Oct 30, 2015

"I lived through the death of my family"

-- Survivors and relatives of the victims of Turkish bombing of Zargely village speak of their tragedy, and ask for justice and peace --

Throughout the 1990s, and between 2007 and 2012, Turkish warplanes and military forces regularly bombarded the mountain regions of Iraqi Kurdistan. Aided by the USA, the Turkish so-called “war on terror” against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), gravely impacted the lives of thousands of subsistence farmers and shepherds, and their communities. The airstrikes and artillery bombardments killed and wounded many Kurdish civilians, destroyed and emptied villages, and burned or poisoned much agricultural land and livestock.

The peace process between the PKK and the Turkish government, which began on 21 March, 2013, raised long awaited hopes among the Kurdish people, despite being overshadowed by doubts rooted in their historic experience.
The hopes for peace were shattered when the Turkish government - under the pretext of joining the war against Da’esh (ISIS) – restarted attacks on the border regions of Iraqi Kurdistan in July of 2015. Turkey again targeted the PKK – the main force fighting against Da’esh in the region, as well as the civilians.
In the early morning hours of 1 August, 2015 Turkish warplanes fired rockets into Zergaly village, destroying houses, killing an elderly woman, and injuring her husband and three relatives.

After people from the surrounding area and other villages came to help the wounded, the warplanes returned – dropping bombs and firing more rockets on to the rescuers - killing seven and injuring eight more.

The survivors and family members speak of this tragedy…


Oct 29, 2015

ده‌ربازبووان و خانه‌واده‌ی قوربانیانی بۆمبارانکراوی گوندی زارگه‌ڵی له‌لایه‌ن تورکیاوه‌، باسی به‌سه‌رهاته‌ تراجیدیاکه‌یان ده‌که‌ن و داوای ئاشتی و دادگه‌ری ده‌که‌ن.
هه‌رله‌ساڵانی ۱۹۹۰وه تا ساڵانی۲۰۰۷بۆ۲۰۱۲ ،سوپای تورکیا هێرشی سه‌ربازیان ڕێکخستوه‌ وئه‌نجامداوه‌ ،بۆ سه‌رناوچه‌ شاخاویه‌کانی کوردستانی عیراق ،وه‌ له‌ئێستادا تورکیا به‌هاوکاری ئه‌مریکا، به‌ناوی شه‌ڕی دژه‌ تیرۆر دژ به‌ پارتی کرێکارانی کوردستان هێرش ئه‌نجام ده‌دات، ئه‌مه‌ بۆته‌ هۆی تێکچوون و زه‌ره‌ر گه‌یاندن به‌ ژیانی هه‌زاران جووتیار و شوان و کۆمه‌ڵگاکانیان.
تۆپباران و بۆمبارانی فڕرۆکه‌ جه‌نگییه‌کانی تورکیا بووه‌ته‌ هۆی کوشتنی چه‌ندین هاولاتی مه‌ده‌نی و بریندارکردن و تێکدان و سووتاندنی چه‌ندین زه‌وی و زاری کشتووکاڵی و ژه‌هراوی بوونی مه‌ڕوماڵاتیان.
کاتێ پرۆسه‌ی ئاشتی له‌ نێوان په‌که‌که‌ و حکومه‌تی تورکیا ده‌ستی پێکرد، بووه‌ هۆی هیواو ئومێدی خه‌ڵکی کورد که‌ خه‌ونی له‌ مێژینه‌یان بوو، سه‌ره‌ڕای ئه‌وه‌ی که‌ گومانیان هه‌بوو به‌ هۆی ئه‌وه‌ی که‌ ئه‌زموونێکی تاڵی مێژوویان هه‌بووه‌.
هیواکان بۆ ئاشتی خامۆش بوونه‌وه‌، کاتێک حکومه‌تی تورکیا له‌ ژێرناوی هاتنه‌ به‌ره‌ی شه‌ڕی دژی داعش هێرشی کرده‌ سه‌ر ناوچه‌ سنوری و شاخاوییه‌کانی کوردستانی عێڕاق و سه‌ره‌کیترین هێزی دژی داعش په‌که‌که‌ی کرده‌ ئامانج له‌ به‌رواری مانگی حه‌وتی ۲۰۱٥ .
له‌ کاتژمێره‌کانی به‌ره‌به‌یانی ۱ی ئابی ۲۰۱٥ فرۆکه‌ جه‌نگییه‌کانی تورکیا گوندی زارگه‌ڵیان بۆمباران کرد، ژنێکی به‌ته‌مه‌ن بووه‌ قوربانی و هاوسه‌ره‌که‌یی و ۳ که‌س له‌ خزمانی برینداربوون.
دوای ئه‌وه‌ی خه‌ڵکی ناوچه‌که‌و گونده‌کانی ده‌وروبه‌ری هاتن بۆ یارمه‌تی و ده‌ربازکردنی برینداره‌کان فرۆکه‌ جه‌نگییه‌کان جارێکی تر گه‌ڕانه‌وه‌و بۆمبیان فڕێدا و موشه‌کی تریان هاویشت بۆ ده‌ربازبووانی هێرشی پێشووتر، که‌ بووه‌ هۆی کوژرانی حه‌وت که‌سی ترو زیاتر له‌ هه‌شت بریندار.
ده‌ربازبووان و ئه‌ندامانی خانه‌واده‌ی قوربانییه‌کان ئه‌م ڕووداوه‌ تراژیدیایه‌ باس ده‌که‌ن

