Kurdistan’s Justice for Dunya

Aras Ahmed

By Aras Ahmed Mhamad:

The destiny of five of the six rapists of the 16-year-old Syrian Kurdish refugee girl has finally been decided on by the court – they are to remain in jail for 59 years. They are given what they deserve – if not more – though one of them is still on the run, and the girl’s family are happy and described the court sentence as “fair”. What has made the family of the girl even happier is that the court announced that she was innocent, refuting allegations that were made up by some people, including her relatives, that she had fabricated the story for the sake of money. The Australian government, through the UN humanitarian program, has also granted residential rights to the family. But is that it?

Were there times when you could not utter even a single word? Have you ever undergone a situation where you were completely flabbergasted? I am sure you have experienced and come across such moments in your life. That was my reaction when I heard about the gang-rape of a defenseless innocent young refugee girl from Syrian Kurdistan.

Violence against women, honor killings and divorce are on the rise in recent years in Kurdistan. According to reports and statistics from the Violence Against Women Directorate, in 2010 26 females were killed; in 2011 23, in 2012 nine and, in the first ten months of 2013, 23 females were killed in Hawler.

Erbil (Hawler), capital city of the Kurdistan Region, is most known for its generosity and hospitality, its calm nature and its eagerness to embrace foreigners and unfortunate people. But when one hears the story of the indecent, callous assault of the 16-year-old Syrian Kurdish girl in this quiet city, all you can do is wonder at the brutality of the act and wish at least life imprisonment for these rapists.

Public opinion, journalists, civil society organizations, marriage counseling centers, ministers of education and social affairs should get involved and pay serious attention to such cases and consider them as their own cases since they are responsible indirectly for what happens. Intellectuals should make a stand and people in the street should become more aware about events like this so that they will not become part of Kurdish culture and we do not allow the youth to fall for outrages of rape or violence against women.

Kurdistan is on its way towards more freedom, democracy and, most importantly, independence. Yes, there is corruption and favoritism in government institutions; even the President and Prime Minister confessed to social injustice on numerous occasions. Nevertheless, where are the plans to uproot them?

What is important for the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, in particular, but also for Kurds all over the world in general is to unite their public opinion and let the new generation recognize the danger of such crimes in order to raise individual and social awareness of the deadly consequences of such brutality.

There has to be seminars and workshops in the cities and countryside to raise and expand awareness among the individuals of our society not to let events like this happen again, as technology is driving the whole world to the edge of darkness. Kurdish society is undergoing major transformation in all its aspects and so we need to be prepared with the best tools available and counter any attempts that would lead to confusion.

These six rapists are real criminals. The shocking thing is three of them are brothers and one has two wives. What kind of conscience do they have when they call others to rape her? This kind of crime is significantly more dangerous than stealing. Moreover, one would wonder why such crimes as this happen. What motivates them?

Clearly, it is not a political motive but a sexual or, better to say, psychological one. So, personal, cultural and sexual awareness needs fundamental reform. So far, and after 23 years of self-rule, the ministry of education does not have a program or a book to guide the youth – rather the curriculum is crammed with national and theoretical books that are mostly of no use.

The media should not glamorize this kind of event and realize that the victim is not a puppet. These six men do not represent Kurdish people, but the event denounces Kurds and sends a negative message to the outside world – this is not to cover the event up, but rather to express support and sympathy.

Although there are inadequacies in oil distribution, electricity and lack of cash in the region due to the central government’s decision to cut the Kurdish share of the national budget, this case has nothing to do with the security forces and it is imprudent to blame Asayish or the police force – rather blame the policies of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KGR) in employing the wrong people in the wrong positions.

In December 2013, the Minister of Education was accused of corruption and smuggling books into the black market – plus the education system is completely out of date and, one could argue, broken. There are still three schools in one building. Obviously, appropriate education is the bedrock of a healthy society. But the educational system has been in hibernation for the last 20 years and there is still little chance officials would consider waking up from their dormant status.

Ever since the beginning of the Syrian war, nearly 240,000 Syrian Kurds have poured into the Kurdistan region and 97% of the refugees in Iraq are settled in Kurdistan. These people have already had enough of war, displacement and hardship.

This case does not need philosophical theories to handle it; it does not need glamorization to get more viewers. Everyone can relate to it and, as far as I know, Kurdish society all over the world was touched and Kurds have expressed their sympathies because this is the only case of rape that was so heinously conducted.  Of course, there is still honor killing and cases of violence and tribal agreements between the two parties, for the attacked and the attacker.

Overall, these six rapists represent neither Erbil (Hawler) nor Kurds; and events like this just need the proper tools and plans. Educating members of society from birth that males and females are equal in rights and responsibilities could be the first step.

Note: an earlier version of this article published previously. Some changes have been made due to the current development in the case.

Aras Ahmed Mhamad is a freelance journalist and columnist for The Kurdistan Tribune. He is the Founder and Deputy Editor of SMART, an independent English magazine that focuses on literature, language and society. In 2012, Mhamad was the top student of the College of Languages in the Department of English at the University of Human Development in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.

One Response to Kurdistan’s Justice for Dunya
  1. Kuvan Bamarny
    October 12, 2014 | 09:08

    Everybody,whether it a man or awoman ,pretty much knows that raping is a crime,yet some people still commit raping.For some people, whether they are married or single ,sex, becomes addiction specially good sex.They go look for it and they do not care when ,where, how or at what price they get it ,as long ads they gratify thiemthslves.It is an animallistic nature and feeling that over come conscious , discipline ,ethics and human morals.So the problem is not only sexual awareness but most importantly lack of self-control and discipline.

    Ministry of education do have a program or a book to guide the youth – But the problem is those who commit rape crimes are ignorant and do not care or listen to it. And by the way there are some people who do rape on daily bases and they get away with it.Why because they have power , money ,and they do it subtly,professionally through the mean of manipulation,fear,and blackmailing techniques.Justice should be for all ,but I guess the rich rapist gets away with it and poor rapist goes behind bars.

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