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 Iraq's Arabs, Kurds unite with 'Rahma' on Star Academy

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Iraq's Arabs, Kurds unite with 'Rahma' on Star Academy  2.6.2010  
By Mariwan Faydullah Salihi for    

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June 2, 2010

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — With the current turmoil in relations between Erbil [seat of Kurdistan Regional Government] and Baghdad [the federal Iraqi capital] in the political arena, and the nearly three month delay of the formation of the new Iraqi government, many Iraqis have lost hope on their politicians. While politics and politicians [whether internal or external] have always tried to divide the multi-ethnic and multi-religious people of Mesopotamia [Iraq's ancient name], one person could re-unite them in 2010.

With her attractive dark eyes, ebony-black hair and tanned skin, Rahma Mezher, 21, is neither a politician nor did she grow up in a political family. Rahma is Iraq's only participant in this year's 7th Arab version of globally renowned reality talent-show 'Star Academy,' the most watched TV program in the Arab World and the wider Middle East – broadcasted globally on Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation [LBC].

After four, long months being isolated from the rest of the world and followed 24/7 by 70 camera's, Rahma secured her placement to the "Finals" together with two male participants from Jordan and Syria - out of a total of 21 participants from throughout the Arab World.        

Rahma Mezher. Photo: Facebook
taken, with permission
In the last two rounds of the "eliminations" process, held each Friday during a live "Prime Show," Rahma was saved by millions of votes from all around the world, mostly from Iraqis. Rahma received support from Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Yazidis, Jews, Mandaeans …from Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Armenians – from all of Iraq's rainbow of ethnicities, sects and religions. All of them united in one cause: Rahma and her representation of Iraq in the vital contest.

History is probably repeating itself again. In 2007, during the 4th Arab Star Academy, Iraq's participant Shatha Hassoun also won the title and was the first female and Iraqi to reach that point, in the history of the contest. Then, Shatha proudly re-united all Iraqis, despite the sectarian bloodshed and killings in the streets of Baghdad and other dangerous areas in the country. Since then, Iraq's security situation has improved and the country is moving towards another new era…perhaps one of security, prosperity and more democracy.

The last "Prime" of Arab Star Academy will be televised live on LBC this Friday, June 4. The show will start around 21.30 Iraq time (20.30 CET) and will end around midnight. I ask everyone from Iraq and elsewhere to vote for Rahma and bring back some happiness and smiles to Iraqis. Let's all get united, even if it's for one time (sad to say that), and cast our votes for someone who represents us and takes Iraqi culture and music, internationally.

Some Kurds might disagree with me when I use the term 'Iraqis' and 'Iraq', that also includes Kurds. But long as Kurdistan Region is an autonomous region within the international borders of Iraq, we should also participate in every major event – not only in the political process, but also in the country's culture,
www.ekurd.netsports and economy. Iraq does not only represent our fellow Arab citizens, but also includes all the other ethnicities I mentioned earlier. Let's put politics on side and show the world that we still can live peacefully together. Let us make Rahma win and have a nationwide celebration, from Zakho (in Duhok Province, Kurdistan Region) to Al-Fao (Basrah Province,) this upcoming Friday. Let's celebrate love, peace and unity – because what Rahma is doing today, even Nouri al-Maliki (Iraq's Prime Minister) couldn't achieve until now.
To vote for Rahma, please write her assigned number – "3" – through SMS to these following numbers inside Iraq: 9484 - Korek Telecom & SanaTel users;

1286 - AsiaCell users;
8008 - Zain Iraq users;
3720 - Itisaluna users.

Mariwan Faydullah Salihi, journalist at Kurdish Globe and Rudaw in Erbil/Iraqi Kurdistan and regular contributing writer. You may reach the author via email at: mariwan.journalist (at)

Copyright © 2010 

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