Oct 25, 2015

Political leaders stepping down graciously (and not)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

 by Kathy Thiessen (blog)

On Monday my country, Canada, had an election. Most of the people I know, with some exceptions, welcomed this event. We were very tired of a leader who had created a Canada that we did not recognize anymore, one that removed protection from our rivers and lakes, who ignored the indigenous peoples, made the process of immigrating to this country more onerous and oppressive etc etc. We were hopeful that a new prime minister and cabinet would be better even if they were not perfect.

In Canada, a prime minister can run and be re-elected as many times as the people say yes. Steven Harper could have continued to be the leader until he died if the voters had chosen him to continue. However, the voters had had enough and turned out in numbers that had not been seen in 22 years. We heard of some polling stations that ran out of ballots because so many people came to express their dissatisfaction and desire for change.

Yesterday, two days after the election.  I was reading articles coming from Iraqi Kurdistan where I spend the other half of my life working with Christian Peacemaker Teams. In this region Massoud Barzani is the president.  Iraqi Kurdistan has the rule that a president can only stay in power for two terms or eight years.  He was first elected as president in 2005. He was re-elected in 2009 with nearly 70% of the vote. Then in August 2013 the Kurdish parliament extended the term for another two years, bringing the end date to August 2015.

At this point the opposition spoke loudly and clearly. It was time for Barzani to be gone. It was  time for change. The law also speaks to that in an succinct way. " The term of the president that expires on August 20, 2013 will be extended until August 19, 2015 and cannot be extended for a second time." However, the KDP, Barzani's party is using the war with ISIS and difficulties in holding an election as reasons for keeping him in the office. with the full powers of the presidency.

The people are speaking. They have taken to the streets across the region,  protesting  and saying that Barzani must go. They also are asking for salaries that have not been paid in over three months.  However, the government has responded only with security forces and guns, killing 5 young men and injuring dozens of others. Then, on top of this they have beaten and restrained  journalists, trying to keep the news from reaching outside of the  region. And, they locked the opposition MPs  out from entering parliament, not even allowing them to enter the capital city, Hawler/Erbil.

"Peaceful Demonstration is our Only Way to awake you. 
Do you hear or see?" (October 20, Sulaimani)

The government workers (teachers, medical workers etc) have been
 demonstrating since 3 October. They have not received salaries in
 3 months. They have received their salaries very sporadically for two years.

As I grieve for the chaos that politicians have brought once again to the region and the Kurdish people that I love, I wonder what would have  happened here if Harper had refused to step down. What would my country do? What plans are in place to send an old prime minister on their way if they are standing their ground?  And  I am again made aware of my privilege to live in Canada where Harper publicly  said that it is time to leave and stepped down  to allow the new prime minister to take the leadership.

Gilbert Agabo , a permanent resident of Canada, originally from Rwanda,  reminded me and all readers of Metro Daily Newspaper of this yesterday  in his opinion article.  Read the whole article here.

"...what I was longing for was to participate in a democratic process that is peaceful, in every sense of the word.

As I mingled in a crowd of Liberal ....supporters, my mind couldn't stop rambling about what elections mean in other parts of the world.  Take Kenya, 2007. Following the highly contested residential elections, a dispute over the results erupted. People started attacking each other, and thousands lost their lives in the mayhem....

All along I was not expecting NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair to come out and start accusing incoming prime minister Justin Trudeau of stealing their votes.  I knew Stephen Harper wasn't going to call in military forces in an attempt to cling to power.

