February 26, 2011

Another Painful day in Sulaimany, Kurdisatan - Why?  - By Shenah Abdullah

What can I tell you now? Our patience is running out my friends. People of Suli have had enough of corruption and years of silence but alas when they come out and decide to hold peaceful demonstrations—they still shoot them. I have had no energy or desire to write in the past two days but today I could not remain silent. Yesterday was the day of ‘rage’ in Iraq and lots of people were injured and killed all over the country. Unfortunately an 11 year old boy was shot dead in Chemchamal. An innocent child who was not able to get a taste this so called democracy or eat from its ‘fruits’. Here is how some of my students from Chemchamal talked about last night’s events, “We first went and attacked the Chemchemal municipal building and they did not shoot us, then we headed to another government building and attacked it that too and nothing happened, but when we finally headed down to the KDP headquarters and attacked their building they started shooting at us. There on the spot they killed an 11 year old boy who was throwing rocks at them and they injured 4 people”. My students were very angry and desperate for help. Alas another child has been killed.

Returned to Suli and took the Rezgari bus which could not go in the normal route it usually takes. Our angry driver informed us that things were very bad today and we could see thousands of troops lined up around the streets. It took the bus driver 40 minutes to take us to the next bus station (this normally takes 10 minutes). I had a gut feeling something was going to happen. We could see it from the faces of the men lined up around the city. The people in the bus were also very tense and kept screaming into their phones, getting out in the middle of street and one old woman starting praying and asking the driver how she could safely get home. She told us she did not have enough money to pay for the bus fair—which is only (400 dinars). She also mentioned that this month they had not given her salary (as a widow). My heart ached for this poor old woman who was sitting next to me and shaking with fear. How can we allow and old widow not have enough money to pay for a bus fair while her ‘leaders’ spend millions of dollars partying in Dubai and buying what their hearts desire? Why have we allowed these things to happen? I kept asking myself.

I and my colleague decided to get out of the snail like moving bus and started walking to our next destination. We passed different corners of the bazaar which like every other day was thriving with customers. All the shops were open displaying all their colorful fruits, nuts, spices, clothes, shoes…, and spreading different aromas. Hungry and tired, I wanted to stop at the shops and taste all the foods we passed in our way. Finally, we passed by Maydani Azadi where the protesters had been gathered for another day. We heard a man reading poetry and the audience screaming in support. I wanted to stop and join them but I had promised my mother in the morning that I would return safely after work. It was a very dark and cloudy day and it started raining hard. Took another bus and headed home. My mother and father greeted me warmly and were happy I was actually home on time.

Mentally and physically the events of the past week has had an enormous effect on us one by one. It shows on our faces and from our reactions to the simplest of things. We spend most of the time in front of tv changing this channel to another and listening and watching. I felt happy teaching my students today but I could not help them completely. Most of them have immediate psychological needs that need to be addressed. Today, I did what I could to calm some of my students and tried to listen to their angry stories. But what I can say to a young boy who has seen an 11 year child shot in front of him the night before? You tell me!
“Please be careful—I want to see you all alive in our next class”, I said to them before I left them today.

After eating lunch and I sat in front of the tv with my family members in our guest room—which my dad has named our version of Maydani Azadi. We were watching the news when our phone rang and I answered. It was my brother in law who wanted to make sure if I was in Maydani Azadi or home. Everyone now wants to make sure I get home safely because they know I am addicted to Maydani Azadi and the protests. I told him I was home but two other members of our family were present there. He said, “We just heard a very loud noise—there has been an explosion in Maydani Azadi”. I ran to get my phone and immediately called the two. My mother was terrified as I and the rest of the people who had loved ones present there.They(who ever they are) had thrown a sound bomb under a tree close to the stage and had injured 3 of the innocent and peaceful protesters who were out reading poems and repeating peaceful chants. My father’s radio was on and listening with him—radio Nawa informed us, that they now (at 4:10 p.m) had started shooting at some of the angry protesters heading in the troops direction. Unfortunately, they had shot and killed another boy of our city. Why oh why do they continue to turn the peaceful demonstrations so violent? Here I am not talking about the protesters but rather the authorities. Like day one, they have proven yet again that they (two ruling parties) are the first ones to start the violence. Do they not realize that they are only making more enemies? Do they not realize that these acts of sabotage would only energize the protesters and increase their numbers? Will they ever learn from their mistakes?

Three more innocent Kurds have been shot dead in the past two days; yesterday they killed an 11 year boy in Chemchamal and a 16 year old high school boy in Kelar—today they have killed 27 year old Umed in Sulaimany and they have injured 7 more people. Three more funerals—three more mothers are heartbroken and shall not ever see their children again. How much longer can we allow these atrocities take place, I ask you all? Enough is enough my friends!

We are sad and frustrated but shall continue to stand up for our rights peacefully……

Era Shari Sulaymanya—la yadtan nachet.


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