jeudi 31 janvier 2008

Kurds cry out against corruption (Part 2)

For Part 1 please see previous post

Comments: Hardi Shafiq's chauvinistic assertion that 'Kerkuk is the heart and Jerusalem of the Kurds' in the article below (published in Kurdish Aspect) is entirely false and unfounded. Every Iraqi knows that Kerkuk is the Iraqi Turkmens' capital city and their cultural centre. It was the capital of the Turkmen Iwak Atabegs in the 11th century. South of Kerkuk is the city of Tawuq or Daquq on the river of Tawuq Su, which was the first Turkish city, built in this area around 850 A.D. by the descendants of the Turkish troops placed in the Abbasid capital Samarra.

Kurdish Settlements
Originally, Kurds lived in mid-western Iran (Hamadan, Nahawand). The word “Curdestan” was officially mentioned for the first time by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century.

The migration of Kurdish tribes westward into Eastern Anatolia, Syria and Northern Iraq was encouraged by the Turks (Seljuks, Atabegs, Ottomans, Safawids) throughout the second millennium. The history of Kurdish-Turkish cooperation could be summarized as follows:

1- Cooperation with the Atabeg Turks against the Crusaders. Salahaddin the famous Kurdish commander was sent by the Atabeg of Musul Imadeddin Zengi to liberate the Holy Land.
2- Cooperation with the Ilkhanid Sultan “Mahmud Ghazan” in 1295 to subdue Northern Iraq and western Iran.
3- Cooperation with Tamerlane in 1398-1401 in subduing northern Iraq and eastern Anatolia.
4- Cooperation with the Ottoman Turks (Sultan Selim-1508, Sultan Murad-1743) against the Shiite expansion in Eastern Anatolia that started by the Safawid Turks from Iran.
5- Cooperation with the Safawid Turkish Nadir Shah in 1734 to subdue northern Iraq to his rule.
6- Cooperation with the Ottomans (Sultan Mahmud-1843, Sultan Hamid-1894) to quell rebellions against the empire in northern Iraq and eastern Anatolia.

The Turks, (Seljuks, Atabegs, Tamerlane, Ottomans and Safawids) in return for this cooperation by the Kurds, allowed large numbers of Kurdish tribes from Iran to move and settle in northern Iraq and eastern Anatolia. They gave them vast lands as well semi autonomous status.
The city of Suleymaniya was built by Suleyman Pasha the Ottoman governor of Baghdad at the beginning of the 18th century, to be a major Kurdish city.

In the 20th century and before the start of the Kurdish revolts in the forties, Kerkuk and Erbil were considered as major Turkmen cities, but, due to economical and political reasons, large numbers of Kurdish peasants settled in Erbil and Kerkuk. Also, because of continuous revolts of Kurds against the Iraqi government, significant numbers of Kurdish villages in the mountains were destroyed by the troops and those peasants were forcefully settled by the Iraqi government around Erbil and Kerkuk to keep them under control.

Within time, in only two decades (from 1945 to 1965), two thirds of Erbil and one quarter of Kerkuk became Kurdish. The first large scale Kurdish settlement was a suburb called “Iskan”(meaning settlement), established in 1960 by the Iraqi Army General Abdul Kerim Qasim, who led the 14th July 1958 Revolution against the Monarchy and who was the leader of Iraq up to 8th February 1963. The second Kurdish quarter was Azadi established in 1970.

Kurds cry out against corruption
'We had only words and even these...'
By Hardi Shafiq

Translated by Dr Kamal Mirawdeli

If a whole country is afflicted by administrative and moral corruption, they can still find a remedy for it if law and the authorities in that country are not affected by that virus. And the opposite of this hypothesis is also true. Don’t be surprised when any individual in this country thinks about getting a post or a position, they do not think of it [as an opportunity] to serve their people but they think of buying villas, pleasure and selfish enjoyment. They will be happy to deprive poor people, martyrs’ children and labourers from their food and property in order to create paradise for themselves and hells for others!

The way children get their education in their homes and from their parents, it is the same in politics. Then God save a people like ours, who learn to honour promises from their leaders, who learn to have conscience from them! That is why it is not surprising to see the child that is born today will become a duplicate of the officials who have power today; those who have twenty air conditions in their homes while people use old lamps and candles, whose children study in the universities in US and Sweden, while the children of our people study in cold and the students stay in their hostels without water, electricity and fuel.

They study in classes of 60 students and brave cold and rain in the streets. Yet every year it is the same story. The same promises with rounds of applause and self-congratulations. The officials are drowned in pleasures and our people have nothing but prayers for them. They pray while shivering in cold, they pray while market inflation bites them, they pray for the leaders for making all these blessings available for them!

But those who are enjoying pleasures in their mansions, they do not have time to visit the poor and deprived families and workers in their country in order to let their consciences be hurt a bit. No what they think of is corruption and keeping the market prices high and pass a press law [to silence people]. They take half a city’s house rents for themselves but they pass a law to prohibit public smoking! The smoke of some factories is smothering the city but they think of improving the checkpoints. Half of the people in the city have salaries that are not sufficient for paying the rent of a room, but they allocate two and three acres of land to the officials, media people and artists instead of building residential flats. And when such flats are built they are more expensive than ordinary houses.

It is this morality that has made it normal that working for Kurdism [Kurdayati] in the city of Kirkuk, that is supposed to be the heart and Jerusalem of Kurdistan, becomes a fight over pieces of coloured cloths (shara paro). In this neighbourhood you read the name of a martyr written in yellow [for KDP] , in the other the name of another martyr written on a green cloth [for PUK]. In fact neither of these parties is concerned about their martyrs. They are never prepared to put their pieces of cloth away and introduce their martyrs as the martyrs of Kurdistan and Kurdism, which is a greater honour for the sacrifice of the martyr. But here the interests of the parties require them to behave in this way. That is why their officials are the biggest merchants of our country. When Jacques Chirac left the republican palace his country was at the top in civilization and progress but he had no personal property to move in. But when we compare Kurdistan to France they say: they have had government since old times. Then they claim that the Arabs, Turks and Persians are the reason for all our setbacks. But we know that politics is the art of winning bets and the trust of people through creating prosperity and ensuring freedoms and independence, not, as they do, owning dozens of villas and companies.

In spite of this, no one listens to the complaints and protests of our people who are exhausted, breathless and hopeless, without services, and are victims of the black hands of this and that country. What we see is corruption, money laundering, offering contracts as gifts, factionalisation, insulting the authority of government, occupation of seats of power, killing the sense of belonging and spirit of a nation. Yet no one is made accountable for all of this. Look! There is no law to put a limit to any of these. Yet they still do not tolerate the criticisms in newspapers at a time when it is corruption that has put this country on the road of destruction and desolation and not criticism, news and reports.

In spite of all the fighting pens who are busy repainting the majestic houses of officials in white, at last the syndicate of the journalists recreated themselves in the old 50/50 house. It is sad that our officials are fixed on the same world vision that when they reach the seat of power then they must mummify people, never think of leaving their chairs and kill all those voices that criticise them, they always see only those people whom they have brought up with their favours and applaud them with hands and dollars not with their hearts. They never see those people who should have been the real shield for their pains.

No one in life is as sacred as a person who sees the world from the angle of the suffering of all people.

It is time for our leaders to understand that crying with tears and crying with hearts are different. It is corruption that has endangered our national security and not journalism!

It is time that they changed their own media instead of changing the conditions in a way that they would create elites and shower them with favours and blessings. This will never be a solution because history is written by the collective conscience of people.

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