Friday, 29 November 2013

Work Hard, Play Hard !

I received an appreciation letter from the UK consulate for my coverage . The letter supported by David Cameron's envoy of trade. He liked the way I covered the story and told me " Iraq and Britain have a great history together".

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Kurdish-Israeli Singer: ‘I Feel Responsible for Protecting Kurdish Culture’

by Ary Rasool

Kurdish-Israeli singer Hadassa Yeshurun does not speak Kurdish, but likes to sing in the language of her ancestors for the joy it gives her fans, and because she wants to keep the language and culture alive in Israel.  Whenever she picks out a song, Yeshurun says she first tries to understand the words and “connect” with the lyrics. She adds that it is her “dream” to visit and perform in the Kurdistan Region, but that she is waiting for an invitation. Here is her interview with Rudaw:
Rudaw: It is said that you are going to visit the Kurdistan Region after the Eid holidays?

Hadassa Yeshurun: I would be very glad to visit the Kurdistan Region. Many people asked me to come to Kurdistan and hold a concert there. In order for me to be able to come, there has to be some kind of official invitation from the government or an organization. So my visit to the region depends on those who are willing to host me. It is my dream to visit the Kurdistan Region.

I visited several countries like Austria, Germany and Turkey for concerts. Unfortunately, I have not yet had a chance to visit Kurdistan. As a strong follower of Judaism, I once refused to participate in a concert in Germany because it happened to be on Saturday.

Rudaw: Are the Kurdish Israelis connected with the Kurds in the other parts of the Middle East?

Hadassa Yeshurun: The Kurds who live in Israel have relations with the Kurds throughout the world, especially the Kurds in Iraq and Europe.

Rudaw: How do you feel when you sing in Kurdish?

Hadassa Yeshurun: Songs and poems are the most important part of every culture. I am very fond of Kurdish and Aramaic cultures, so when I sing I focus on these two cultures. I also sing in Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and Hebrew. I feel it is my responsibility to protect Kurdish culture from extinction through my songs. It makes me happy when I sing in Kurdish or Aramaic, because it makes my Kurdish fans happy. When I sing in Kurdish I notice tears in their eyes and I realize after many years of hardship something finally makes them happy.

Rudaw: Can you speak Kurdish?

Hadassa Yeshurun: No.

Rudaw: Then how can you sing in Kurdish? Do you understand the words of the songs you sing in Kurdish?

Hadassa Yeshurun: In order for me to connect with the song I have to understand the words. When I pick a song I first study to learn the meaning of the words.

Rudaw: What do you know about Kurdistan?

Hadassa Yeshurun: I know the Kurds are the largest nation without their own country. I also know that the Kurds have been repressed throughout history, especially under the rule of the ousted regime Saddam Hussein.

Rudaw: Are you in touch with any Kurdish singers?

Hadassa Yeshurun: I am not, but I still listen to their songs. There are many talented Kurdish singers. If I decide to sing one of their songs I contact them for help with the words. I am currently working on memorizing the songs of Hassan Zirak, Tahir Tofiq and Zakaria Abdulla. I love to listen to Choppi Ftatah. I follow her style when I sing in Kurdish.

Rudaw: Are there similarities between Jewish and Kurdish cultures? If so, how would these similarities encourage a Jewish singer to sing in Kurdish?

Hadassa Yeshurun: Kurdistan and Israel have many things in common. There are many Kurds currently living in Israel, and there were many Jewish who once lived in Kurdistan. My parents were in Kurdistan. For me, singing in Kurdish is the way to protect the language and culture in Israel. Even though I don’t have a tutor to teach me Kurdish I still try to sing in Kurdish.

Rudaw: What is the Kurdish population in Israel and how are their living conditions?

Hadassa Yeshurun: There are currently over 100,000 Kurds living in Israel. We celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, together and we go out for picnics. We have Kurdish dance classes. We celebrate the holidays together. We make Kurdish food. We still very much protect and use the Kurdish traditional instruments like flutes and drums. Unfortunately, not all of them speak Kurdish, especially the new generation. We speak Hebrew instead.

