Kurdish Spring! Is it coming?

By Kurd Khamkhoor:

Freedom Square in Sulaymani

Freedom Square in Sulaymani, 2011

A lot has changed in the political and social landscape of southern Kurdistan over the past twenty years, but more has changed in the last two years than those twenty years combined.  Before getting to the subject in hand, let’s make a quick refreshing trip down memory lane.  After the Kurdish uprising in 1991, a lot of hope was placed on the Kurdish forces and figures, with much credit and responsibility given to the two major political parties, KDP and PUK, with their respective leaders – Masoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani.  Things were going slowly, and people were understanding, as Kurdistan was just a new-born entity.  The regular citizens endured a lack of electricity, clean water, and the basic necessities of daily life.  The general attitude was positive.  Corruption started making its way into both the political and administrative arenas.  But people still embraced the slow-trickled growth with open hearts.

The PUK and KDP went to war with each other, dragging with them thousands of innocent citizens, many of whom died without knowing why they were holding arms in the faces of their fellow Kurdish brothers.  Pursuit of political domination didn’t stop a leader such as Masoud Barzani from relying on the Kurds’ fiercest enemy – Saddam Hussein  – to get rid of his fellow Kurdish rival, Jalal Talabani, who in return was willing to bring unlimited Iranian influence into Kurdistan.  Twenty years into independence, Kurdistan remains under-developed with more administrative corruption than there ever was under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Then came the events of February 2011 when a group of ordinary citizens, mostly young, took the streets in Sulaymani.  That specific event can arguably be considered the most important day in the history of modern Kurdistan since the initial uprising of 1991.  Defying a culture of voluntary and enforced silence, these young Kurds created a phenomenon which the current leaders of Kurdistan are yet to truly understand.

​Those thousands of citizens marching on the streets not only strengthened the opposition sectors, such as Goran and the Islamic groups in Kurdistan, but they also broke the fear that had been instilled in the hearts and minds of Kurdish citizens. Today, we see little sensible change from the current leaders, as corruption continues – members of the Barzani and Talabani families continue to devour wealth in public – and as attacks on the civil liberties of the citizens of Kurdistan still take place without hesitation.  We also continue to watch the rights of the media violated, journalists being killed and assaulted in the light of the sun, and the gangster style of ruling still existent in the form of open attacks on the centers and members of the opposition.

Now we pose the valid question: Where do we go from here? How long are the citizens of Kurdistan to endure injustice and corruption? An entire generation of Kurds was wasted under the hammer of the Baath regime.  Now, another generation is lying in the darkness with pathetic education and preferential access to higher education and employment.  This generation is being forced – directly and indirectly – to steal, lie, and switch political affiliations to obtain jobs or seats in universities.

Thousands of poor citizens in Kurdistan are scrambling to secure a living under an inflated economy while the Kurdish officials with their offspring have unlimited access to resources.  A poor widow has to watch her child die on a dirty hospital bed due to lack of medicine – when a few thousand dollars could help bring a cure – while our Barzani and Talabani leaders take their children all the way to Europe and the USA for simple dental hygiene.   Our government has failed to build much-needed new hospitals in cities, for over twenty years, while the Barzani clan enjoy their own private hospital in the Salahadeen resort, run by foreign doctors.

One has to wonder if the time has arrived for the Kurdish spring to appear from behind the clouds of corruption and social injustice.  This spring is much needed at a time of an identity crisis that we, Kurds, are going through.  Our people are in desperate need of this spring to push aside the corrupted leaders and create a new era with true democracy and freedom. We need a unified voice to perform political cleansing that would allow us to accept each other and live in harmony.  We need a unified hand to perform social renewal, a hand that would tap on our shoulders and reassure us that we don’t have to lie and sing the praises of the higher authorities to have jobs, education, and healthcare.

More than ever, our young generation is in dire need of a new spring that serves as a motherly heart to teach us how to build self-esteem and confidence in our abilities to lead our country in the right direction; to learn that we don’t need to hate the Turks, Arabs, or Persians to assert our independence; to tell our corrupted leaders that enough is enough and that we have decided to embark on a journey in pursuit of happiness, real happiness.

We have come to the realization that leaders who suck the wealth out of Kurdistan to build mansions and resorts in the west are indeed not true leaders, and will not last.  We have come to the belief that we need to forget our ideological and political differences and work with one heart to fight corruption and injustice.  Finally, we have come to the conclusion that what our current leaders have failed to accomplish in twenty years will most likely not happen in another twenty years and that it is time for new blood to be pumped into the heart of Kurdistan.  We realize the need for a new spring and it’s time to bring it to reality.

Copyright © 2012 Kurdistantribune.com

4 Responses to Kurdish Spring! Is it coming?
  1. Salahadeen
    May 27, 2012 | 15:22

    Thanks for sharing your thought, I enjoyed reading it. It is my belief that people should never be satisfied with their government because the government is there to serve its people. However, we must understand that Iraq/Kurdistan is a young democracy that is still trying to establish itself. People think democracies are all about freedom and peace. It’s true, most of the democratic countries around the world are relatively peaceful countries when you compare them to the autocratic states. The problem with democracies is that they suffer from political instability during the first couple years. Democratization is more of a process that develops over time. For Kurdistan, the situation is difficult because you have three groups- the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Kurds- fighting for power. Although competition is necessary for any democracy to flourish, such a ethnic/religious division will turn the people against each other. I don’t think we will see a revolution in Iraq/Kurdistan similar to the one in Libya or Egypt, but we may see increase in public opposition which will put pressure on the government to make an effort to fight off corruption and increase social, economic and political conditions within the country.

  2. Azad
    May 27, 2012 | 16:54

    The Kurdish spring will happen and the sun will shine despite the hands of darkness.

  3. sam
    May 28, 2012 | 05:34

    I love Kurdistan.

  4. Mala Hetuti
    February 23, 2013 | 17:20

    kurdistan is very beautiful in all the seasons

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