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 Kurdistan: The Antidote for Peace?

 Opinion — Analysis 
  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


Kurdistan: The Antidote for Peace? ‎ 2.9.2012 
By Laween Atroshi  

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Laween Atroshi, UK Health Informatician & Ambassador For Peace (UPF)
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September 2, 2012

To understand pain, one must have experienced it either directly or indirectly. As a British-Kurdish Patriot, it is fair to say that I have experienced the pain indirectly through the lens of my father and forefathers. But the pain has also been triggered directly whilst growing up, as you start to question your very existence. This pain is more so for knowing that a fellow Kurd is being discriminated against, oppressed and abused simply because they are a Kurd. They are then denied all basic human rights including the art of communicating in Kurdish. Further insult is then added to this injury when civilised countries fail to recognise the mass genocide campaigns inflicted on the Kurdish Community. It is the only community in the Middle East whereby religion is not a factor of division nor is the community divided. In fact, it is probably one of the most united communities in the world.

As I was growing up, the Kurdish spirit had always been present in the household. Originating from the Atroshi clan, known for its hospitality and loyalty, this was also naturally adopted whilst growing up. I was taught to be proud of who I am, even if other children laughed at me because they had not heard of this “mysterious” country, known as ‘Kurdistan’. There has long since been a fear that the Kurds will succeed and be independent. For this, they have always been oppressed. However, the oppressors have always failed to, and will continue to fail to, penetrate the culture, loyalty and integration of the people. A number cannot be put to how many Kurds were buried alive, disappeared through secret police or tortured – almost every Kurdish family has or known somebody to have suffered this ordeal. Indeed, no Kurd has really led an easy life, regardless of which region they fall under. Through performing the gravest act in existence, an attempt to divide and put fear upon the Kurdish community, if not eradicate Kurdish existence, was put into motion: genocide. Families were buried alive, chemicals were used, and communities broken. Economical famine hit the region and many died. If they had not died through the ordeal, then it was out of shock. What saddens me is that the international community witnessed this, and until today the United Nations has not recognised the genocide officially.

Have they not suffered enough? It appears not. Unfortunately, the suffering continues on today. Current Kurds are being refused access to countries, simply because they are Kurdish. They are being denied the right to speak the Kurdish language. Yet, as a community there is still a strong unity. At times, the unity may not be so strong between different regions, similar to any marriage. However, if there is a matter that is in the Kurdish interest then suddenly there is a magnetic force, creating an instant attraction for unity. After all, every Kurd understands the pain of the other. Even so, as our culture is so rich and the hearts of the Kurds are genuinely pure, they regularly sing and remain optimistic. To understand the pain a Kurd suffers you only have to look into their eyes. It will give you a brief glance into the oppression. But then, with a twinkle of the eye, you will feel the automatic warmth that radiates the tenderness and kindness us Kurds are predisposed towards.

To be Kurdish should not be defined by one’s ability to speak the language. With or without the language skill, one is Kurdish at heart. To be Kurdish is to be proud of your country. It is when you can look back at the calamities that it has faced, and be conceited by the everlasting strength and unity of its people. It is to indulge in its rich customs and traditions, and have a thirst to experience more. Southern Kurdistan is acquiring wealth, but this does not mean that it is safe. If anything, it is probably more at risk of further challenges and as a community we must ensure that the region is supported. Equally, the other parts of Kurdistan must not be deserted and initiatives should still be implemented. There is a technological boom in Kurdistan and exposure of young, intelligent and articulate Kurdish youth who have a lot to offer to the region. Unfortunately, the system at times fails them. The system must be remoulded to ensure that we can take advantage of the skillset and build an educated and effective workforce, so that we do not have to rely on others.

Kurds have gone through a diabolical period, but have always had their chins up high. Even the poorest of the poor in Kurdistan have an unforeseen quality. They have a wealth of generosity, but they have no wealth. As a British-Kurd, I feel ashamed of myself when I am in the presence of such fine spirits, where they have nothing, yet offer everything. I then suddenly become the poor one, the impoverished one, the one disadvantaged of mastering such a unique character. The attributes of these inspirational Kurds allow them to accept any race, and any religion whether Jewish, Ezidi, Christian or Muslim. They will sacrifice their own lives to promote Kurdish hospitality and strength. When I went to Kurdistan, I visited the Jewish, Christian and Ezidi communities and was gobsmacked by what I saw. I saw unity and love between the different communities and attendance of events and celebrations. I felt proud to be Kurdish. I felt proud to come back to Britain and tell my colleagues that the Kurds genuinely do not discriminate nor do they inflict pain or harm.

As I drink my tea (Chai) in the evenings, an influx of memories drowns my thoughts. The old man whom had a heavy load on his back; the mother who had lost her child; the child who did not know what happened to his father. They all had one thing in common. They replied with ‘Kurd da be aza be (Kurds must be strong)’… ’Atu quri mini (you are my son)’... ’Kham ma ko, Kurdistanam ha ya (don’t be distressed, I have Kurdistan)’. They all said it with a smile. No regret, no hatred, and as painful as things were, Kurdistan was their antidote.

Laween Atroshi, UK Health Informatician & Ambassador For Peace (UPF). Laween Atroshi is not affiliated with any political party or organisations. Views and opinions are solely his own and do not reflect any organisation whom he has a direct or indirect affiliation with, either through employment or honorary. Laween Atroshi is a regular contributor to

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


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