February 20, 2009
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Response to Kamal Mirawdeli article about the Death of Late Layla Ali - By Aryan Akrayi

Once again, another Kurdish woman becomes the victim of Violence against Women in Kurdistan.  
The news of Layla's death spread in the last few days of 2008.  Perhaps, Layla was the most known Kurdish women to take her life in 2008, but certainly not the only one.  In a recent article conducted Dec 15, 2008 on Sharq-Al-Awsat, Sozan Shahab, a Kurdish parliamentarian said that in one month, there were about 166 complaints of violence against women registered and over 100 women died in Kurdistan.  
Once in a while, we hear about a case in the media, but most other cases become only statistics; however, each life lost is a member of the community with a life long story behind.  
These are sad statistics about our nation that sometimes get international attention because of the level of violence, disrespect, humility and atrociousness behind each case. Only the cases with international attention get the attention of the male dominated Kurdish media.
Most of these cases are result of violence by Kurdish men against their wives, daughters, sisters, cousins, mothers and etc� In an interview on, a female program director on ZEEN radio in Erbil, which broadcasts programs focusing on suicide and other women's issues, said "Here in Kurdistan, there is a lot of violence against Kurdish women", She says  "men, of course. Husbands, brothers, fathers, managers. All men."

In the case of Layla Ali, few articles were written about her death.  Those condemning the act, and others like Mr. Kamal Mirawdeli's article to Kurdishmedia accusing Mrs. Hero Ibrahim of direct responsibility over Late Layla's death or the circumstances of her death.  I wonder if Mr. Mirawdeli would have accused without any hesitation Layla's Manger or Owner of the T.V Station if the manager was Male.
Mrs. Hero Ibrahim, one of the few active and independent women in Kurdistan, she has dedicated her life to the Kurdish cause.  She was in the forefront of Kurdish struggle in the mountains documenting the Peshmerga resistant in the mountains of Kurdistan when many Kurds were in the comfort of their homes in Kurdistan or were living in the luxury of the west. She runs the TV stations in Kurdistan not because she happens to be the wife of Mam Jalal Talabani, but because she had interest in media and she has used that interest for the Kurdish struggle and we are thankful that at least at least one person in Kurdistan is fit for her position in power.
Hero Xan is one of the few role models to young Kurdish women like myself. I don't believe that anyone has the right to accuse Hero Xan of an employee death just because she is the owner or manager of that company.  I wonder if anyone would have accused Layla's Manager if the manager was a Male instead of Female.  But in the Kurdish society it is easy to blame the women even if the evidence shows otherwise.  In case of Layla, she has left a farewell letter, mentioned in details in Mr. Mirawdelil's article blaming her husband for her action.  An action most women take in Kurdistan to end their miserable and lonely lives.  Layla died with less suffering than most Kurdish women who don't have access to a modern weapon that Layla did.  Most of them burn themselves, a process that makes them suffer even when they are dying.  
I hope that journalist and researcher like Mr. Mirawdeli will look into each case of violence against women in Kurdistan as they looked and researched Layla's case. Layla was a loss to our nation, but every innocent Kurdish woman is a loss as well. Let us join and lead a campaign to encourage more women in Kurdistan to be independent, to be active, to know their rights like Hero Xan does.  Perhaps we will be able to end one kind of suffering that Kurdish women go through.  


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