by Savan Abdulrahman – Iraqi Kurdistan
For over a week in December, there has been a wave of protests in Iraqi Kurdistan, especially in Sulaymaniyah and the towns around Sulaymaniyah. Most of the protesters have been young people. Some were involved in burning down several political headquarters and government institutes as acts of rebellion.
The wide participation of youth in the protests raised the question of “Why the youth are the core of the protests?” to many concerned people around the world. To reveal the answer to this question we interviewed activists and experts in Sulaymaniyah.
Gasha Dara, who is a Law expert from Kurdistan told MedyaNews “The right to demonstration is one of the basic human rights worldwide. When humans are deprived from their social, economic and political rights they need to be able to express it. And protest is one of the ways to express it.”
She added “These youth are deprived from living their age. They are deprived of their economic and social rights. They don’t have a satisfactory life. It’s clear to anyone that these protests are a most basic right of the people. Since 2014 we see that these youth have been going through a bad situation which has lead to heavy social disasters.”
Gasha said “Also, the youth have more energy than an older person, and energy is equal to the courage of fighting for their rights. They want to try for a better world. But unfortunately, violence faces these kinds of protests and it gives an excuse to the government to react with violence against the civilians.”
As a law expert Gasha said “According to the law the security forces are not allowed to use violence because the weapons they have are four times the weapons the protestors use. The protestors threw rocks and the security forces had live firing. Are firing bullets and rocks the same?”
On the other side, Baban Jafar a civil activist expressed his opinion about youth participation and specified one important reason among all the reasons “One of the important reasons for youth participation is that this is the youth’s reaction towards the government, the media and education system that behaved poorly towards the youth for many years.”
He Added “It has been nearly six to seven years that people are going through a real economic crisis, the youth are the first who are affected by this crisis and that makes them become the core of the demonstrations.”
Omer Muhammad the editor in chief for Anfalistan Magazine told Medyanews “In fact, the political power in Kurdistan Region before the establishment of Kurdistan government held a type of mentality that continues until today without any change. Due to that, it can’t answer the demands of youth. It can’t understand the dreams and contemporary needs of the youth.” Omer continued “So far the political power demands that the people obey the rules. It doesn’t provide the rights. It’s not possible in the whole world to make someone work for you without giving them what they earn. The youth in Kurdistan has graduated but not yet been employed by the government, this narrows down their lives to worry about their source of living. They can’t chase their dreams and ideas. That’s why this economic crisis stands harder for the youth than the older generations.”
The demands of the youth have not been answered by the government so far and the education system continues to towards total failure. The question of what will the youth do now arises and people are left wondering!