IRAQI KURDISTAN UPDATE: November 2012

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CPTnet

12 December 2012
IRAQI KURDISTAN UPDATE: November 2012

Persons
on team: Kathy Thiessen, Carrie Peters, Pat Thompson, Lukasz Firla, Garland
Robertson, JoAnne Lingle, Rosemarie Milazzo, Bud Courtney and Milena Rincon.

The
team wrote a Profile of Courage for Shanga Rahim. Shanga works with the Women’s
Legal Advice group, which advocates for women and works within Sulaimani’s
shelter system. Shanga is an inspiration and we are glad to be able to present
her story and work to others. Rosemarie Milazzo conducted the interviews, has
known Shangar for over two years, attended her engagement party and thus was
able to work Shangar’s relationship with her husband into the profile.

The
team participated in two actions in support of Turkish Kurds on hunger strike
in prisons throughout Turkey. The first was a march from the University of
Sulaimani to the Kurdish Parliament offices in Sulaimani. The second was an
evening of outdoor music and theatre focusing on Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan,
the Turkish repression of Kurds and the bombing of villages and persons along
the border and well into Iraqi Kurdistan. Some two hundred persons attended. It
was a lesson in patience as preparations, sound check and props broke down, as electricity
failed at various important moments, making for a most interesting evening on
the street with good friends.

On
7 November, a
group of smugglers was bombed by Turkish planes
outside Qandil in the Zaherawa
subdistrict. Two men were killed and two hurt. Rebaz, who  lost a leg, was treated in Sulaimani. The team
visited Rebaz a number of times and met his family. We spoke with the chief
consul at the Sulaimani Governorate regarding Rebaz and Kurdish Regional
Government (KRG) silence on the Turkish bombings. Kaka Cowa, the consul, said
he and the concil are powerless, but he promised
to have a representative speak with Rebaz. He said he has contacts in an
orthopedic company and believed he could arrange for Rebaz to be outfitted with
a prosthetic. A representative did meet with Rebaz before he was discharged
from the hospital, but he reportedly made no mention of a prosthetic.

 

The
team went to Chamcamal one day for lunch and to meet with the family of
Germian, the youngest boy killed during demonstrations last year. The father
had met the team at a demonstration and invited us. He also invited journalists
to his home and they interviewed team members. The mother told of her deep
sadness. Later, we attended a press conference at the Culture Café where Nasiq,
one of the chief organizers of last year’s demonstrations, gave a presentation
on the ten men killed and efforts to bring justice to the families. Feeling
somewhat powerless over this and unsure what our involvement should be, we
continue to meet and discuss ways of working with the families. We are
considering meeting with all of them together to get a better sense of what forms
of justice and accountability they hope for.

Team
support coordinator Milena Rincón visited for two weeks and facilitated team
planning sessions at our friend Father Jens’ church. The sessions proved
invaluable and we were saddened when the time came to put Milena on a plane back
to Colombia.

The
team, our friend Kanar and her two boys went
to the village of Sunneh for Children’s Day
at the invitation of the school’s
principal. We showed a video we have compiled from monthly team visits to
Sunneh over the past year. Kanar’s sons asked her if they could transfer to the
school, some three hours from Sulaimani (she said she would get back to them on
this). The day got out of hand when Kurdish dancing spontaneously broke out and
the team ran to the hills.

The
team traveled to Zharawa for a demonstration against potential violence in
Kirkuk at the invitation of an organizer the team had met in Sunneh.

The
team has been paying daily visits to six physically disabled men on a hunger
strike in front of Parliament
in Sulaimani to demand better conditions for
the 125,000 disabled in the KRG and disputed areas. As of this writing they
remain without food, camped in front of Parliament. We have established warm
relationships with Ari, Mohammed, Jahid, Jamal, Rebar and Hardar and we pray
for them.


The 10 December CPTnet release, AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: A sum of many parts, was written by Jonathan Brenneman. My apologies for the omission. –Interim CPTnet Editor Duane Ediger

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