26 July 2010
IRAQ UPDATE: 1-15 July 2010
On team during this period were Peggy Gish, Marius van Hoogstraten, David Hovde, and Chihchun Yuan.
Advocating for People Displaced by Border Bombings
At the request of the leaders of the Basteson Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in Zharawa, CPTers were present at a meeting between the camp
leaders and the mayor of the district. At the meeting, the leaders
requested permission and financial assistance from the government to
build houses on the land where the camp is located, which the people in
the camp have purchased. The mayor said there was some financial
assistance available and that they should start the process of getting
the legal ownership documents ready. At the camp leaders’ request,
CPTers were also present at a meeting with the camp leaders and a leader
from the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
Meeting with Basoz’s Family and Attending Commemoration
Yuan and Gish visited the family of Basoz, a fourteen-year-old killed by
Iranian shelling while she visited relatives in the village of Weza.
Her parents said she was preparing tea for those working in the fields
when she was killed. Basoz’ parents gave them photos of Basoz that
Chihchun made into a slideshow
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqNPnmWdA28). The team also attended a
public event honoring Basoz, made a statement there, and showed a video
about the IDPs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bmz6BibojGw).
Staying a Night in Basteson IDP Camp
After attending Basoz’ commemoration event, people at the Basteson camp
hosted the team for dinner and the night. The hospitality was wonderful
and the team had a great opportunity to practice Kurdish.
Visiting and Interviewing People in New IDP Camps
Sporadic Iranian and Turkish bombardment over the past three years along
the border villages in the Sangasar and Zharawa sub-districts
intensified again in early June. The bombardment struck inside villages
and displaced about 400 families who now live in the Doli Shahidan camp
near Sangasar, and 64 families who now live in the Gojar camp near
Qaladza. A 91-year-old woman
in the Doli Shahidan camp expressed fears to CPTers about the beginning
in mid-August of the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from food and
drink during daylight. “We need to pray and fast,” she said. ”If we
were in the village we would have more to eat and cool places to rest.
I’m afraid people will die here.”
The leader of the Gojar camp drove CPTers to the nearest abandoned
village, Sarkhan. There they saw craters caused by bombs, blackened
fields that had caught fire from shelling, and an abandoned house with
windows broken by shrapnel. The owner of the house showed them inside.
A number of his children had lived in adjacent houses. “Our neighbors
are not our friends,” the camp leader said, referring to Iran and
Turkey. “It’s because we’re Kurds. The gods made us that we’re Kurds.