"> An open letter to Robert Halfone MP: "What democracy in Kurdistan are you talking about?!"

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December 10, 2011

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An open letter to Robert Halfone MP: "What democracy in Kurdistan are you talking about?!"

Kurdishaspect.com - By Rebwar Muhammad Hasan

Dear Robert Halfone,

You have written an article on Kurdistan:  Kurdistan can be a model for democracy in a troubled region . The article reminded us of Izzat Ibrahim Al-Duri’s article on Saddam Hussein in 1990, who was then vice-president and wrote: “Your mistakes are also correct”.  It is not a shame to be ignorant of something, but it is of course a shame to pretend that you are not ignorant. When I read your article soon after its publication, I could not believe my eyes! I thought you were talking about another part of the world such as Swiss, Sweden, the Netherlands or England. Your article also reminded us of an interesting Kurdish short story: a poor man had a dry cow and brought it to the market to sell it. He did not have selling skills, so a broker took pity upon him and tried to help him, taking the cow and shouting for him: “I’ve got a good cow for sale; it gives a bucket of milk every morning and evening...” People were coming forward, and the cow owner whispered to the broker: “if you’re sure it’s so good and gives such amount of milk, please don’t sell it, I’ll take it home! This is quite similar to your description of Kurdistan. You wrote about democracy in Kurdistan: “a democracy can be judged by its respect for ... the rule of law.... a free press, and a vigorous political opposition.” These are true for many European countries, but not for Kurdistan. Are you aware that ‘rule of law’ is being raped in Kurdistan in the broad light of day? Do you know that on February 17 the KDP (who have authority) killed protesters and KDP say they don’t hand the head of KDP in the area to the court! The president of the region made a decree to arrest those who were responsible and bring them to justice, but no single person was arrested or questioned! What rule of law are you talking about? Yesterday a member of parliament revealed that the KDP forces in Bahdinan arrested people unlawfully, and then the judge ordered arrest warrant (after the arrest!) Have you seen such unlawful acts by judges in any modern societies? You are then talking about freedom of press. Are you aware that journalists are killed in Kurdistan for a critical writing against the authority? Have you heard names such as Sardasht Othamn, Sorani Mamahama and Abdul Sattar Taher Sharif? Are you aware of how many journalists have been arrested and TV and Radio stations have been burnt down within last several days in Bahdinan?  You are also talking about “a vigorous political opposition”. We have all been shocked when KIU announced that they don’t have any mullahs employed in Zakho, because of party-affiliation! A popular political party like KIU in Bahdinan had one single mullah employed who was later dismissed due to his different ideology of that of the ruling party! We have also been shocked that the KIU popular party has not been given the right to take a position in the government establishments as low as a school headmaster, head of a medical centre, even a kindergarten headmaster! Is that democracy or “suppression and repression of the other voices”? They previously burnt down the headquarters of Goran Movement in Hawler and no legal action has been taken?! The latest news is the ruling party in the Bahdinan has conducted a barbaric attack on the offices of KIU, burring down their offices, TV and radio stations, arresting tens of their members without warrant, and holding them , torturing them, insulting them, without charges. Are these indications of ‘rule of law’ in Kurdistan? Or you are distorting the realities and mislead the great people of the United Kingdom?!  You wrote: “Kurdistan is a country that has learnt from the past, rather than living in it”. This is absolutely the other way round. The Kurdish authority is repeating its mistake again and again. The ruling party in Bahdinan burnt down the offices of KIU in 2005 Iraqi parliamentary election and killed KIU members including the most senior official. The same scenario by the same party and against the same opposition party is done! Finally, I hope you learn from your mistakes and before writing about Kurdistan again, please seek different perspectives and from different people, so that your writings will not be the publication of the propaganda of the ruling party, who make up and distort the realities for their interest.

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