But watching them deliver concession speeches, all smiles, almost brought me to tears..... It's still unreal for me to hear an incumbent leader admit that the people are never wrong, notwithstanding that they just turfed him out......

And I felt sad that, as  permanent resident, I couldn't cast a ballot that was peaceful-- in every sense of the word."

Right now, in Iraqi Kurdistan, my team mates are watching what is happening. They are standing with the people on the streets and telling the social media world what is happening.

Please consider joining CPT Iraqi Kurdistan in our work. One way you can do this is to provide resources for us to continue our work.Click here to donate to CPT on behalf of Iraqi Kurdistan team

**[ Note for Canadians. Unfortunately, because CPT's work is too political for the Canadian government we are not able to provide a tax receipt. Maybe this will change with the new government. We can only pray and hope.]

My team created this video telling about the current situation in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Oct 22, 2015

Teachers continued to ask for their rights

Due to the pressure from the political parties and Directorate of Education, most schools have reopened. Despite threats of repercussions to their careers, and rain, teachers continued to ask for their rights also today, even though visibly in smaller numbers. The teachers protest continue continue, also in other towns of Sulaimani governorate: Halabja and Ranya..


Oct 20, 2015

Teachers held a demonstration

Despite the heavy presence of armed security forces and absence of media (allegedly after yesterday's ban on filming and photographing), around 500 teachers held a demonstration on a sidewalk opposite of the Sulaimani Directorate of Education also this morning.

Two men without uniforms, suspected of working with the Asaish or another agency, tried to prevent a CPT partner from entering the area of the protest (held on a public sidewalk) on the pretext of 'not being a teacher' (they requested seeing a teacher's ID). When two CPT members came to accompany their partner, the two men allowed the group to pass freely.


Oct 19, 2015

Security forces prohibit filming and photo documentation of a peaceful demonstration.

This morning the security forces forced the media, journalists and photographers into an area apart from the estimated 700-800 people protesting peacefully in front of the Sulaimani Directorate of Education. The "security" banned the journalists, reporters and human rights' observers from documenting the situation, in which the riot police and Asaish (secret police) in large numbers prevented the teachers, government employees and members of civil society, who have been peacefully and publicly demanding their rights since beginning of October, from blocking a road.

Three security forces members stopped a CPT member from taking photographs and ordered him to join the secluded media group.

Nonetheless, much of the situation has been documented by mobile phones.

It is at times like these that the years that the Christian Peacemaker Teams - Iraqi Kurdistan has put into networking with civil society groups is so important. And it is at times like these that your support is so important as well! http://bit.ly/1Ok7SEr

هه‌واڵی گرنگی ئه‌مڕۆ ..
هێزه‌ ئه‌منییه‌کان، ڕێگریان کرد له‌ گرتنی وێنه‌و ڤیدیۆی خۆپیشاندانه‌ ئاشتی خوازه‌که‌ی فه‌رمانبه‌ران و مامۆستایان له‌ شاری سلێمانی.
ئه‌م به‌یانییه‌ هێزه‌ ئه‌منییه‌کان، میدیاکاران و ڕۆژنامه‌نوسان و فۆتۆگرافه‌رانیان ناچار کرد له‌ یه‌ک شوێن کۆببنه‌وه‌ له‌ کاتی خۆپیشاندانه‌کانی مامۆستایان که‌ نزیکه‌ی ۷۰۰-۸۰۰ که‌س به‌ ئاشتیانه‌ کۆبوبوونه‌وه‌ به‌رامبه‌ر به‌ به‌ڕێوه‌به‌رێتی په‌روه‌رده‌ی ڕۆژئاوای سلێمانی.
هێزه‌ ئه‌منییه‌کان ڕێگریان له‌ میدیاکاران و ڕۆژنامه‌نووسان و چاودێرانی مافی مرۆڤ و ڕێکخراوه‌ مه‌ده‌نییه‌کان ده‌کرد که‌ ڕوماڵی بارودۆخه‌که‌ بکه‌ن، ئه‌مه‌ له‌ کاتێکدا که‌ ڕێژه‌یه‌کی زۆر له‌ پۆلیسی چالاکه‌ مه‌ده‌نییه‌کان و ئاسایش بڵاوه‌ پێکرابوون بۆ ڕێگری کردن له‌ ئه‌نجامدانی خۆپیشاندانی ئاشتیانه‌ی مامۆستایان که‌ له‌سه‌ره‌تای مانگی ئۆکتۆبه‌ره‌وه‌ ده‌ستی پێکردووه‌و ڕۆژانه‌ بۆ ماوه‌ی ۲ کاتژمێر گردبوونه‌وه‌وخۆپیشاندان له‌سه‌ر ئه‌و شه‌قامه‌ ئه‌نجام ده‌ده‌ن بۆ داواکردنی مافه‌کانیان.
سیان له‌ هێزه‌ ئه‌منییه‌کان ڕێگریان له‌ ئه‌ندامێکی چاودێری ڕێکخراوه‌که‌مان کرد بۆ گرتنی وێنه‌ و ڤیدیۆ و ویستیان ئه‌ویش بخه‌نه‌ پاڵ ئه‌و ڕۆژنامه‌نووسانه‌ی که‌ کۆکرابوونه‌وه‌ و ڕێگریان لێکرابوو بۆ ڕووماڵ کردن.
به‌ڵام هاووڵاتیان توانیان له‌ ڕێگای مۆبایله‌کانیانه‌وه‌ ڕه‌وشی بارودۆخه‌که‌ بڵاوبکه‌نه‌وه‌.

