People want change and they want it now

By Mufid Abdulla: Kurdistan has shown again that successful regime change can only come about by people power and not by military force. The face of Kurdistan has changed since the deployment of the army and militant forces in Sulaymani. But despite the initial reaction of Talibani to the masses, Kurdistan is not Syria and the regime cannot easily slaughter so many people. The PUK and KDP are unable to finish what they started.

Opposition groups are adamant that they are only interested in talks if these are about reform and change. They are not interested in talking for the sake of it. The people’s demands are of the utmost importance. These demands and the political unrest have intensified since February 2011. However, since 19 April 2011, we have seen peaceful political gatherings halted by the intervention of the militia and the banning of all meetings and political rallies in Sulaymani and across south Kurdistan.

It is clear that the people‘s uprising, like other revolutions in the region, will not succeed through armed action. The probable outcome would be a massacre carried out by the KDP and PUK, two parties that were the architects of civil war and this year are responsible for thousands of casualties with hundreds of people still missing. The performance of the two administrations – one in Hawler and the other in Sulaymani – are severely dysfunctional.

Revolutions and civil war come without guarantees of happy endings – often they necessitate foreign intervention. What our nation is doing – through peaceful, political campaigns by non-partisan organisations – is currently seen by ordinary people as the most successful way to build a democracy.

There are no good answers coming from the two ruling parties but this does not mean violence should be the default reaction. People want change and change will come. Every day, people from all walks of life – teachers, nurses, engineers, doctors, students and women – are raising their voices. The two ruling parties are putting hundreds into jail and torturing them as punishment for siding with the opposition. Human rights have never been respected in Kurdistan and since 19th April violations of human rights have dramatically increased. The bottom line is that people want change and they want it now because they are disheartened by the litany of broken promises.

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