This interview publised at Rudaw

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Erbil switches off lights for Earth Hour

By Ary Rasool
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region –As cities around the world were plunged into darkness, Erbil switched off its lights to contribute to an event, globally known as the campaign to raise awareness of the climate Change.
"Erbil kicked off the event at 8.30 pm, cutting lights of The Parki-Shar Park and streets nearby" said Head of Erbil Electricity, Hussein Hamad, and added "the event went on for only half an hour".
Globally, the event expected to kick off in more than 150 countries for 60 minutes with an anticipating of millions of people. During the hour people switch off non-necessary lights.
Most of the famous attraction, locally and globally, took part in the Earth Hour campaign, including Empire state building, Halabja Martyr's Monument, Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House Etc..
"It's really amazing to see Erbil participating in such events.''said Ali Ibrahim when he alongside with his friends walking in the ParkiShar, a Small Park adjacent to the Erbil Citadel.
The 21 year old student also said "we first had Erbil as Capital of the tourism for 2014, the Longest Kurdish dance and now Earth Hour campaign. Erbil develops, and it will continue to globalize"
The event first emerged in Australia when in 21st March,2007 started with a small gathering of people and then gradually became a tradition across the world.
Erbil turned off the lights for the second time later on Saturday alongside with 7 thousand other cities in 152 countries.
Furthermore, Halabja Participated in the event "Halabja Martyr's Monument turned off its lights in support for Earth Hour" stated Halabja official, Kharib Ahmed, and added "the event took place for one hour.Instead of bulb lights we used candle lights"
This blog is written in the web-article format

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Scottish Legislator: ‘I Wanted the Whole World to Know I Love the Kurdish People


GLASGOW, Scotland -- At a recent session in the Scottish Parliament to discuss the Kurdish genocide, Scottish Labor Party member Hanzala Malik appeared in traditional Kurdish clothes. In this interview with Rudaw he explains that the Scottish Parliament has given the Kurdish people the maximum support it can within its powers.  Malik was elected as a member of the Scottish Parliament for the Glasgow region in May 2011, and is also Vice Convener of the Europe and External Relations Committee in the Scottish Parliament
Rudaw: How is the stance of the Scottish Parliament on the Kurdish Genocide?
Hanzala Malik: There have been two motions, two visits, to Parliament by the Scottish Kurdish community -- and of course the debate -- all of which will go a long way to remind people of the Anfal campaign and stimulate discussion as to how to take this forward.  I have had a meeting with the minister of external relations on the issue and he will find out how to take this to the UN from the Scottish Parliament’s view.  The Scottish government is a regional government like the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) and we do not directly have a foreign policy remit. However, the Scottish Parliament has given the Kurdish people the most support it can within its powers, and the Parliament welcomed the 2005 Hague decision that formally recognized the 1988 attacks as genocide. This Parliament joins the UK, Norwegian and Swedish parliaments in doing so.
Rudaw: What do you think is the reason that other countries do not recognize the Kurdish genocide?
  The view of many governments is that it is not for a government to decide whether or not genocide has been committed, as this is a complex legal question. 

Hanzala Malik: There are many reasons for not recognizing the genocide. The view of many governments is that it is not for a government to decide whether or not genocide has been committed, as this is a complex legal question. Where an international judicial body finds a crime to have been genocide, however, this will often play an important part in whether a government will recognize one as such. When a government does recognize that genocide has taken place, then this leads to many more questions about what actions could have been taken to prevent these acts.
Rudaw: Who was behind taking the issue of Kurdish genocide to the Scottish Parliament?
Hanzala Malik: I have been working with the Kurdish community in Glasgow as well as in Kurdistan for some years now, and with the help of Scottish Kurdish people we managed to put this event in place.
Rudaw: Did the Kurdistan Regional Government help at all?
Hanzala Malik: The KRG were not directly involved in this event. However, the meeting and debate came at the end of more than a year of work, raising awareness of the Anfal Campaign and the impact it has had on the Kurdish people, which was undertaken in conjunction with the Kurdistan Regional Government office in London and the Westminster All Party Parliamentary Group on Kurdistan. The KRG’s UK representatives have done excellent work with me on a number of issues, visits, and last but not least, meeting with the First Minister and Senior Ministers. I am looking forward to working much more closely with them in the next year.
Rudaw: Do you have Kurdish friends?
Hanzala Malik: I have many fine friends and am making many more as time goes on. I have been working to support the Kurdish people in Glasgow over the past 10 years, when many of them arrived seeking asylum and having lost everything.  I am happy to say the community has become established and is prospering.

  Even though others are reluctant to admit they failed to protect you in the past, I feel we must learn by our mistakes so we don’t make such errors ever again.  

