photobloggies Awards for the Middle Eastern & African Photoblogs cateogory
It would be a good tap on the shoulders for Medya if we all voted for his blog. Visit http://www.photobloggies.org/
and scroll down to the Best African / Middle Eastern Photoblog
Last month 2 Iranian bloggers faced 14 years in jail for blogging in Iran. So let's all vote for Medya and support blogging in that part of the world.
Newroz News from all parts of Greater Kurdistan
I have covered Newroz (Kurdish New Year
) celeberations in South Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan), I think now it is time to talk about the rest of the areas of Greater Kurdistan.(p.s. Kurds don't give a damn about those artificial borders which are imposed on us, so we are looking at ourselves as Kurds first, before being Iraqis, Iranians, Turkish or Syrians or any more artificial identities).Northern KurdistanKurdistan flag in DiyarBakir (Amed)!
Estimated 1 Million Kurds turned up for the Newroz celeberations in Diyar Bakir, the Kurdish capital in Northern Kurdistan (South East Turkey), with 150 EU observers, as well as Leyla Zana (who was sentenced to life because she spoke Kurdish in the Turkish Parliament in 1994) and many more famous people.
The celeberators carried the Kurdistan flags as they danced to some famous Kurdish singers such as Ibrahim Tatlises, Cwan Haco, and Gulestan Perwer.Over a million people turned up
Turkish security forces were on high alert, but too bad for them as they couldn't stop people from celeberating due to the high presence of EU officials.
The Turkish nationalist newspaper, Hurriyet,
claims that the crowd have attempted to
burn the Turkish flag, something which doesn't represent the estimated 20 Million Kurds in that country. The Turkish army's racist mentality couldn't accept that 20 Million people are being forced to live as minorities Turks (very huge number for a minority!) and they have issued a warning statement to the Kurds and have called them "Unloyal Citizens"."Some of the people attending the party were calling for a confederal, democratic state"
The Turkish newspapers are all gone wild over the massive turn-out of people. All the Turkish dailys have the headline "Proud Turkish flag dis-respected by Kurds"
I don't know why should the Kurds be loyal to Turkey ?! They are being called Turks, their identity
is being denied, which is the very basic law of human rights.
Besides, there are still people out there who use Turkey
as a terror-tool
against the Kurds in south Kurdistan (oh you do that Turkey kills you all). It is very ironic, as these people who use Turkey to terrorise Kurds, are themselves engaged in fighting terrorism.
Now let them face the 20 Million people up North. Using Terror will never suppress people. It will make people stronger.Eastern Kurdistan (Iranian Kurdistan).
According to Peyamner.com
, Kurds in Sna and Mehabad cities in Eastern Kurdistan have started Newroz celeberations amid tight security measures. The meaning of Newroz is different for Kurds (concept is freedom) and to Iranians (begining of Spring). Around 1000 youngsters have gathered in Chwar Chra Square in Mehabad (the square where the first Kurdish State was announced) and flew Kurdistan flag. Iranian forces have soon arrived in the place and have made some arrests.Western Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan)
Kurds have gathered in Amude
, and Qamishlo and some other cities and have started the Newroz fire on the hills. More photos from Amude.com
In south Kurdistan there are still 4 more days to celeberate, but this Newroz has been the best so far as it has united us all without giving a damn to those artificial borders which were imposed on us by some random people hundreds of miles away from us some 80 years ago.
Newroz Photos from Kurdistan
Newroz Fire, Suleimani, Kurdistan, 20th of March 2005.
A Kurdish child smiles for Newroz. Behind, Newroz's Fire ! Fire is a symbol of Newroz
The Newroz Fire today in Suleimani, Kurdistan, with the Kurdistan flag.
A Kurdish girl in tradtional clothes celeberating Newroz, in Istanbul, Turkey.
A Kurdish Police (Peshmerga) protecting the streets in Suleimani Kurdistan. Iraqis demand disbanding our Peshmergas.
