“You Cannot Occupy Arab Land”!
Kurdishaspect.com - By Dr. Rashid Karadaghi
Those were the words of an Iraqi Arab to a call-in radio program shortly after the liberation of Iraq in 2003. How I wish words like these were spoken by us Kurds, hurled at the occupiers of Kurdistan ----- Arabs, Turks, and Persians. How I wish we could translate our love for Kurdistan into outrage at those who not only have deprived our people of its nationhood and its rightful place among the nations of the world, but also of the most basic rights that make us human.
How I wish we, too, could scream in the face of the occupiers of our homeland, “You cannot occupy Kurdish land”! And I don’t mean only in the face of the REGIMES, but also of the peoples of the four countries that occupy our beloved Kurdistan. Yes, the PEOPLES also, for, unlike some of our Kurdish brethren, I believe that not only the regimes in those countries are responsible for our enslavement, but the peoples, too.
If we only look at the last ninety years, for instance, (since the creation of Iraq as a state), we find that many regimes have come and gone in Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria, but the fundamental views of the regimes and peoples of those countries towards the Kurds and Kurdistan have remained the same, which proves that our problem is not only with the regimes but the peoples as well.
Unfortunately, screaming in the face of the occupier is only wishful thinking because we have not been cursing our tormentors strongly enough even in our hearts. On the contrary, we have been paying homage, and still do, to the occupier. How else could one interpret our celebrating the anniversary of the establishment of the Iraqi occupation army every year and declaring the occasion an official holiday in Kurdistan even after 1992, when we could have easily skipped the cursed day without fear of retaliation from Baghdad?
It is truly unfathomable how, instead of erasing the occasion from our memory, we are celebrating the anniversary of the founding of a brutal army that has been the instrument of oppression and occupation in the hands of every Iraqi regime since the creation of that country, the army that perpetrated the Anfal, the biggest crime in all Kurdish history during which a quarter of a million innocent Kurds lost their lives, and the chemical attack on Halabja, the Kurdish Hiroshima.
And how is one to explain our being instrumental in rebuilding the army of the “new” Iraq, after being decimated in the 2003 Iraq liberation campaign, thereby giving Arab Iraq the tool to threaten us with, as it is doing now? We must have forgotten all the Kurdish blood that the Iraqi army had spilled for a century. We should have known that the new army would be a mirror image of the old one --- as it is proving these days. Instead of resurrecting the instrument of our oppression and occupation, we should have shouted loudly and with one voice, “You cannot occupy Kurdish land”!
As anyone with a sense of history would have predicted, the army that we so eagerly worked to rebuild is now threatening us with another Anfal. This is the reward of a people who refuse to learn from history, hence, are doomed to repeat it.