April 19, 2009

The Kurdish Youth must Invest in Education - By Delovan Barwari

I was given an opportunity to deliver a speech at the Kurdish American Youth Organization’s (KAYO) third annual conference in San Diego, California on Saturday April 18th 2009; however, due to uncertainty of me being present at the conference, I missed my chance to deliver the speech; therefore, I will share my thoughts and message to the youth online.

Roj Bash xushk u birayen heja!

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen!

The first Kurdish Youth Association (KYA) in San Diego, California dates back to 1996. The idea of establishing a Kurdish youth organization was initiated by the local leadership of a Kurdish political party. It was an era of hate and division amongst Kurds, inflamed by one of the darkest chapters in our history (the Kurdish civil war, also known as bira Kuji).  Fortunately, in majority, the Kurdish youth were college students, independent minded, and believed that it was wrong to be affiliated to any Kurdish political parties, knowing it will further divide a community deeply separated along party lines. Indeed, our efforts and persistence paid off, we defied the local party branch leaders and managed to remain independent.
The first event of the Kurdish Youth Association was actually at this same campus, San Diego State University (SDSU).  In September of 1996 we participated in the International Friendship Festival at the Montezuma Hall. It was certainly a success and not only energized KYA members, but also our community. Thereafter, the youth was highly active in almost all of the community events, such as New Years Eve parties, Newroz celebrations, Halabja memorials, and Mothers day events. In addition, we had representation at the Kurdish Community Center of San Diego.

As the first President of the Kurdish Youth Association in San Diego, I strongly believe that one of the fundamental elements for a cohesive, tenacious, and united Kurdish youth in the Diaspora is for the youth to remain independent and objective to the Kurdish cause. The youth are the next generation of leaders; I urge you to focus on and promote education as it is as an essential ingredient in any healthy and productive community. 

It is a fact that the majority of you are political refugees forced into exile from your homeland as a result of oppression and genocide; therefore, it is an obligation for you to get involved and serve your nation. Observing the Kurdish communities in the United States, it is disappointing to see that regardless of the enormous opportunities for an individual to attain a high level of education, the majority of the Kurdish youth in America are more focused on attaining wealth, not realizing that the greatest investment an individual or a nation can make is to invest in education. 

You have been fortunate to be raised in one of the most democratic societies in the world; therefore, you must take advantage of the opportunities available in this democratic and progressive civilization. 

We as a nation are in need of an intellectual revolution. A revolution to enlighten our people to think in terms of a nation; and not to view or connect to one another on the basis of tribal affiliation, villages, cities, or dialects.   You are the future of our nation; you must learn to pressure and influence the Kurdish leadership to remain objective to the Kurdish cause and evolve into a modern democracy. You as the youth must think clearly, remain outspoken, and should not be afraid to criticize the wrong doings of the leadership in Kurdistan. 

Thank You!!

Her Biji Kurd U Kurdsitan!!


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