Another Kurdish Peshmerga protects the streets in Suleimani, as masses of cars and people turned to the streets to dance and celeberate Newroz, the new Kurdish year of 2705.
Kurdish Peshmergas arrive to control the security in the streets of Suleimani, Kurdistan as masses of people turned to the streets to celeberate Newroz amid threats of terrorist activities.
Kurds in Istanbul, Turkey celeberate Newroz in masses.
Newroz Piroz Be ! (Happy Newroz)
Happy New Kurdish Year ! Happy Newroz 2705Kurdish girls wearing traditional Kurdish clothes are dancing in Newroz celeberations in schools.
Tomorrow, is the first day of Newroz (Newroz means New Day)
,the first day of 2705
in the Kurdish calendar.
Since yesterday, 19th of March, the celeberations have already started. People have turned into wild party-animals. There are no places in Kurdistan where you don't see partying and loud dance music.
Most schools carried out their Newroz activies, where students party, participate in theatre shows, and comedian stand ups.
Most people wear traditional colourful Kurdish clothes. Today, there will be a fire memorial to officially start Newroz. All the touristic attractions in Kurdistan will be packed during these days, where thousands go out to picnic and spend the day in the mountains and near the lakes.
The fire is a symbol for freedom and a new dawn. This is because it was used as a sign to announce the end of a suppressive regime some 2705 years ago. There was a king called (Zuhak) where he was killed many Kurds. This led to an uprising by a smith called Kawa The Smith and ended the suppresive regime and brought freedom to Kurds at that day. When he managed to kill (Zuhak), he used a fire from the top of Zuhak's palace to tell the people in the mountains that Zuhak is dead. Whether it is myth or reality, it doesn't stop people from celeberating it.
I hope everyone would have a happy and peaceful "Newroz" and hope Newroz's freedom symbol "Fire" would soon be displayed for all the oppressed people.
Newroz Piroz Everyone ! = Happy Newroz
The Gasha School ~ European Teaching in Kurdistan
The Gasha School is an primary and secondary school made for those children who have returned to Kurdistan from Europe/USA etc.
The school was opened by the Kurdistan Save The Children
, a charity organisation supported by the British Save The Children.
Last week the Kurdish weekly "Hawlati
" reported that there is a clash of cultures between the European returning teenage students, and the local Kurdish teachers.
" (PDF file, report in Kurdish
The Kurdish culture is somehow conservative, with liberalism on the increase, but yet not to the European level. For example, if a 16 years old smokes in a school, he/she would guarantee a ban for life. Sometimes students are punished for smaller things, like having a set of photos of models, football players, or any other fun-related stuff.
Beating in Kurdistan schools was a routine, until recently, but still it takes place despite the Kurdistan government's efforts to stop it.
Jessica, a British volunteer is the head of the school. (I posted her elections diaries once thanks to her friend Maureen).
She is saying that the Kurdish government is not doing much to help the school. In her room, there are pictures made by the younger students for her, and on the other bench, there are packets of cigarettes, and bottles of alcohol, all caught by the school from students. She says she is showing these as evidence to the parents of the expelled students.
Despite all the difficulties, this school is a great solution for those children who have returned to Kurdistan from Europe. Since these students have had European education, it is very hard for them to adapt in Kurdish schools. So far Gasha has around 250 students.p.s. Newroz (Kurdish New Year)'s celeberations start from tomorrow ! Time to party !
So what is the hottest issue now among young Kurds?!
(updated)"The protest in which 3000 students denounced the opening of the private Future University in Slemani, Kurdistan, 13th March 2005".
First I had to wait 20 minutes for blogger to show me the Dashboard. My coffee is all cold thanks to blogger.
So what is the most talked about issue in Kurdistan ?!
Kirkuk ?!! Federalism ?!! Independence ?!!
For Kurdish students , NO. None of them at this moment. Especially for the students at the Suleimani University. The students at the Suleimani University has gone on a strike for almost 3 weeks. Students at the Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy colleges are on strike because of the opening of a new university called "The Future University".
