December 22, 2010
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President of Kurdistan Masoud Barzani’s Final Speech at 13th Conference - By Mufid Abdulla

The 13th Conference of the KDP started on 14th of December this month and on the eve of that day I was asked if I believed any changes would result from this conference which were based on heavy slogans and the campaign of the conference which was for ‘renewal’, ‘co-existence’, etc, set by the KDP.

The final speech by Masoud Barzani on 16th December 2010 has raised some questions which are ultimately concerns about his speech. With regards to being in power and public speaking, it may not matter terribly if you are 30 years old but it matters quite a lot when you are addressing the nation and you are 64. Of course as I predicted, he was elected as leader of the party and his nephew Nechirvan Barzani elected as a deputy for the party. At first I laughed when I saw it; members of the conference were clapping and singing; this signifies the way in which they can elect their party. The problem is not merely a shortage of good quality people, but of educated people who feel completely excluded from that party. The fact is that it is a necessity to belong to that tribe and family in order to be promoted to that post; that is what has been happening for the last 64 years with the KDP.

Firstly it was announced that, “the KDP have survived for so long and nobody can dismantle the KDP because it is so strong”. In response to this I would say that lacking in democratic legitimacy cannot be sustained forever. The disgruntled PUK are boosting the fortunes of the KDP, but it has a long way to go. At the same time, the KDP is beginning to marshal its forces against what it sees as the ideological drive dismantling of the state and the power of people. For the KDP, power is worth bearing the odium, and they have been ruthless in seizing it. The KDP is not working primarily because all they want to fulfil is the vital political interests of poor people. We are not naive, the strategic relation with the PUK has enabled the KDP to go further and faster than it could ever have done with a small majority in Parliament.

Secondly, the speech discussed the self-determination of our nation. Can I say that our President has been wrongly advised about this issue? Self-determination: it is about nationalism, nationhood and national rights; all of which, if we consider the example of Lenin and Stalin, had well defined these goals for colonised people and the ultimate goals would be the independence of the nation. Masoud Barzani mentioned this word in his speech on the first day of the conference without elaborating about what he meant, but finally these objectives have been defeated by the Nechirvan press conference where it was stated that the President’s remarks did not mean separation. Self-determination needs a high degree of leadership to answer this. When considering the development of society, economics must be considered as the dominant factor. The super-structure which develops on this economic basis, separates itself from the base and becomes antagonistic to it. I am afraid this is not going to happen under Barzani’s command and even if it did happen it would be premature.

Thirdly: the President apologised to the members of the Conference and the people of Kurdistan for “not inviting some parties”, for which he is “going to investigate”. Mainly this relates to the Gorran Party not being invited, but I do not think that they were embarrassed about this. The KDP is not about uniting people, it has been running as a machine for a long time and its form and content have not changed. Gorran Party members are the sons and daughters of this nation who could contribute much better to that conference than the present Arab chauvinism coming from Baghdad. Clearly, the slogan “co-existence” is therefore more about declaring the death of our future generations in terms of any hope for unity.

Fourthly, Article 140 was mentioned during his speech about Kirkuk. The recent reports exposed by Wikileaks included some in relation to Kirkuk. There is no hint of embarrassment from this. Oscar Wilde got it right when he said that the only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about, and further to this the quote by Harold Macmillan “far better to be mocked than ignored”. Basically, he told his grandson that he did what he could for Kirkuk but his generation has to make it up.

Finally, the President told the delegation that he wanted other people to put his name down for the leadership of the party. We all have our views. I personally am not convinced whether anything else would be achievable under this present leadership with that type of structure and organisation, which has been dominated by family ties for the last 60 years. In the current climate, this nation cannot innovate if they are forced to paint in the dark. If the KDP think the public protest is ugly, they must consider what it would be like if they were governing alone. This is not a rainbow government.


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