Sulaimany: Day Nine of Protest, Religious Leaders Join In

Kurdishaspect.com By Karzan Kardozi – 25.2.2011 – Today was the Ninth day of Protest here in Sulaimany, Iraqi Kurdistan. For the first time, the balance of power seem to be shifting toward the Protesters as their number grew and some Religious Leaders join in the Protest.

The Sun today was playing hide andseek with the Protesters, showing its face for a while and then hide behind the clouds, few chants from Protesters as the Sun would come out behind the clouds and shine its light on Maidany Azadi (Bardarky Sara). The weather was warmer than any other previous days, less scarf, the Young People now showed their face and they were not afraid to hide it behind their scarf.

Last night, around 1 AM, the Kurdistan Parliament ended its second session (their meeting went on from 11 AM in the morning to 1 AM at night), they released a 17 point statement, few points were very important to the Protesters: People can Protest Peacefully, All Militias Must get off the street and only anti-riot squat may breakup Protesters, they must have IDs on with their numbers on it. No Protesters should be arrested without a court order.

” In Rain and in Hail, Sulaimany Still got Energy”

But did anybody really care about the 17 Point? NO, in today’s protest the streets were still full of Militias, some with masks covering their face and no ID on. The Protester know that Kurdistan Parliament has no power to do anything and all power belong to KDP and PUK, that is why they went on protesting. The Goran members and members of Islamic Union of Kurdistan made the most passionate speeches, one of the Goran member told the head of Parliament that he should resign and the Government should be dissolved. Call also for Minister of Peshmerga and Interior Minister to resign. One of the Goran Member “You shot and kill Young Men throwing stones at buildings, bring large Forces to the city, yet when Iran and Turkey bombard Kurdistan, you do nothing”

” No to silencing Voices, Yes to Freedom of Expression” نا بۆ کپ کردنی دەنگ، بەڵێ بۆ ئازادی ڕادەربڕین

Al Jazeera Arabic estimated the numbers of yesterday’s Protest at 20,000, if that is so, then today there must have been between 25,000 to 30,0000 in Maidany Azadi. Today’s biggest applauds and cheers went to the Religious Leaders, a group of them who joined in the Protester and made speech to them, they hold a pray like in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. Some said the the Friday Prayer will take place at Maidany Azadi, that will surely bring in more people to the street. The White Group or Peace Group “گروپی ئاشتی” kept the peace as usual, among them there were some Members of Kurdistan Parliament, two women representative from Islamic Union of Kurdistan “یەکگرتووی ئیسلامی کوردستان”. Heavy present of Security Service around Maidany Azady, down to Mawlay Street and into Salim street in which KDP’s headquarter is located. A Group of Young Men are cleaning up the streets everyday before and after the Protest.

At Maidany Azady, as one of the Speaker mentioned that thousands in the town of Chwarqurna Close to Rania and Iranian Border) are protesting, the crowds went into euphoric chant. Today, many of the shop-owners closed their shops and joined the protest. Life outside of Maidany Azady was normal, people shopping, going to schools, kids playing. As always, the streets leading to the square were closed and no cars allowed.

I would like to talk about the views of the Protesters when it comes to the recent uprising in the Arab World. Historically and especially in recent times, the Kurdish population has looked with suspicion at Arab Governments and sometime that would lead them to think of the Arab Population as being with their leaders, but now that view is changing, they applaud and love them for their new Revolutions, one middle ages man told me that how wrong he had been to consider the Arabs as his enemy and how mistaken he was not to separate their leaders from the population, he had a small Kurdistan flag on him, he went as far as to say “The Arab population proved that they are the Mothers of civilizations in Middle East”. More angry calls for Erbil (Hawler) to join it, Protesters chating “Hawler is still Sleeping” “ھەولێر ھەر خەوتووە”

the KDP closed it. Also, there is news that the KDP Security Guards at checkpoint leading into the city of Erbil won’t allow cars that got Sulaimany tags to get into the city, more checkpoints is created. Some Protester were angry at one of the Kurdistan List representative in Iraqi Parliament, Ahwaq Jaf for calling the Sulaimany Protesters as “Troublemakers” in Iraqi Parliament. The father of Sukrew, one of the wounded who died is asking Masud Barzani to apologize to him.

