The Earthquake in Kurdistan is Devastating!

By Rebwar Rashed:

The earthquake on Sunday evening, 11 November, which struck a region between Iraq and Iran, is strictly a Kurdish region. In Iraq, this Kurdish area has always been subjected to extermination by the Iraqi governments, for instance during the Anfal of Saddam Hussein at least 182,000 Kurdish civilians were buried alive. In Iran, this Kurdish region has always been neglected; most of them are Yarsan people. The Yarsan are an Kurdish ancient religion comparable to the Yazidis; and others are Kurds who are Shia Muslims, albeit never trusted by the Iranian government because they are ethnically Kurdish, not Persian.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.3. It was powerful enough to kill hundreds of Kurdish people and many thousands have been injured. The damage is devastating especially in the Eastern part of Kurdistan, i.e. Iranian Kurdistan, where almost every single building built by the government has totally or partially collapsed.

There are a few points which we Kurds would like others to know:

  1. The victims of this terrible natural disaster have been totally abandoned by Iraqi and Iranian governments just simply because it is a Kurdish region. There is a structural and constitutional racism and discrimination against Kurdish people which comes to the surface under these kinds of circumstances. But the official ideology of these states insists in political polemics and agitations that “Kurds are Iranian or Iraqi nationals”.
  2. Despite of the devastation there is not any kind of help from Iraq or Iran. The Iranian government has even made it very difficult for other Kurdish people in other cities to show solidarity and sisterhood for those affected. Only after a painful call out in the social media, especially through Facebook, was the Iranian government forced to ease the pressure on people and allow them to help the victims.
  3. The Iranian state TV channels — those directed toward Kurdish people — suggested again and again even until today (Tuesday morning, 14th November) that the casualties were only a “few people”. But reliable sources in the area, specifically in hospitals, indicated already on Monday morning, 13th November, that there were at least 600 confirmed deaths. Other Iranian TV channels which are directed to other, non-Kurdish, regions have been talking about this catastrophe only as minor news.
  4. Due to Iraq’s and Iran’s negligence of this devastated Kurdish region, the International community and many countries in the world which usually answer sympathetically and come forward helpfully in response to these kind of natural disasters, did not respond at all. Turkey, which has a good eye on the Kurdish region and which has been supporting Iraqi and Iranian central governments in suppressing the Kurds, has sent a shameful load of so-called necessities for “Iraqi citizens” and that is by a Turkish military cargo plane.
  5. Why have all government-built buildings collapsed in the Kurdish region in Iran while privately-built ones remained standing? This is obviously a question to ask, and why there were only a few ambulances available for such a horrible disaster? Ironically, there are literally thousands of ambulances available for Persian Shia Muslims who usually slash and whip themselves to mourn the death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and cut themselves with swords and knives.

The racism and the discrimination against Kurdish people is obvious.

Under a very popular pressure where Kurdish people of this region express their anger, the Iranian president Rouhani visited the region today, Tuesday, November 14th. Now Rouhani had to make this trip not to mourn with the people but rather to say that the person who was responsible for these government-built buildings is Mahmod Ahmadnajad, the former Iranian president.

In contrast to other news about this disaster, Rouhani´s speech was broadcast live on TV to all Iranians. Rouhani assures people that the government would lend and give money to those left homeless, and hold accountable anyone found not to have upheld building standards. Rouhani tries to save the current government and blame everything on a previous president.

The previous Iranian president was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He was the one who built two million housing units for people on low incomes under the name of the Mehr project (“Mercy/ Kindness”). These were built by the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). At least 12,000 residential buildings have “totally collapsed”. The devastation in Iraqi Kurdistan (Bashur) is much less.

The days are still somehow warm but the nights in these Kurdish areas are very cold, often close to freezing. The people don’t have enough food or water; they have hardly any kind of clothes and there are no places to take a bath and maintain personal hygiene.

In the other side of Iraqi Kurdistan, our Yazidi people are still living in tents four years after ISIS attacked them in August 2014. These people in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat) could be another group of refugees inside their own country. At least 100,000 poor civilians need help in both “Iraqi” and “Iranian” Kurdistan.

Kurdish people need friends. We are struggling for national and democratic rights against four countries in the Middle East which are probably among to the most dictatorial and totalitarian states in the world. Kurds live already under very harsh political and economic circumstances. Turkey has renewed its traditional waged war against Kurdish people since July 2015 and has demolished hundreds of houses. There are at least 600,000 displaced Kurdish people in the city of Diyarbakir and surroundings areas. Iran and Turkey continue with their bombardments of Kurdish areas deep inside Iraq and the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Iranian Shiia militias, were recently attacking Kurdish areas under the KRG administration. There are reports of crimes being committed.

Therefore I ask you all to support the Kurdish national struggle for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish question.

Rebwar Rashed is Co-Chairman of the Kurdistan National Congress – KNK

How To Help:

If you would like to make a donation to those who have suffered from the earthquake and who need help there are a few reliable sources to use.

To donate, for instance:
Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê e. V.
Wilhelmstr. 12
53840 Troisdorf
Tel.: +49 (0) 2241 975 25 83
+49 (0) 2241 975 25 85
Fax: +49 (0) 2241 975 25 84
Account/Hesap/Konto: IBAN: DE 49 370 502 99 000 40 10 481
Kreissparkasse Köln
Konto. Nr: 40 10 481
BLZ: 370 502 99
Hana Fond!
Nordea Bankkontonummer:
Clenning Nr 9960 kontoNr: 3409005737
Plusgiro nummer: 900573-7
Bankgiro Nummer: 900-5737
Swish Nummer: 1239005737

If you are in Sweden:
IBAN: SE22 9500 0099 6034 0900 5737
BIC-kod (SWIFT-adress): NDEASESS

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