Danielle Mitterrand, long-term friend of the Kurds, has died

Danielle  Mitterrand, a staunch friend of the Kurdish people, has died at the age of 87. She was a founder of France Liberty and other charity organisations. As the wife of ex-President François Mitterrand she was the First Lady of France between 1981 and 1995.

Danielle Mitterrand was taken to Georges Pompidou hospital on the 18th November and died five days later. She had suffered lung complications for the last two years but, despite her illness, continued with all her charity work.

In his book, ‘Kurdistan: After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness?’, Jonathan C. Randal writes: “In France, Danielle Mitterrand, the former President’s wife and vociferous defender of the Kurds and other downtrodden minorities, needed no encouragement to bring their plight to her husband’s attention. When in late March 1991 the Iraqi counteroffensive gathered steam, she alerted specialists inside and outside the government to prepare contingency plans. She had been sensitized to the Kurds by, among others, Bernard Dorin, a diplomat who abruptly gave up his career to work for the Kurds without knowing much about them…

“Her longstanding and deep connection with the Kurds was a classic example of France’s enduring, near monarchical habit of having those close to the throne won over to a seemingly far-fetched and obscurely known cause”.

In fact her support for the Kurdish people developed through her friendship with the wife of Dr Abdulrahman Ghassemlou, the leader of the  Democratic Party of Kurdistan Iran (KDPI).

A KRG official spokesman has expressed the sadness of the people of Kurdistan and announced that the Kurdistan flag will fly at half mast on KRG buildings tomorrow during a day of mourning for Danielle Mitterrand.

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