The Future University is a private college which charges $3000 per year for studying Medicine/Pharmacy or Engineering. And of course, student qualification is not an important issue as far as they pay.
Students at the Suleimani Univeristy are not paying for education, but they are going under a selective measure in which the top 150 school students with the highest average marks are accepted for Medicine.
Now the students at Suleimani University demand the closure of the "Future University", because they say that this university is accepting students based on their size of pockets, rather than the size of their brains.
The strike continues, and there is a big row between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Sutdents Unions.
Sadly, just like usual, the bigger issues are not being reported by the World Media.
There are plans for the opening of at least two new private universities in Kurdistan, one of which is American.Next : Gasha School. A school for returning European & American Kurds.
The Unrealistic Kurdish Demands On Halabja Anniversary
The photo which became the symbol for the 1988's chemical attack on Halabja. A father tries to protect his child but they both die from the attack.
I had a little chat with Mister Ghost over the current issues the other day, but I couldn't resist talking about the "unrealistic Kurdish demands" here.
If you remember the beginning of this blog, I was shouting for "guarantees" that could give Kurds the hope that another massacre like the one which happened today, 17 years ago, will not happen again.
After the Iraqi elections, the Kurdish political groups have come up with these guarantees :
1. The end of Arabisation in Kirkuk and the return of Kirkuk to Kurdistan.
2. Approving of the Peshmarga forces as the federal forces of the Kurdistan government because they are the secret of our peace.
3. Allocate %25 of Iraq's natural resources to the Kurdistan government (Kurdistan is making up %25 of Iraq).
4. Islam shall not be the primary law in Iraq but it can be one of the sources.
Soon after declaring these demands, the Iraqis from all different backgrounds, the Baathiests, the Sunnis, the Shitt'es, the Sistanists, the Saddamists, (you name it) , said these are unrealistic demands.
Kurds also call these demands "unrealistic". We agree. These demands shouldn't be our demands. We have to demand independence at this stage. Enough is enough. The Kurdish leaders, should warn USA, Britain, and the UN that if these "guarantees" weren't meant, we will declare independence.
The unrealistic demands the Iraqis are talking about is called "guarantees". The demands that Kurds should make now is "independence". It is very clear that the Iraqis are trying to force us back to pre-1991 era where their army was busy in Kurdistan.
We have come to a stage where we have a peaceful modern, some-how democratic institution. We are protecting our institution ourselves , we are not ready to go backward. But the Iraqis are forcing us to go backward.
Well I am sorry but no one in Kurdistan is ready to go backward, not just in Kurdistan, tell me which normal person in this world is ready to go backward ?!
The Iraqis are asking for the impossible. We have gone to a stage where we have been independent for the last 14 years. There is no power on this Earth taking that from us. We feel very strong about it.
Many US/British/etc Commanders come to Kurdistan and say "Why on Earth you have a peaceful region, where just kilometers away from you, a sea of blood is rising?""
We tell them, our Peshmargas. They are not militia, they are organised Police, Security Forces, Intelligence Officers, but because they face-death to protect us, we call them "Peshmerga". (those who face death).
My blessings for the victims of Halabja, and all the martyrs of freedom in this world.
Halabja: Silence Was Approval
Every March, mixed feelings of joy and sorrow fills the skies of Kurdistan. From the first few days of March up to the middle of the month, there are celeberations of the anniversary of the 1991 uprising which was a begining for self-rule and freedom.
Then comes 16th of March, the Wednesday, 16th of March 1988 where Halabja was chemically and barbarically attacked.
Halabja is not an Iraqi village like many media outlets claim. In fact if you say that in the city itself, they will get very insulted.
The people of Halabja are not Saddam's own people. This is another very harsh insulting comment. In fact Saddam was their sworn enemy.
This is because chemical attacks on Kurdistan started from 1983, unfortunately, the world was just silent.
The world was silent, and as the proverb says "Silent is Approval", this left very little hope for the people of Halabja.
