Sulaymani State of emergency -By Mufid Abdulla

Weeks of demonstrations in the Sulaymani region, reached a turning point on 18th April when Talabani and Barzani forces decided to occupy that city militarily . Many protesters were jailed and beaten up while in custody for some hours. Ten pro-democracy demonstrators have been killed in the region of sulaymani since 17th February 2011.But the switch in many minds happened earlier. It was when the security council of the city of Sulaymani declared the state of emergency and so called the rule of ‘getting permission’ for any local protest. This meant that you will never get permission for any kind of demonstration. Of course this is advocated by both Talabani and Barzani who are patronising. Of course chants for reforms gave way for chants for regime change. The people in Azadi Square chanted”from alleyway to alleyway, from house to house, we want to overthrow you, Talabani and Barzani.”

Ever since there have been a temptation, at great cost ,to recreate an Azadi square, in every city and town of Kurdistan which almost apart from Hawler, every town has set up one . This social revolution is about the change in our governing system to the power of people. What we have seen for the last 21 years in Kurdistan, is family base rule like business running this region
The Barzani Family(Massoud Barzani President, his son Masrur (who is in charge of all the region’s security), Son in law Nichiravan Leader of the party etc. now find themselves with fewer political levers to pull ,although there are plenty of military ones. Protesters are continuing everywhere in Sulaymani region despite the heavy occupation of armed personal everywhere in the Sulaymani region. The strike, going to schools and universities are a sign that the urban population is starting to join the uprising .They will not be mollified by sacking the former in Sulaymani or  the chief of security Shek Jafar. What has started with a brutal, but routine, local incident, when militia open fired in sulaymani has become a nationwide protest.

The forms of this state of emergency are as follows:

1. The presence of the huge army presence at the centre of the city, any foreign journalist can easily identity and verify that situation.

2. Arresting and torturing anyone having connection within the last 65 days to protesters in Azadi Squar which included student, writers, journalists, clergies, poets, and lecturers in University.

3. Not allowing any meetings with more than a few people for example the well-known poets Shirkaw Bekas wanted to have a seminar for his literature which had been rejected on the pretext of a security situation.

Finally, what is going on in Sulaymani is the reminiscent of all the country’s that had a history of military Junta such as Thailand (1923-1973), Nigerian Military Junta (1966-1979), Brazillian Military Junta (1969) Chile (1973),Argentina (1976-1983),Poland 1981-1983) etc. 

I do not believe any of the KRG leaders have any grand plan for solving this crises.

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April 26, 2011
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