Kurdast TV and Gali Kurdistan TV (belong to PUK) with Zagros TV and Kurdistan TV (Belong to KDP) had some businessmen talking and mention that the protest could hurt the Kurdistan economy and lose of millions of dollars. The head of Barez Company (one of the biggest construction company) told Gali Kurdistan that “Many project could stop and companies could leave the country”

Sulaimany High School Student on the Grave of Surkew Zahir

Some of today’s chants:

“This is the Tahrir Sequare, Do you remember Mubarak?”

“Leave that chair, the Masses are hungry”

“No to Corruption, Yes to Reform”

“In Rain and in Hail, Sulamiany Still got Energy”

No to Killing of Kurds” نا بۆ کورد کوژی

” Freedom , Freedom ” ئازادی ئازادی”

“Stop killing the Protesters” کوشتنی خۆپیشاندەران ڕاگرن”

“No to silencing Voices, Yes to Freedom of Expression” نا بۆ کپ کردنی دەنگ، بەڵێ بۆ ئازادی ڕادەربڕین”

“Listen to the sounds of Kurdistan” گوێ لەدەنگی کوردستان بگرن

Also for the second day, students in University of Koya went on to the street. Speda TV and Payam TV (both belong to Islamic Party) are now, more and more taking sides with the Protesters and criticizing the government.There is news that many Militias are sent to Kirkuk for tomorrow’s protest. Tomorrow is called the “Day of Rage” all around Iran and the Iraqi Government is taking heavy security measures.On Channel 4 (Belong to KDP), the Avin Aso’s program (Oprah of Kurdistan), Evin Jin u Jiyan is on, she is showing pictures of cute Kurdish children with smile, Kurdistan Flag with sad Classical Music on the background and she is talking patriotic “let us not give all this away, the World is jealous of us in Kurdistan, for our prosperity, etc..”

My Message to the Prime Minister, go and Join the Demonstrations

Kurdishaspect.com – By Dr. Hoshiar Molod

I read in the news that Kurdistan’s prime minister, Dr Barham Saleh, has announced that his door is open to the public and is prepared to listen to their concerns and suggestions. I have no doubt that Dr Saleh’s move is a right step towards solving the problem that faces Kurdistan. He wants to find a mechanism to listen to the demonstrators and solve the problem before it escalators even further. His move encouraged me to write the following few lines to him and his government.

Dear Sir,

We all know that the situation in Kurdistan is far from calming down. It started in Sulaimanya and is escalating to the other part of the region very rapidly. Kurdistan Regional Government, KRG, is not capable of offering a sincere resolution to the situation. KRG’s failure is because of the involvement of the two ruling parties in the government’s affairs. The two ruling parties are influencing KRG’s decision to their benefit.

I know that you are part of the ruling party, but I am also sure that you realize that you have been undermined.

We all saw when the faculty member and the higher education officials in the university of Sulaimanya, including the higher education minister Dr Delawar Alaadeen and the university head Dr Ali Saeed, joined the demonstrators inside the university to show their understanding of the pain of the people. They told everyone that they are part of the nation and showed solidarity with the youth in Sulaimanya. They were standing tall among the students.

While in Hawler, and because of the political double standard, they stand powerless when the universities were forced to close down. Or may I say that you are powerless in stopping others to be involved in your government. At the end of the day you should be running the government.

Students, peshmargas, workers, engineers, doctors, lawyers and everyone else that I didn’t mention are asking for equality and justice. They are not less patriotic than the peshmargas who were fighting the previous regime. They would have been proud of someone like you, if you were to defend their rights.

People will give credit where credit is due.

People on the streets of Kurdistan and some lawmakers in the parliament are asking for the government to step down. They are no longer having confident in this government. It is time for the government to step down and end this problem.

What makes this government different, from the others (i.e. Egypt or Libya) in the Middle East, if it refuses to listen to the people?

Isn’t that defines the different between democracy and dictatorship?

We are in pain and dismay for the situation in Kurdistan and we all ask you to step down.

Then you don’t need to wait for the people to knock on your door to tell you what is their problem. You will be able to join the demonstrators and listen to each and every one of them.

If you want to listen to the people,

Go and join the demonstrators, they are waiting for you.

Kurdish Aspect





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