The American Reagan Administration knew very well about Saddam's use of chemical against the Kurds :
After the attacks on Halabja, which was the largest chemical attack of the Iraqi government, the American government stand still.
"As early as 1983 the Reagan Administration was already well aware that
Iraq was using chemical weapons in its war against Iran. According to U.S.
intelligence on an ‘almost daily basis’. But that wasn’t all. There were also
intelligence reports the Iraqis were using chemical weapons in the north of
their own country, in the battle against the Kurds. But the White House did
I find this amusing. Today, the Americans interfer in everything to protect "Democracy and Freedom", just look at Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine, Romania, Malodva etc etc. But why not the "Freedom" of the people of Halabja wasn't important to the American Administration ?!
Never mind. Not all, Senate Peter Galbraith, a long time friend of the people of Halabja, drafted legislation - the Prevention of Genocide Act - that imposed harsh economic sanctions on Saddam Hussein.
But, the draft died in Congress.
And the American government, which denounces terror and dictatorship, continued to do good business with Saddam Hussein.
One of those who opposed "Sanctions on Sadadm" in 1988 was our man Colin Powell.
But guess what, Colin Powell who kept Silent in 1988, suddenly remembered Halabja in 2003. He paid a visit to the city. But did the people of Halabja know about Powell's role in the blockage of sanctions on Saddam in 1988 ?
When the 1988 gassings took place at Halabja Colin Powell was the National
Security Advisor for the Reagan/Bush administration and Saddam was the Reagan
and then Bush administration's strategic ally. Saddam's chemicals, now called
WMDs, came from the US and other western countries. When the US Congress
attempted to act against Saddam, Colin Powell and the rest of the Reagan/Bush
administration made sure that the Prevention of Genocide Act died in Congress.
Of course Powell doesn't care about the people of Halabja. His visit was only to tell the world "Hey we couldn't find these damn WMDs but look at Saddam's own people who died from his WMD."
I hope Peter Galbraith, who comes to Kurdistan from time to time would explain this to the people of the city.
But not just America, the whole world stood silent, and as the proverb says, Silence was approval.
This is a flash movie with a collection of photos of the attack.
Finally I find this movie "WMD", in which photos of the deads of Halabja are being paraded on its website very abusive and moral lacking act.
The people of Halabja don't want movies to tell the world "Hey there was no WMD but look at Halabja" because your silence in 1988 was approval, we don't want people to feel sorry for us after 17 years.
Halabja after 17 years
Today, even after 17 years, thousands die each year due to affects of the chemical weapons on the genetics of the people of Halabja. Hundreds of new genetics-related diseases can be seen among people.
Babies are born with a single leg, with no legs, with neurogical damages, cancer rates have gone up to %80. The lands have become infertile and there are no species in the region who wasn't affected by the attacks.
A great number of survivors have lost vision, taste, fertility, and every other sense that a human needs to survive in this world.
Humans, birds, sheeps, plants, trees, flowers, and every other single living organism have numorous genetically related diseases which kill them before they have a chance to grow up.
The new generations in Halabja are a generation of mutated children. They don't want movies about 17 years ago (the movies were needed then not now), they want support for new clinical research centers to help them with their current problems.
Finally, this is a great documentary about the attack after 15 years (2003). Don't approve Halabja, don't stay silent.
I have also turned this blog into a complete library...On your right sidebar, you can find all the news websites (Both in Kurdish & English) and newspapers , tvs, radios, even a chat site (if you had a quick question there is always people to answer)..So when I am not here, you are welcomed to use them...On your left side, a complete list of Iraqi blogs and Iraqi links and news websites.
Oh before my lacuna, one more thing, Learn Kurdish Blog is there, if you want to join, or if you want to read, you are free to do so. I try to get as many people (who speak the language) as possible on that blog so that those who would like to learn the basics of Kurdish would benefit from it.
I will leave the keys in in the plant vase outside the door...Ouuuch that wasn't for you.