French Consul General shocks the President of Kurdistan

By Mufid Abdulla:

French Consul General Dr Frederic Tissot shocked the President of Kurdistan Masud Barzani last week in his speech at a political gathering in Hawler, the capital of Kurdistan, in connection with the French National Day of 14th July 2011. At the beginning of his speech he told the audience that this meeting could not have been organised without the help of sponsors in Hawler and he went on to thank them. Then he told the audience, in the presence of Masud Barzani, that the Kurdish leader should not talk about the past struggle of the Kurds when dealing with the young generation of today.

Dr Tissot said that he remembered very well the period of March 1991 when millions of Kurds walked into the countryside to escape Saddam’s forces. He was there at that time, he said, supervising the distribution of foods from the helicopters, etc. He continued: “We all know that the UN’s Article 688 created a safe haven for the Kurds. France has contributed a lot to the UN in relation to Kurdish issues and the no-fly zone”.

At this point, I would like to remind you of the remarks by Bernard Kochner, the current French Foreign Minister, in Hawler in 2008 when he opened the first French Consulate: “What has happened in the past is nothing compared to the future awaiting this nation. We have to go forward, to insist on the role of Parliament, the role of women, human rights and the freedom of journalism”.

Dr Tissot continued: “We believe that the Kurds have had a decent history in the Middle East. However, in February the demonstrations started by those young people created an atmosphere which everybody has followed with hope and aspiration. This type of situation should not result in punishment by torture because people are thirsty for freedom, justice and self-respect in their lives”.

He went on to say that the French government is obliged to keep the issue of human rights on their agenda at all times and cannot turn a blind eye. The French government opposes the repression of free speech in any country it is involved in and fully advocates the rights of individuals. France will continue to support the Kurdish people as they have done since 1991 and it will support the young people in their desire for freedom and liberty. The French government helped the Kurdish people in those days not to create a dictatorship but to establish freedom and dignity for everyone in the south of Kurdistan.

Tissot was sitting next to Barzani whose face immediately turned pale white: this was noticed by everybody. But it did not last for too long; as soon as Dr Frederic Tissot finished, Barzani clearly directed his own speech to him with this comment: “In any nation the younger generation should have connections and know about the history of their country”.

Barzani wants us to know that he has been in the army, struggling for many years. That is fair enough and we all know what happened in the past. But the young generation of today was born in the 1990s. These young people will read of our history but their priorities are education, housing, career prospects, their future livelihood, and so on.

However, Dr Tissot was alluding to the fact that the Kurdish leaders, and particularly the Barzani leadership, have tried to use this past history – saying that they have been in an armed struggle for so many years – to give themselves the right to suppress us and kill us. Barzani and his cronies have controlled the state for the last 20 years and are not allowing any new generation to come forward.

Surely, Dr Tissot loves Kurdistan and this new generation more than Masud Barzani does. Dr Tissot has been to almost every village in the eastern part of Kurdistan, treating women and children because he was a medical doctor. Dr Tissot is a true friend to our nation. He was very close to Dr Abdulrahman Kasmlaw, the former Iranian Kurdistan Democratic leader. Barzani should realise that our friends outside Kurdistan are observing the situation and want to be aware of everything that is going on.


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