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April 18, 2012

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Remember our martyrs for what they did

Kurdishaspect.com - By Hawar Jamal Ameen

We Kurds have more reasons than most to commemorate our victims at the hands of oppressors. Unfortunately we have too many days in the year that we remember our martyrs, very few families across Southern Kurdistan that have not been affected by genocide and very few that have not had a member of their family killed. For three years the Ba’ath party of Saddam Hussein waged a campaign of terror against innocent civilians wiping out nearly all villages in the region. Kurdistan can and never forget what became of the hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children and we should commemorate their deaths not only in one day but throughout our everyday lives.

As controversial as it may sound however, there are a great many people across South Kurdistan profiting from the deaths of family members at the hands of the Ba’ath party and those killed by other Kurds during the civil war. Many thousands, possibly tens of thousands of people receive a monthly “wage”, houses, land, free education, high profile jobs and even school children receive an extra 5% on their grades if they are the children or siblings of martyrs. 

Whilst the government has a responsibility to look after the homeless and those on the poverty line who cannot support themselves we are fast becoming (if not already) a nation dependant on government and hand-outs. Indeed there are very many people who are receiving a martyrs wage or privileges that not only do not need it but do not deserve it. We see regular demonstrations and complaints by people claiming to have martyred family members that they haven’t received their houses, their land etc.

Where the main breadwinner of a family has been martyred the government has a responsibility to support the widow and her family in any way possible. This must extend also to those that do not have a martyred family member if we are truly going to help those most in need and alleviate poverty in South Kurdistan. And make no mistake that despite all the wealth, all the cars and building we see in our cities that poverty is a big problem in South Kurdistan and it will continue to grow.

My argument is that we should finally allow our dead to rest in peace and not continue to live of their name and spilt blood. We should not base our academic achievements on how our parents died. Our ministers, members of parliament, high ranking civil servants and business people should not be based on what their parents or siblings died for. Kurdistan owes a huge debt to those that fought for her but they fought for freedom, for rights and for Kurdistan and not for a few hundred thousand Dinar a month.

The Kurdish government should abolish the ministry of Anfal and Martyrs altogether and replace it with the Ministry for Social Security and Poverty. We should never forget our dead and many will rightly never forgive the Iraqi government but the people of Kurdistan and its government must stop putting a price on their departed loved ones.

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