Oct 15, 2015

Peace is nonviolent action

Teachers in Sulaimani have been on strike for two weeks. Many protests have sprung up across Iraqi Kurdistan. People in Iraqi Kurdistan demand an end to, and resolution of, the economic and political crisis they claim the political parties and foreign companies and governments are responsible for.
You can also raise the voice of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and take part in their struggle by supporting our team as we accompany them.

A short video about the current situation, people's demands and a call to non-violence and for respect of people's rights. Amplify the voice if the people. Please watch and to share widely.

 له‌م کورته‌ فیلمه‌دا، ڕێکخراوه‌که‌مان هه‌وڵی داوه‌ ده‌نگی ناڕازی خۆپیشانده‌ران به‌رز بکاته‌وه‌ بۆ ڕای گشتی کۆمه‌ڵگه‌ی نێوده‌وڵه‌تی و بارودۆخی قه‌یراناوی ئێستای هه‌رێمی کوردستان بخاته‌ ڕوو، داوا له‌و وڵات و کۆمپانیا بیانیانه‌ ده‌کات، که‌ ڕێز و خۆشه‌ویستیان بۆ خه‌ڵکی ئه‌م هه‌رێمه‌ هه‌بێت هه‌روه‌ک چۆن خۆشه‌ویستیان بۆ قازانجی خۆیان هه‌یه‌!!

Oct 14, 2015

Prayer for Peacemakers: For a change...

Pray that civil war will not break out in Iraqi Kurdistan. The government has not paid civil servants’ salaries for three months.  Demonstrations across the region have left five dead, and dozens injured, and dozens detained by the secret police. The ruling KDP party has forced the Gorran (Change) party to leave the government and the capital. The majority of those who demand changes to the current situation do not condone violence. They call for the changes to come through non-violent means. Pray that those voices and actions prevail.

Oct 11, 2015

Teachers and then also other government employees have gone on strike

As a result of the deepening economic and political crisis, first the teachers and then also other government employees have gone on strike in Sulaimani and other cities across Iraqi Kurdistan. Since last Saturday 3 October, most schools in Sulaimani have been closed.
On Thursday 8 October, 5 political parties gathered in Grand Millenium hotel in Sulaimani to discuss possible resolution to the cirisis and reached no agreement. Several hundred men blocked the entryway to the hotel and the nearby road and several intersections by debris and burning trash containers. The security forces fired shots in the air and used water canon, tear gas and shoots in the air to disperse the crowds. A number of people suffered injuries from thrown stones. The images of violence have begun to overshadow the non-violence of the majority of those who demand changes through peaceful protests and strikes.
Yesterday, on Friday 9 October protesters in the town of Qaladize attacked a KDP office. The office seurity reportedly fired into the crowd killing 2 people and injuring more than a dozen.
Today, protests in many towns and cities around Sulaimani governorate and other areas took place. An uknown number (according to media reports the number rises to around 100 people) have been injured in the clashes between some of the protersters and security forces.
Some call the current events as the "(new) Uprising".
Majority of those who demand changes to the current situation do not condone violence. They call for the changes to come through non-violent means. CPT hopes that those voices and actions prevail.

Oct 10, 2015

Protesters injured and killed

Tonight our hearts cry with the two killed and over 100 injured people in protests across Iraqi Kurdistan, and the 86 killed and over 180 injured by bombs, most of who were Kurds and those marching in solidarity and for peace in Turkey.
(photo by Asocciated Press)