writes Ferda Çetin for Yeni Özgür Politika.he estates, properties, villas, wealth, companies, and bank accounts of the rulers of South Kurdistan and their families are more than ten times those owned by the whole population of South Kurdistan. […] For this reason, they feel no shame in regard to the tragic migration of people under their rule,”
When the Turkish state and ISIS gangs invaded Afrin (Efrîn) in February 2018 with the support and approval of the UN, the US and Russia, hundreds of thousands of Afrinians were forced to leave their homelands. They started living in tent camps in Shahba and Sherewa regions, which are the closest places to Afrin.
Around 100,000 Afrinians are living in the Shahba region, and a total of 411 Afrinian families are living in the Sherewa district.
The Damascus government, which has repeatedly imposed embargoes and restrictions against people from Afrin, has closed the roads to Shahba, preventing medicine and basic essentials from reaching the people living in the camps.
The Turkish state and its affiliated gangs place the security of the Afrinians under continuous threat with bombings and artillery and mortar attacks.
Despite these harsh and severe conditions, Afrinians in the camps refuse to give up their social and organised life. Their struggle is not to become migrants to somewhere else, but to return to their homes and lands.
Meanwhile, people of South Kurdistan continue to leave their lands to become asylum seekers despite South Kurdistan having a regular income from industries such as oil, customs, tourism, and taxes, and receiving a significant budget from the Baghdad government.
The majority of the thousands of refugees amassing on the Belarusian-Polish border and occupying the world’s agenda earlier this month, were migrants fleeing South Kurdistan.
More than 30,000 young people have emigrated from South Kurdistan to European countries in the past eighteen months.
On 24 November, when a boat sank drowning 27 people, mostly Kurds, trying to get to Britain from France, questions like, “Why are the Kurds fleeing their homelands?”, “What conditions are forcing the Kurds to go to Europe?” were asked more and more.
Those who should be addressing these questions are undoubtedly the government of South Kurdistan, and the rulers of South Kurdistan.
Prime Minister Masrour Barzani of the South Kurdistan government did indeed respond to these questions; “Refugees, some of whom are citizens of the Kurdistan region, have been misled by certain parties, and these people havebeen used against the Kurdistan Region. No one has been pressured to leave the Kurdistan Region. Moreover, those who left here went through travel companies, by official means, at their own request. However, it is clear that, certain people want to use this for political purposes.”
Masrour Barzani does not explain why citizens of South Kurdistan are leaving their country and their homelands, taking great risks to do so. He is trying to cover up the government’s lack of responsibility with evasive statements and excuses.
Thinkers and writers from South Kurdistan liken the drama of these thousands of hungry and desparate people walking in cold and freezing weather today to the mass exodus from Bashur (South Kurdistan) in 1991.
The exodus in 1991 was the exodus of people fleeing Saddam’s rule. Today’s migration is the exodus of people fleeing the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and Barzani’s rule.
Bachtyar Ali, a writer from Southern Kurdistan, wrote an essay addressing those responsible for this drama. The essay, entitled, “My Praises to Those in Power”, was as harsh as the frost in the forests of Belarus.
“Every morning, you wake up desecrating the truth, desecrating the daylight. The people try to get away from you by taking a thousand loans, by throwing themselves into a thousand fires and a thousand rivers, by exiling themselves to foreign lands. Because of you, these people surrender themselves to the mercy of a thousand storms, a thousand forests, and a thousand seas. Thanks to you, hell appears more beautiful than heaven. You have given us darkness instead of light. Thanks to you, and for the first time ever, foreign lands appear more beautiful than our own country. This is your gift to the people; these people who every day borrow the wealth of Doomsday, beg to the wind, live through armageddon and hand out shrouds for the evenings.”
Movements, organisations, parties, and governments do not only govern communities. They also influence communities and are influenced by them. And so they create a new social culture.
The PKK recently celebrated the 43rd anniversary of its foundation. The most important feature that distinguishes the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) from the KDP and other Kurdish parties is the increasing love and commitment to “country”, “land” and “society” that people feel under the influence of the PKK, and the culture of patriotism it has created.
The estates, properties, villas, wealth, companies, and bank accounts of the rulers of South Kurdistan and their families are more than ten times those owned by the whole population of South Kurdistan. Therefore, they become role models of commitment to private property and enrichment, rather than of loyalty to the country.
So they feel no shame in regard to the tragic migration of people under their rule on these dangerous routes over land and sea. Rather they talk about the people being misled, they make evasive statements and excuses.
Thus, “Politics is far more than dirty and ugly manoeuvres, immoral tricks, all possible scams to defeat the opponent and take the seat. Politics is not about harrassing people. Politics is a sense of commitment to a community and a group, and the individual feeling a sense of responsibility to society. It is about the individual committing to and caring for society in the face of social destiny. Standing up for group and social conscience means being in solidarity with each other in social life, movement, hardship, work, and the course of events through which the individual lives.” (1)
Another writer from South Kurdistan, Dr. Kameran Mantık, reminds us that people who migrate are as just responsible as governments: “There are two main reasons for this migration: the search for Bread and the search for Freedom. But people who flee from building their own country cannot be free. Because a free person cannot flee a group of thieves, collaborators, and corrupted people.”
(1) Return to the Self,( Öze Dönüş), Ali Shariati , Fecr Publishing-2017