May 30, 2011

Post Demonstration: protest leader abducted and tortured

SULAIMANIYAH, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — Armed men on Thursday abducted and tortured one of the leaders of the protest movement in Sulaimaniyah.

28-year old Ismail Abdulla was a regular speaker at the rallies in Azadi Square during 62 days of protest. He was a key member of the Azadi Square council became a symbol of a peaceful uprising. After Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) forces violently occupied the Square on 19 April,
www.ekurd.netIsmail and many his colleagues went into hiding and he was communicating with friends through Facebook. The PUK of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani.

Last night militia men seized Ismail and subjected him to three hours of beating and stabbing before dumping him on the outskirts of the city.                     

28-year old Ismail Abdulla was a regular speaker at the rallies in Azadi Square during. Photo: Lvin press
Ismail managed to contact a relative who took him to hospital. He was discharged from hospital today and told local Lvinpress that he holds PUK forces responsible for the attack. He has been threatened previously by phone calls and text messages.

This development is surprising given the two ruling parties’ request for meetings and dialogue with the opposition.

Amnesty International has been contacted and asked to investigate the case.

Since February till middle April, thousands of protesters gathered daily in Sulaimaniyah and other parts of Kurdistan against corruption and the lording over Kurdistan region by two main parties KDP and PUK. Kurdish protestors demand the ouster of the local Kurdistan government KRG,www.ekurd.netcalling for improving services and living conditions and fighting corruption.

After 62 days of protests, the Governorate of of Sulaimaniyah has banned unlicensed demonstrations in the city. Heavy Kurdish forces deployed in the Sulaimaniyah city to prevent any demonstrations, and occupied the city center and other parts of Sulaimaniyah. The Security Committee in Sulaimaniyah banned on April 18 all sorts of protests.

Most of the demonstrators opposed Massoud Barzani, and the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP. Ten people were killed and more than 700 others wounded and 220 more have been arrested in clashes between demonstrators and Kurdish security forces during a wave or protests that swept Sulaimaniyah. The Kurdish security forces (Asayish) arrested and tortured a lot of activists and journalists.

The protesters demand the Kurdish government and parliament resign to give way for “early transparent elections”. They complain about “monopolizing the economic and political authority,” by the two major parties of Kurdistan. Many observe allegiance to either of the two ruling patties a must to get employed and hence were deprived of the right. Kurdistan suffers from electric power deficiency but after almost 20 years of semi autonomy.

For decades, the KDP of regional president Massoud Barzani and the PUK of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani have lorded over the region.

Massoud Barzani and his relatives control a large number of commercial enterprises in Kurdistan-Iraq, with a gross value of several billion US dollars. The family is routinely accused of corruption and nepotism by Kurdish media as well as international observers.

Iraq's Kurdish regional government has near total autonomy and is funded by a share of the country's oil revenue. The two parties that share power each command former guerrilla militias that have been given the status of regional security forces.

Earlier Massoud Barzani told an Italian newspaper that if 50,000 Kurdistan citizens require him to step down, he will. Afterwards, the opposition parties led a signature campaign and reportedly collected even more votes to oust the president. However, the fate of those signatures is still unclear.

Iraqi Kurdistan: Sulaimaniyah protest leader abducted and tortured

May 27, 2011

Post Demonstration: The end of the pretence of Kurdish democracy

The end of the pretence of Kurdish democracy
By Kamal Chomani:

The Kurdish leadership has often talked about a ‘thriving democracy’ in Iraqi Kurdistan, and through this they secured increased Western support. We saw hundreds of articles about ‘The Other Iraq’, but now such claims are being disproved.

Many Kurdish journalists, intellectuals, scholars and opposition leaders have declared – hundreds of times – that the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) ‘democracy’ is a mask – like that worn by many dictatorial regimes. However, because of the instability in the rest of Iraq, neither the international media nor western diplomats would accept this.

Democracies do not use violence against civilians who are protesting against corruption and calling for better public services, equality and an expansion of democracy and freedom of expression. But the Kurdish authorities brutally suppressed the protests that grew after 17th February.

--read the whole article from Kurdistan Tribune--

May 26, 2011

To Education

teenagers from Kirkuk wrote to the education system.


Hi, I am Hibe. I am 14 years old and I am in Grade 7. I am very
thankful to my school and my teachers. I especially appreciate their
teaching, explanations, and the way they treat us. Maybe they get more
tired than us. Even though there are so many things we like about
them, there are also many other things we dislike.

May 24, 2011

National Oppressor

( The poem is written in Arbic language, by a young woman from Kirkuk, January 2011)
From Delegation Fall 2010

O national oppressor, God has given me sufficient capacity so
that I can write poetry equal to holy sites.

but I know there isn't any pain equal to your pain, because in
all of the four parts of Kurdistan, there is killing .

O my nation .... I give you my blood and my life .

but I know that my blood doesn't ease your pain, but only makes
the enemy melt under your feet.

Then you embraced the people who forgot they were killers and criminals.

May 17, 2011

What’s a Woman

What’s a Woman
by Aida Al Rubei (the original poem is in Arabic)
From 庫德斯坦,伊拉克
What’s a Woman
She is mother, sister, wife, daughter.
Also lover,
great artist and author.

Sometimes she is a judge who is in charge,
Keeping order in the best way.
A clear riddle.
An indistinct clarity.

Legend is actually reality, and myth is the presence of certainty

May 16, 2011

Mullah Kameron Ali Khwarham

Mullah Kameron Ali Khwarham
by Peggy Gish

“I felt responsible to go to the demonstrations after the violent response of the authorities to the protesters on 17 February,” Mamosta Mullah Kameron Ali Khwarham told two members of CPT as they sat in his home in the village of Faraj Awa, just southeast of Suleimaniya. I wanted to let the protesters know that they are not alone, that some of the religious leaders are with them.”

Mullah Kameron was arrested twice after speaking out in the anti-corruption demonstrations that lasted from 17 February to 18 April 2011, (62 days) in Suleimaniya, in the Kurdish region of Iraq.

“There’s a passage in the Holy Koran that says if you see those in power oppress the poor, but you remain silent and don’t do something about it, you are standing with the powerful,” he said. “Islam teaches us that there is no justice without freedom and freedom brings justice.”

May 11, 2011

The State of the People's Uprising

The State of the People's Uprising
by Michele Naar-Obed
May 10 2011

The people's uprising against corruption and lack of basic rule of law in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Iraq, has come to an end for now. For 62 days, the people of Suleimaniya Province fought a valiant nonviolent campaign in the form of street demonstrations and strikes which started on February 17, 2011. During these days, the people held "open mike" rallies in the public squares of a number of cities where a host of people from different sectors of society had a chance to express their ideas about how to move forward as a society. They presented a list of demands and structural changes, developed the "Road map to the Peaceful Transition of Power in Southern Kurdistan", and appealed to the international community for backing and support.

Following the demonstration of February 17, the two ruling parties, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) run by Jalal Talabani and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) run by Massoud Barzani, called in their personal military troops to crack down on the demonstrations. The demonstrators appealed to the soldiers to lay down their weapons and join in the people's campaign. They shared flowers, candies, handshakes and hugs with the soldiers and from the open mike, greeted them as " brothers".