Dr Kamal Mirawdeli stands for President of Kurdistan
Kurdishaspect.com - By Mufid Abdulla

Many people believe that to put your name forward as a candidate for the presidency of Kurdistan is futile and a waste of time. I do not think so and in fact I totally disagree with these ideas. In fact the Barzani clan and family have managed so far over the last 50 years to control the Kurdish movement leadership. The only way this is going to change is to challenge them and give them an insight into the reality that we have known.

There are six people who have put themselves forward as candidates for the post of President of Kurdistan but it is Dr Kamal Mirawdeli’s name which has come as the biggest surprise to the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Barzani family. They think that nobody has the interest and appetite to challenge them. Dr Mirawdeli is a well known figure both inside and outside Kurdistan. He has a university degree in English, an MA in Cross-Cultural Studies, holds a PhD in Literature as well as gaining an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics. His essays and writings are unique amongst the Kurdish intellectuals both inside and outside Kurdistan. He has served his country and nation since the early days of the Kurdish liberation movement by preparing thousands of students in school and teaching them the English language. Dr Mirawdeli is a well-known figure as a symbol of Kurdish nationalism. When he joined the forces of the Diaspora in the 1980s he did a lot of good work and set up groups to help the Kurdish cause. Dr Kamal Mirawdali has also published many books as well as hundreds of articles and essays on the Kurds and Kurdistan.

It is for these reasons why the KRG are so furious about his candidacy because they are fully aware of the fact that he loves his country and wants to see an independent Kurdistan as well as equal rights and  the equal distribution of income for the whole nation and not only for the few. By standing for the post of President he is taking positive steps to demonstrate just how far he is prepared to go to fight for the Kurdish cause.

On the 25th May, the local Kurdish newspaper Hawler published some news about Dr Mirawdeli, and of course under the pressure of the security apparatus they have accused him of having his campaign funded by the Turkish state. I am not surprised to see that the KRG election campaign has got it so wrong about this man and the fact that the newspaper has printed such accusations is clearly a sign of the fear they hold of his intelligence and capabilities.

Let us consider the views of some of the international experts on Kamal Mirawdeli: Robert Olson, the well known scholar and expert on Kurdish affairs is a Professor of Politics and History at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and in one of his books writes, “There was extensive opposition and criticism of the Kurdish leadership, even prior to the 1 June 2004 UN Security Council resolution. The strongest criticism came from Kurdish intellectuals. One of the most passionate denunciations came from Dr Kamal Mirawdeli who wrote a moving poem to Leyla Zana, Turkish Kurd, when she, with three fellow Kurds– Hatip Dicle, Orhan Dogan and Selim Sadak....the four had served ten years in prison for “anti-state”, i.e pro-Kurdish, activities in 1994. He compared Zana to Nelson Mandela, exemplifying her as the epitome of Kurdish nationalism: what is should be; what it should stand for; and what it was not. The tribal chiefs of Barzani, Talabani, and Zebari were small, he said, in comparison to Zana.” (1)

Surely, the Turks hate us all just because we are Kurds but for this reason they must hate Kamal Mirawdeli more than any other Kurds. The Turks and the other neighbouring countries are very scared with regards to the current situation on Kurdistan because they know this generation are not obeying their realm. Mirawdeli tried and he is struggling to get his message across to the KRG and his people as follows:

1.  There can be and will be no comparisons with Barzani who has in his possession  control thousands of militia and unlimited resources. Mirawdeli on the other hand, has got thousands of words and hundreds of books and his own writings to share with his people and to teach them how to love their country.

2.Mirawdeli is trying to tell his opponents that there is a way to let other people have the chance to lead this country. It is pointless to compare his small campaign and access to only a few resources with that of the Barzani candidacy and likewise, it is absurd to go with the Barzani candidacy based only on these things. Nothing is impossible in this world, if we do not try, we will not get.

3.Saddam’s rule (1979 -1991) in Kurdistan was much shorter than our Kurdish leaders. The domination of the Barzani family has become a source of frustration and exhaustion for the real democracy and flame of Kurdish nationalism to grow in the south of Kurdistan.


Olson, R. (2005) The Goat and the Butcher, Nationalism and State Formation in Kurdistan-Iraq since the Iraqi War, Mazda Publishers, California, page 54.


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May 28, 2009
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