By Ramyar Hassani:
On Saturday, the Kurdish new year will be celebrated all over Kurdistan. People will welcome the spring and the resurrection of the planet that wakes up from a deep winter sleep. Photos of its signs are already posted all over the social media. Although in exile, I can imagine that trees have got blossom, grass has sprouted and the smell of spring can be savoured all around in Kurdistan.
For the past ten months, the lives of millions of people have been affected due to the barbarous violent acts of ISIL. The rate of ISIL expansion was fast enough to shock and frighten the international community and draw their attention to the region. Soon, ISIL announced their caliphate and imposed their decrees ordained by sharia law in the areas under their control. As they have managed to govern a vast area for a period of time enforcing sharia law, many outlets, organizations and analysts call them Islamic State.
Briefly, ISIL started heavy attacks towards Kurdish cities and towns while the Kurds did not engage beforehand. Thousands of Kurdish Yezidis had to flee their homes and thousands were locked up on Mount Sinjar. Meanwhile hundreds of Yezidi women were abducted by ISIL terrorists. The City of Kobane was the next target in the series of terrorist ground offensives.
While the western allies in the Middle East had neglected their borders on purpose to funnel foreign terrorists into the caliphate territory, the Kurds were fighting ISIL and hosting the Arabs who had to leave their homes. If Kurdistan had not defeated ISIL from many strategic spots, this terrorist organization would have firmly established the caliphate state that they dreaming of. Of course, the international community supported the cause both at governmental and individual levels: For instance, the British martyr whose body was shipped back to UK a few days ago.
The coalition forces knew from the very beginning that none of their allies are liable to cooperate in a war against ISIL except the Kurds.
On the other hand, Kurds have done what the Islamic countries, regardless of their ethnicity, were unable to do. Yet, proportionately, those who have fought ISIL on the front-lines are mainly having an Islamic background. Once again, the Kurds showed the world that neither all the middle-eastern folk nor all the Muslims are terrorist.
Obviously, all of the Kurdish men and women who have fought under different banners such as Peshmarga, YPG – People Protection Units – or YPJ – Women’s Protections Units – and so on, did another favor, this time to the West. The safest spot for foreigners during the peak of attacks and serious threats in the region was Kurdistan and the Kurdish people. There are so many Europeans and Americans who work and live in Kurdistan but simultaneously enjoy the safety and hospitality.
The recent changes in the region, mostly the results of sectarian wars and terrorist activities, caused serious damage to the affected countries’ international relations. Many NGOs, academic and research centers, business companies and even diplomatic offices have evacuated from the region. But the same sort of organizations, offices and companies have kept their work on and even gave their hand of support to the Kurds since the rampage by ISIL.
Like the other Newroz festivals in the past twelve years, since the Saddam Regime toppled, there will be so many westerners celebrating Newroz in Hawler, Sulaimani, Raniyah, Halabja, Dohuk and other cities of Kurdistan. But all in all, this Newroz is different. It has the smell of victory and resistance.
Salute to all the Kurdish men and women who have fought against ISIL terrorists!
And our deepest sympathy goes to the families of the martyrs and the Shengali women who were kidnapped by ISIL!
Ramyar Hassani is from Iran-held Kurdistan. Ramyar worked as human rights observer in Latin America, Europe and Kurdistan. You can follow him on Twitter @RamyarHassani