May 22, 2009
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Mustafa Barzani and His Immortal Legacy - By Amed Demirhan in Hawler – Kurdistan Federal Region - Iraq

Mustafa Barzani, for Kurdish patriots, is the most revered name for many reasons: First he is the only leader in the 20th century who managed to unite Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan and around the world. Second, he is the Kurdish leader who has been the source of Kurdish aspirations. Third, he is the first Kurdish leader since the early 1500s that has created formal recognition and rights for the Kurds with the treaty of 11 March, 1970. Even today’s Kurdish Federalism is based on that legacy. Finally, all current and former Kurdish political party leaders in the last sixty years get their inspiration from Mustafa Barzani and it is on record.

However, many “modern” educated Kurds were convinced their modern education in Tehran , Baghdad , Damascus , and Ankara make them superior to those with traditional education and values. Because the pseudoscientific educations they have been indoctrinated with, convince them of their superiority. In addition, these universities were created for the benefit of the owner like all universities around the world. Therefore, many Kurds with modern educations do not understand Barzani and his leadership. They evaluate Barzani with the education they got from the enemy, maybe unconsciously.

I became familiar with Barzani as a fifth grade student in 1975 when Kurdish libration was stopped to save the Kurds from a possible genocide at that time. Perhaps my first political action was to throw bread to passing trucks that were carrying Kurdish refugees from Southern Kurdistan . Kids were sent to throw bread because the adults were afraid to.  They were afraid because the Turkish military didn’t allow any one to help the refugees and didn’t allow them to stop. It was heart breaking. (This was in Northern Kurdistan ). In sixth grade I became an activist and during this time I heard a lot of things about Barzani.

One day my grandfather invited me for a “conversation”. He said that he heard I had become a political activist and would like to know what I was doing. I explained that I believe in free Kurdistan , without that we can not live with dignity. To my surprise he agreed with me. Than he asked my opinion about Barzani, Kemalism, and Soviet/Russia, after listening to me he advised me: “1- Never be against Barzani, 2 - Never trust Kemalist, and 3 – Never trust Soviet and do what ever you think is right. From 1976 to 1985 off and on I was living in my grand parents’ house in Besiri - Batman and my grandfather always supported my political activities. We always were a good team.

In 1976 many Kurdish organizations flourished all over Kurdistan but particularly in Northern Kurdistan . Most of them were strongly anti-Barzani and almost all of them were some type of Marxist and anti-west. It wasn’t just challenging but sometimes very dangerous to be pro-Barzani. Accusations against Barzani were ranging from Soviet promises to help if Barzani continue fighting six more months or because his anti-communist ideology he was not capable of leading a “national liberation…. and so on….  Most of these were fabricatied and baseless. In fact, the Soviet Union had at least 8000 technical and military advisors in Iraq helping Saddam. The Soviet Union was the main military supplier and trainer of the Baath Regime. The Soviet weapons were killing the Kurds and Iraqi regime was heavily under their influence.

Some other Kurds were abusing Barzani’s  relation with the US and Israel . A Kurdish organization published Barzanis’ letter to the US President for help and his use of customary diplomatic words used in the letter were mercilessly abused. No one wanted to recognize the Algeria Treaty was in fact a Soviet – US treaty to preserve regional status quo because Iran and Iraq were two clientele states during this time. It had caused disaster for many countries who challenged two super powers consensus during the cold war.  A popular political saying during the cold war was “when two super powers compete, some countries pay a price, but when they agree every one loses.

May 15, 2009 Mr. Rauf Naqishbendi wrote and article called “Mustafa Barzani – The Legacy of His Leadership and His Last Meeting With The Shah Of Iran” published on Kurdish Aspect. Most of the time I enjoy reading Mr. Naqishbendi articles, however, when I read this article the above mentioned ideas and history come alive for me. First I checked his dollar figure; 150 million dollar in 1975 is not more than one billion dollar. According to “Inflation Calculator: The Changing Value of a Dollar” website: “$150.00 in 1975 had about the same buying power as $607.60 in 2009. Inflation over this period was about 4.2%.”[1] Second the money that Kurdish liberation movement had was much less than that. I know several people who were around Mustafa Barzani in 1975 therefore, I called some one who was with Mustafa Barzani and a very good record keeper and he told me, Mr. Muhamed Harseney was not with Mustafa Barzani when he met heShah of Iran . Mr. Harseney was a purchasing officer for the Peshmerga and maintained a “grocery store” for income generation for the revolution. I understand Mr. Naqishbendi’s personal grievances but we all owe Mustafa Barzani.  Every Kurdish patriot and political leader whether  pro Barzani or against Barzani has had his inspiration from Barzani. For example his Excellency President Jalal Talabani and Mr. Abdullah Ocalan, leader of Worker Party of Kurdistan (PKK) and many others have been saying Barzani has been a source of inspiration for us. Therefore every Kurdish patriot is to some degree Barzanist regardless of ideology. This is his immortal legacy.


[1] “Inflation Calculator The Changing Value of a Dollar”


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