On team during this period were Peggy Gish, Brad Langendoen,
Marius van Hoogstraten, and Chihchun Yuan.
cross-border attacks and accompanying displaced villagers
The Iranian-Iraqi border areas saw particularly intensive bombing
and shelling this period, which killed least one person, injured at least two,
and displaced scores. Ground
troops also crossed into Iraq from both Iran and Turkey. Recent waves of displaced people,
particularly in Choman district, received visits from the International
Committee of the Red Cross and from the Iraqi and U.S. military; the IDPs hope
material aid will follow.
The team met with representatives of Amnesty International,
who come to Iraqi Kurdistan twice a year to gather information about women’s
rights, gay and lesbian rights, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
situation, and press freedom. The
team gave them CPT’s IDP report and briefed them on the recent bombing, and the
IDP situation in Zharawa.
The team attended two rallies in Suleimaniya, calling for an
end to the bombing. CPTers brought
banners and pictures of the people affected and gave some interviews. Gish and a village representative made
short speeches, before reporters interviewed them.
At a cultural event in the town of Ranya, CPT joined about a
hundred young people playing music and displaying artworks in solidarity with
the victims of the bombings. After
speeches by the Mayor of Ranya and the director of the Ranya Youth Center, Gish
was invited to make a statement.
Persecuted for Political Affiliation
The team spoke to the family of Mr. Aziz, a supporter of the
Goran (Change) list, facing death threats and harassment by the police and
security services. In May, he had been
imprisoned for one night at the police station. About two hours after his release, he received a threatening
phone call. Two of his friends
received threats from the same phone number. The police held on to Mr. Aziz’ ID card after his release. The twenty-one-year-old former
Peshmerga, now staying at a new undisclosed location, expects the security
service will continue to make his life difficult.
After spending a long time and about $10.00 to get the TV
satellite dish fixed, the team now has some 300 TV channels, none of which show
the World Cup. Fortunately, CPT’s
neighbor created an antenna out of a piece of wire, allowing the team to receive
an additional three channels that do show the World Cup.
The team was disappointed, but not surprised, by North
Korea’s loss against Brazil. As of
this writing, they expect the last four to include Brazil, Argentina, Germany,
and the Netherlands. Yuan describes
the vuvuzela, the plastic horn providing a characteristic hum as a backdrop for
all games, as “not as bad as the news says it is.” (Currently the team comprises people
from Canada, Holland, Taiwan, and the U.S.)