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Kurdistan or barbaristan?

By Kamal Mirawdeli - posted Thursday, 10 January 2008

America's policy in Kurdistan has transformed Kurdish society into a closed totalitarian dynasty where women are daily burnt and abused.

My long silence in terms of writing was a direct result of my recent travel to Kurdistan. Whenever I go there I feel sick: physically, psychologically and spiritually. If I write, I must write with blood of my heart.

The Kurdistan region is no longer a country, a land, a society, nor even a civilisation. It is Barbaristan, it is: a jungle of crime without punishment; the abuse of power without accountability; the control of tribal party totalitarianism over every aspect of human life without limits and checks; the absolute hegemony of a handful of rotten families over the economy, media, land and the people; and it is the trivialisation of everything that is sacred, valuable and meaningful in human life.


Two concepts have completely disappeared in south Kurdistan: the concept of human beings and human rights and the concept of country or homeland. Nothing is as cheap as human life. Nothing is as worthless as human dignity. Women are killed and burned every day, not because of the backwardness and patriarchal structure of Kurdish society as some intellectual prostitutes and phoney feminists claim, but as a direct result of the sexual and physical abuse and harassment women systematically receive at the hands of the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) thugs.

These people abuse their absolute control over economy, jobs, services, opportunities and lives for the sexual satisfaction of their beastly instincts.

Tens of people die from car accidents every day . You cannot eat food and be certain it has not out of date, or worse, even poisoned. Hospitals are hospitals in name only. Schooling has lost its principles and purpose. In one school, for example, 67 children have just one Kurdish text book. In another, six children squeeze on to a chair made for three. Universities and cultural “institutions” have become places of party tribalism and science and knowledge have lost their basic definitions.

Tens of newspapers are owned and published by party officials or people related to them without anyone reading them. Sulaymaniyah, once a city of culture and Kurdism, has been transformed to a village of desolation and despair without basic services and amenities. Often drinking water is mixed with sewage. Electricity is becoming rarer and rarer. In the whole city there are no pedestrian crossings even for children. Such things as postal services, street cleaning or the provision of social services are alien terminology.

In an act of nepotism and corruption, not culture, Ibrahim Ahmad’s novelette Jani Gel has been produced as a film. But there is no cinema house in Sulaymaniyah now to show it even though Sulaymaniyah had respectable, thriving cinemas since the 1940s. They had to use the Cultural Hall built by the Ba’th regime to show it! Everything that is beautiful, honourable, cultural, historical and local in the city has been destroyed. Young people have stopped reading and showing an interest in culture. Where there is no opposition, there is no hope of change. Where there is no hope of change people, especially the young ones, live in hell.

In many of the few surviving villages, where the population has been reduced by 50-70 per cent, schooling has disappeared. A whole generation of young people are disfranchised, marginalised and forced to migrate, often dying lonely on the roads of exile.


Kurdistan’s productive and beautiful villages have been devastated as a direct result of a deliberate act by the PUK and KDP mafias to destroy the independence and autonomy of Kurdish society. Iranians attack at will, bomb border villages, kill civilians and flock, forcing thousands to flee.

Yet, according to Qubad Talabani, the Kurdistan Government Representative to the US, Iran is a best friend and ally of the Kurds. Turkish warplanes come and go at will, bombing villages with napalm, killing dozens of civilians, displacing thousands of people. Up to 2,000 children have lost their education. No problem. According to Talabani, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the best democrat in history.

Displaced people and refugees of Kirkuk, after four years, have still not returned to their homes. Most Anfal families, in a recent survey, wished that they had been eliminated by Saddam with the rest of their lost members, rather than suffering such indignity, poverty and hardship under the new PUK and KDP Anaflists. The suffering of Anfal women is normal for Talabani. He has never met them or kissed their children.

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About the Author

Dr Kamal Mirawdeli is a specialsit in Middle East and in particular Kurdish issues and writes from a Kurdish perspective. He is a regular contributor to

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All articles by Kamal Mirawdeli

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