Who cares about the people? What about Life Here?

Kurdishaspect.com - By Shenah Abdullah

Come gather round let me tell you another tale. Today, another young man who was injured on 18/4 has died today. Another mother is mourning; another home is dark tonight; alas another human being is no more.

At 6:00 a.m today 28 year old Hardy Farooq, who graduated last year from the University of Sulaymani and who was working at Sardam Publishing House, lost his battle and passed away. With Hardy’s passing today, the number of dead in the recent protests becomes 10 people. Meanwhile, Sulaymani, Chemchamal, Ranyia, and Halabja have become military zones with thousands of militias on the streets. The authorities make matters worse daily through their media, forces on the streets and their ongoing propaganda. What about the oppositional groups? Since day one of the protest the three oppositional groups, like the authorities have been playing with people’s emotions and promised them empty promises. Both sides take out their different colored cards to excite people when and ONLY when it is in their own political interest. Innocent civilians are kicked like a ball in the middle. They are passed from one side to the other and back again.

Inside every house people change one channel to another. One agrees with the opposition, another with the two ruling parties, a third with no one and a fourth is lost completely. Not only do they play with people’s emotions but they have also started a mental battle between family members. They are rallying people to go against one another. Ordinary people feel helpless in between and do not know what to do and how to feel.

The dead? Yes, let’s talk a little about the dead and injured. All the victims have been innocent civilians who were out and about either on the street for a cause they truly believed in, out watching (like 12 year Garmiyan), or were used by the authorities to “protect” the “homeland”. They are all children of the same land, who spoke the same language, danced to the same songs and had hopes for a better Kurdistan. What do they have in common? Alas, they are all dead and soon their pictures will be next to one another as the martyrs of yet another tragedy among a long line of tragedies. Pessimism is growing rapidly among ordinary people who feel abandoned by their so called “Kurdish political parties” and their “Kurdish Leaders”. In the end they say, “We shed the blood and they get the pleasure of talking about it and benefiting from our loss.”

Back to the place we once called Maidani Azadi. Was Maidani Azadi real or that too was another scenario? We take a moment and we pause: There we were standing with all our different ideas, ideologies, hopes, fears and dreams believing in something similar, something our own, something no one person, group or one party could call their own. They tried but no one succeeded. We have nostalgia to the square daily and we feel the urge to stand there again. Now when we walk down to the bazaar we see armed forces standing shoulder to shoulder in the same place women, children, intellectuals, Mullah’s, workers, students, and teachers once stood asking for chances. The place we once took photographs and read poems at has become a terrifying place where no civilian is able to stand for more than a minute. As for photographs—now we have to take mental pictures.

Again, the victims of this military take over are ordinary people who used to come and go in the bazzar, in the streets, and in their neighborhoods as they wished. They are still able to walk around, shop and attend their activities but all you have to do is to take a close look at people’s face and there you will find the answer.

What about the schools you might ask? School and education in this country has become but a joke. A joke that does not make us laugh but instead increases our blood pressure—like everything else around us. Those of us who teach- like our students are lost and frustrated. The students show up to school but they have arrived angry and unprepared. Today, I tried to teach my classes but the minute I entered they said, “How can we learn and study in such a harsh environment, with so much brutality around us?” Then they started walking out of my class and told us they would ‘boycott’ classes. They did and we watched them express their dissent.

This brings us back to today’s events at the University of Sulaymani. There, like in Chemchaml, the students decided to boycott their classes as a form of protest. They protested the latest human loss and the use of physical and symbolic violence against their colleagues and peers. The strike is to continue tomorrow and more schools are likely to participate.

And what about normality? Life is anything but normal here. What do we mean by normal any ways? We continue to eat, walk around, visit friends, attend work and school, and in some ways life goes on but it is not the same life we knew and lived before.

Shall I say more?

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April 24, 2011
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