Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Tuesday 23/12/2003
Last week I went to Sulaymania for a short business trip. It is a city in northern Iraq. Its inhabitants are Kurds who are good and respect their visitors. During the visit, as part of the agenda we had to meet a local leader of a Kurdish party. He was nice and friendly, then during my conversation, I mentioned the term “Northern Region”, so he interjected and said “Don’t use that term please”. So I smiled and remained silent, not understanding what had angered him! He continued saying “You are an Arab female from Baghdad and you are not aware that we (the Kurds) wish for our area to be called Kurdistan, we want a federal system and you guys in Baghdad won’t agree”!
So I smiled once again and the laughed, when I discovered that I had opened up a wound that these people have been long suffering from for a long time and I am accused of being an unfair racist who has no feeling for their wants and aspirations. I felt rather annoyed and imagined myself to be an American and the guy sitting opposite me to be an Arab! I returned to the hotel and felt annoyed for the rest of the day. Yes there is a long history of repression and injustice carried out against the Kurds by the Arabs, I am innocent of that and I do not support such action/treatment. But there is a united stance from one side against the other.
This feeling is not brought about by Saddam’s fall, but I was aware that the all of past governments handled the “Kurdish Issue/File” aggressively. And because I am not Kurdish and did not live amongst them, this issue does not import nor concern me. Just as an American civilian is living their life now, as they hear and see what their government is doing to other populations, sorry! Did I cross the red line?!
Before our return to Baghdad, they took us to visit some red buildings that used to house the Security apparatus, many squares, gardens then stairs leading onto dark corridors where the interrogation and torture chambers are. As I walked in the place I couldn’t help thinking who can save a human being from another human’s injustice? Even the Humanitarian Agencies have proved their impotence and their failure in aiding the weak and oppressed.

Translated by Waleed 04/01/2004

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