Rudaw: What is your message for the Kurdish people?
Hanzala Malik: Even though others are reluctant to admit they failed to protect you in the past, I feel we must learn by our mistakes so we don’t make such errors ever again.  And the people of Kurdistan see that lessons have indeed been learned and people around the world do care.
I decided to wear the (Kurdish) clothes only on special occasions. This (parliamentary session on Kurdish genocide) is one of the most special occasions, and I wanted the whole world to know that I love the Kurdish people. They are my friends and I want to share their history with all, to know of the horrors they went through.
Rudaw: What did the other MPs think when they saw you with an outfit that belongs to another nation?
Hanzala Malik: Many were surprised and asked questions about it and I was honored to explain where the clothes came from and what they meant to me.  MPS appreciated the gesture and agreed with me that we must help address this issue properly through the UN.
This Article published at Rudaw 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Why the US Won’t Strike Iran

US-Iran agenda is what we hear most these days. The slogans of “US to bomb Iran”, ” Is it really going to happen? “, ” Zero hour for attacking Iran”, “Will the US attack Iran?”, “Is Iran really shrinking?” are the news headlines of the mass media. Across the world we have an image of the US potentially attacking Iran. But the question is: why is there no obvious decision or action whether or not to attack?

Is it because the US realizes that Iran possesses nuclear weapons, and if they attack, Iran may use it? Or, as some experts state, the US is trying to figure out more about the nuclear stations? Is there some other factor holding them back?

They are all probably right, and there are other factors that are contributing. Below I argue some of the hidden facts that make it very hard for the United States to attack Iran. I’m not going to argue or guess whether the U.S. will strike Iran tomorrow, next month, next year, or ever. Instead, I am simply showing some analysis of why the US is not bombing Iran.

First, Iran is the 18th largest country with some 75 million people. There are about seven nations in Iran, including Persians who make up the majority. The consequences for the situation of a post-strike Iran should be considered.
The lesson of Iraq compels the US decision makers to think of other ways rather than attacking Iran. Ten years after, the US still comes under fire by Iraqis and rest of the world for its conduct in Iraq. Iraq is still a warzone. The Iraqi people have become the victims of sectarian tensions and explosions have become an everyday occurrence, in which several innocent people die in a series of violent attacks. Iraqi sects have started, directly and indirectly, fighting each other. Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds are struggling to share power in the government. The Sunni Deputy President is currently in exile in Turkey and the Iraqi criminal court issued three death sentences against him in absentia. Sunnis accuse the Shia Prime Minister Nouri Maliki of causing tensions and declared him a dictator. Kurds have boycotted the parliament meetings, and not long ago Kurdish forces had a stand-off and were very close to fighting each other. What is happening in Iraq will probably repeat itself in Iran. Needless to say, The US will face major problems even more complicated than Iraq’s, for there are more than seven groups in Iran and, each and every one of them are trying to secure the power. It is unlikely that America could settle disputes between the Iranian nations.

Second, Iran is situated in a very strategically important and difficult area. It is bordered by many countries and notable features including Azerbaijan, Armenia, the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and the Oman gulf. Its geopolitical significance as the holder of the second largest proven natural gas reserves and fourth largest proven petroleum reserves in the world is of significant import. Iran is an important supplier of foreign oil to the world as a whole. While Iran does not supply the US directly, the US consumes a quarter of the world’s oil production and would therefore be at high risk of injury from changes in the world oil prices. In other words, the US would face enormous risk to the American economy by attacking Iran.

Third, although a nuclear Iran would be a catastrophe for Arab countries, the US, and not to mention for Israel, bombing Iran would cause massive civilian casualties and other damages. Not only would Iranian civilians pay the price, but so too would Americans. A strike would definitely elicit an Iranian response, and with so many Americans deployed in military bases and American civilians working in the region, a counterattack could be very costly.

Last but not the least, while the Obama administration is dead serious about preventing Iran from going nuclear, the US worries that the bombing might not be able to target the nuclear station and unintentionally create conditions for an acceleration of the Iran nuclear program as they are developing it in underground. This would be counterproductive and mean that the strike would in effect be an enormous cost that, retrospectively, would not have been worth it.
Ary Ibrahim, from Ranya, Iraq, is a third year student at University of Kurdistan-Hawler, majoring in Business Management Science. He writes this post as the leader of US-ME Network’s UKH Chapter.