by Savan Abdalrahman – Iraqi Kurdistan
On 11 November 2020, the families of Peshmergas who were martyred in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) protested in front of the Peshmerga Ministry in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan. They burned clothes and shoes they had recently received from a Non-Government Organisation (NGO).
More than two hundred and fifty families were called from Mergasoor, Soran and Kirkuk to go to the Peshmerga Hospital in Erbil by a non-profit American NGO in order to give them help and assistance, which consisted of shoes and clothes. Sadiq Mohammed, the representative of the American Development Path Organization, said: “The aid assistance packages contained winter clothes, and other products, but they rejected them. The money we received was limited and they were spent on those products”.
The families drove one hundred and twenty kilometers to receive the aid-assistance packages and they found what they received an insult to the martyred Peshmergas. A woman who had lost her husband in the struggle against ISIS said: “I came from Mergasoor. What they did to us today was an insult to the blood of the martyrs and we will not accept this”.
The central administration in Peshmerga Hospital soon afterwards announced that “they did not know the type of aid assistance that was given to the families of the martyrs consisted of those types of items”. The son of a martyred Peshmerga told Rudaw Media: “When they called us from the Peshmerga Ministry, we were told that apart from receiving aid items, we will receive an amount of money. But when we came, they only gave us these items”.
After the incident, the Peshmerga Ministry in the Kurdistan region urgently published a statement where it expressed its concern: “We are worried about what happened today. The martyrs and their families deserve more than that and they are our most precious people. We find it our duty to serve the families of the martyred in the best way possible”. The organization was established in 2014 through US supervision. Its stated aim is to help the Peshmerga and the families of Peshmergas who were martyred in the fight against ISIS. Defending the land of Kurdistan against ISIS has so far led to the death of nearly one thousand, eight hundred martyrs and more than ten thousand wounded Peshmergas.