March 9, 2011

My Response to Mufid Abdullah: Ez êt bêjim "nêre", ew êt bêjîd "dêb dûşe" - By Delovan Barwari

Mufid Abdullah initially asserts that KRG has not provided any basic services in the past 20 years, and now he is backtracking his initial remarks and is implying that KRG’s services are not of high quality. 

I do not disagree with all of Abdullah’s claims. There are major political, economical, and social deficiencies in Kurdistan, the most contentious being corruption and nepotism. However, as I stated in my previous article, I strongly believe that Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) accomplishment far outweigh its deficiencies; nevertheless, that does not imply that the deficiencies should be neglected. Throughout the years, Kurdistan has been evolving politically, economically and socially, moving forward in the right direction. Moreover, ultimately, KRG will make major progress to overcome its shortcomings as they have acknowledged the deficiencies and pledged to implement further reform.

In his response article, Nigeria was used as an example to compare to Kurdistan. Unlike Nigeria or any other independent country, Kurdistan is not an independent country; therefore, it does not enjoy the privileges enjoyed by most of the independent countries. Such as having membership to the United Nations (UN), World Bank (WB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO), and other international organizations, which are able to provide assistance in resolving the economical, governmental, educational, and healthcare deficiencies that Kurdistan is facing. So in essence, it is not valid to compare the predicament of Kurdistan to any other country, as we are a landlocked “region” surrounded by foes, ready to destroy any gains we that we have made.

Mufid Abdullah responds to me with, “the securities you have referred to which are in place in Kurdistan are not factors contributing in any positive way to the stability of Kurdistan.” I am not sure if Abdullah realizes that few kilometers south of the KRG administrated area is considered the most dangerous region in the entire world. The peshmargah forces’ patriotism, bravery, and diligence are the main reasons why Kurdistan is one of the safest regions in the entire Middle East. I do want not need to repeat what I had stated in my initial response, but if not for the security services provided by KRG, thousands of Christians, Turkmans, and Arabs would not escape the atrocities being committed against them in Baghdad, Mosul, and Diyala, and take refuge in Kurdistan; hundreds of international NGOs, firms, and tourist would not walk freely without bodyguards in Duhok, Erbil, Sullimania, Zakho, Koya, Akre late at night. Furthermore, KRG has taken further initiative to protect the Kurdish population and other citizens in the so-called disputed areas of Kirkuk, Shigar, Mosul, Khaniqin, Mandali, Makhmur, Zumar, and Jalawla.

Abdullah is clearly making assumptions without taking the time to understand what I had implied in my previous article or perhaps did not understand the essence of my argument about educational advancements made by KRG over the years. He argues that establishing more universities does not enhance the university system. Perhaps logically his statement maybe true if you apply that logic to a western country, but if one conducts an empirical study of the Kurdish society, especially from the years between 1991 to the present day, the data would indicate that the vast majority of the Kurdish society posses traditionally a tribal and Muslim culture, at least, that is the case in the province of Duhok and Hewler, and the surrounding regions of Sullaimania. Therefore, the great majority of the parents would hesitate sending their daughters or in some cases their sons to study in other cities. As a result, establishing universities in all major cities eliminates both the cultural and economical problems. In addition, the quality of the educational system takes many years to fully develop. That is the case even in Europe or in the United States: the quality and ranking of universities will increase as the institution establishes itself, which takes many years.  With all that said, major reform is highly needed, as continuous improvement is a necessity in order to prepare the next generation in today’s globalized world.

Oil and Gas is the blood that circulates the global economy. Today, the world is more dependent on oil than ever before in the history of mankind. In fact, it is the key element that shapes the policies of United States, European Union, and other major powers. As you may know, oil played a significant role in the decision to partition Kurdistan by the allied powers after World War One and it has been the main reason behind the atrocities that have been committed against Kurds. However, today, the so-called “black curse” has become a major political power for Kurds. I reiterate the statement I had made in previous article and give all the credit to the KRG, especially to the former Prime Minister Mr. Nechirvan Barzani for his ingenious vision and his determination to defy Baghdad’s attempt to undermine KRG to stop the exploration and excavation of Oil. Today, over 30 billion barrels of oil and over two hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been discovered in the KRG administrated region alone, and that is the core of the new power in Kurdistan (1).

In regards to infrastructure developments, Mufid response is: “I am afraid this has not been the case in Sullimania over the last ten years. The council has tried to build several kilometers of road between Arbat and Sulaymaniah which up to now is yet to be finalized despite so many people having been killed in a car accident due to the poor road conditions.” Well, my friend, it was reported in KurdishGlobe, that in 2009 and 2010, approximately 48% of KRG’s budget was allocated to Sullimania, in which their true share should have been 35%, as Sullimania is approximately 35% of Kurdistan Region’s population (2). With that being said, the amount of money allocated to Sullimania exceeded by 13%. How is it that Duhok and Erbil, which are 65% of the population, were able to build major infrastructure project, especially in the capital city, Hewler, with only 52% of KRG’s budget. Now, if no projects were implemented in Sullimania, who is responsible? Is the Governor, or the Mayor, or other governmental departments under KDP’s hegemony? I think you know the answer to that question.

As I mentioned in my initial response, corruption is a human trait that has existed since the begging of time, and it is impossible to eliminate, however, it is possible to reduce. It is a contentious issue that has become one of KRG’s top priorities to be addressed, even prior to the unfortunate incident in Sullimania.

Hi Excellency, President Massud Barzani’s appeared in a televised speech prior to his departure to Europe, where he addressed the nation: asking citizens to submit their suggestions and ideas in order to find a viable solution to combat corruption. He also met with a body of university students on television to deeply connect to Kurdish society in order to better understand the underlying issues that is dividing Kurdistan and promised that he will do everything in his power to resolve the issues. And in return, the KDP headquarters were savagely attacked as President Barzani set-off to Europe. Is that how you fight corruption?

Our debate is a prime example of the classic argument between the “Realists and the Idealists”. Where the Idealists are in search of a utopian society in a war-torn region surrounded enemies. There is a Kurdish proverb that states: “Ez êt bêjim "nêre", ew êt bêjîd "dêb dûşe" The translation in reference to a cow is as such: I said it’s a bull (male cow), he is telling me to “milk it!” My friend, Kurdistan is progressing and will continue to progress. I certainly advocate making major political, economical, and social reforms. However, we must take a pragmatic approach, not through inciting violence and intimidation. Let’s work together hand in hand; let’s protect our unity both in Kurdistan and in Baghdad; let’s us not destroy what we have achieved!



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