This Site is dedicated to the Seyyed Kamal Asfaram a.k.a Shwane Qadri, a courageous Kurdish youth who was brutally killed by Iranian Pasdaran in July 2005, and also to the  Eastern Kurdistan people for their resilience and endurance.


The international community’s silence over the suppression of Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan

06 August 2005
KurdishMedia.com - By Dr Hussein Tahiri
Since the killing of Shivane Qaderi, a Kurdish activist, by Iranian forces in the town of Mahabad on 9 July 2005, Kurdish towns and cities have experienced an unprecedented unrest. It started when the security forces tied Shivane Qaderi’s body to a car and dragged him through the streets and then took him to the police station and tortured him to death. This news caused uproar among the people of Mahabad which led to a series of demonstrations in the city. Other Kurdish towns and cities took to the streets in support of the people of Mahabad. The Iranian security forces brutally suppressed the demonstrators which caused the death of about 20, and injuring and arrest of hundreds of people. Since then, many Kurdish activists have been arrested and two Kurdish newspapers have been closed down.

Suppression of the Kurds is nothing new in Iran. The Kurds have been subjected to repressive measures by different Iranian regimes since the early 20th century and they have been denied of their basic human rights. Just last week a United Nations’ report stated, “Regions historically occupied by Kurds ... seem to suffer disproportionate inadequacy of services such as water and electricity and unsatisfactory reconstruction efforts”.[1] The Islamic Republic of Iran instead of addressing the concerns of the people of Kurdistan has been using repressive measures by deploying thousands of security forces.

The Islamic Republic must have realised by now that there is no military solution to the Kurdish problem in Eastern Kurdistan. The more it prolongs, the more complex the Kurdish problem gets, which may affect the existence of the entire country. The Iranian Government has only two choices: either to recognise the rights of non-Persian peoples within Iran, or Iran, sooner or later, will face disintegration.

What is more concerning is that in the 21st century still the Iranian regime uses one of the most barbaric methods to suppress the Kurds. It is a disgrace to human dignity to tie a person who has been shot to a car and then drag him in the streets and then torture him to death. Just imagine what animal rights groups would do if Shivane Qaderi was a whale or even a sheep.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the international community has again remained silent over the issue which has encouraged the Islamic regime of Iran to continue its killing and suppression of the Kurds. Political and non-political organisations throughout the world that claim to defend human rights have expressed no voice over the issue, sticking to their decades old policies.[2]

Not much has been heard from the world’s “independent” media. The world media has mostly remained silent over the issue. Major world media outlets such as BBC, CNN, Reuters, AP have very rarely mentioned the brutal suppression of the Kurds, considering the issue not worthy of being covered.

France, Germany and the United Kingdom are more concerned about their strategic interests in the region by preventing Iran from building nuclear weapons. It seems that suppression of the Kurds is the least of the things that would bother them.

The European Union, as usual, has not voiced any concerns over this suppression. For decades, they have continued their relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the name of “critical dialogue”, despite widespread human right abuses. The suppression of Kurdish demonstrators has proved that this “critical dialogue” has not worked so far and there is no indication that it will. The Iranian government is well aware that Western Europe uses the term “critical dialogue”, not out of a genuine concern for human rights abuses in Iran, but to preserve their own economic interests.

Despite many expectations, the United States has kept quiet over the issue and has remained indifferent. Looking at the history of the United States this indifference might not be surprising. However, the Kurds nearly came to believe George W. Bush when on 20 January 2005, he was sworn in for the second term as the President of the United States. He delivered a historic address to the Americans and other peoples of the world in which he said that the United States will encourage freedom movements and support the oppressed. Bush stated, “Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.”[3] He continued:

"We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies."[4]

The Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan have been suppressed and oppressed by the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1979. What has the USA “clarified” with the clergy rulers in Iran over the human rights issues in general and the Kurdish rights in particular? What has been done about “jailed dissidents” or “womens humiliation and servitude”?

Bush stated, “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”[5] It is time to ask George W. Bush why have he has “ignored” the plight of the Kurds? Kurds have found “their own voice” and they want to make “their own way”. So far, about 20 Kurds have been killed and hundreds injured and arrested for demanding their liberty and freedom. The Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan expected from you to “stand with them”.

Mr. Bush said, “America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof”. “One day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world”, and that it would be “dishonourable to abandon” them. The Kurds are asking him what has happened to those promises? Were they merely words or is he going to honour them?

To conclude, the recent demonstrations in Eastern Kurdistan are another proof that the Kurds can not rely on outside powers to demand their freedom; they have to rely on their own resources. Kurdish freedom will come through Kurdish unity and cooperation, not through “critical dialogue” of the European countries, nor through George W. Bush’s promise of supporting the “oppressed” in their struggle for “freedom” and “liberty”.

It is time for the Kurds in all parts of Kurdistan to form a coordination committee formed of all Kurdish political organisations in Kurdistan to promote understanding between them, encourage cooperation and work towards a common purpose.

Endnotes:

1. Reuters, 30 July 2005.
2. On 6 August 2005, for the first time, Amnesty International, USA, voiced its concerns about the suppression of the Kurds in Eastern Kurdistan.
3. US President George Bush’s inaugural address following his swearing-in on Thursday for a second four-year term on 20 January 2005.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.

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