IRAQI KURDISTAN: The far rights got it all wrong.

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IRAQI KURDISTAN: The far
rights got it all wrong.

by Rezhiar Fakhir

No doubt reading the news nowadays makes you angry with the
claims that far right leaders are making specifically Donald Trump. I have been
confused, troubled and shocked hearing that the President of the United States
has banned people from the Muslim world entering to the US. His allegation that
it is to make the US safer by banning innocent people from the Middle East has
puzzled me, it is as though he lives in a different world. What is even more
appalling is that many people applaud him for what he is doing. He did not just
ban people but he also stated that he is only going to accept Christians as
they have been most prosecuted by Daesh (ISIS) in the Middle East. Well Mr.
President, you are wrong. Everyone has suffered equally from ISIS regardless
whether they were Christian, Muslim, Yazidi, non-believers or any other beliefs
that did not match with Daesh’s ideology. I have reflected on the statements
that he has made and I think it is important that people have a real picture of
what is happening here, not what Trump is trying to feed to people.

However, this is not by any means to dismiss anyone or depict
who has suffered most or who has suffered least from the wars that exists in
the Middle East and specifically war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. I have had
the benefit of meeting people from different corners of this region and
worldwide due to the work that I am doing. Last summer we had a very diverse
delegation coming to my region to learn about what was happening here. We
visited one of the monasteries in the city of Sulaimani where the people
working there have lived in Syria and fled to this city after the war started. 

Muslims praying at Dallas Airport

Photo credit: REUTERS/Laura Buckman.

We sat down to listen to their story. Father Jenns who has lived
in Syria and worked with Christian communities in Syria started explaining
their work in Syria and the current work that they are doing in the Kurdish
region of Iraq. He said ‘’Before I start, I would like to tell you all that
when you go back to your own countries do not make the same mistake as the
media. Christians are not the only community who has suffered from IS.’’ He
continued, ‘’The people who have most suffered from IS are the Muslims
themselves and other groups.’’ I have tried not to list who has been prosecuted
most or least, because I believe that we have all equally suffered from ISIS
regardless of who we are or what religion we adhere to or what we believe. But
after Trump’s horrifying statement, it is vital to talk about it openly. 

Historically speaking, it is good to take you back a little bit
to tell you some stories that really reflect on the Middle East’s situation. In
2014, when IS invaded Mousil the second largest city in Iraq, they started
killing Muslims at the very beginning of their appearance in the city. Hundreds
of thousands of Muslims were displaced and killed. Also they left no choice to
the Christians but to leave or be converted or killed, which lead to mass
displacement. It is heart breaking for me to see an extremist group just come to
a city and push people out who have inhabited there for thousands of years.
Their way of life has been destructed and it will be very difficult, as well as
challenging, for them to rebuild their lives. Many of them have even given up
on going back to their own homes after all the destruction that has been caused
by ISIS. 

The Daesh militants then moved to the city of Sinjar. The people
of Sinjar adhere to a different faith called Yazidi. Upon their arrival, they
killed more than seven thousand people, kidnapped five thousand women, raped
them and sold them in the sex slave market in Daesh territory. Also, they took
their children to recruit them. Even after the liberation of the city of
Sinjar, Yazidis did not go back due to the traumatic experience they have gone
through. Since then, they have been based in camps where they can barely keep
up with their lives and hope for a better life in the country or elsewhere
outside of the country. I am not sure that Donald Trump or the people of the
United States who think like him or voted for him have followed what has really
happened here. This is not a war about religion but more about power. 

This is to give you all a real picture that everyone has
suffered equally from ISIS and we cannot be dismissive and simply categorise
who is most prosecuted as the Trump administration is doing so. And the
decision to ban people from six countries in the Middle East is cowardly made
without thinking or having a clear picture of the Middle East. It is also
racist and Islamophobic nothing else. It is even offensive not just to Muslims
but also millions of people who do not adhere to Islam.

In my dream, I thought Trump would ban all the puppets and
dictators who have caused so much pain to the people of this region plus killed
hundreds of thousands of people. Besides, people should not forget that the
people that Trump’s administration wants to make an alliance with are
responsible for the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. I
was imagining that his administration would ban Erdoghan (The president of
Turkey) who has murdered thousands of Kurds or Bashar AL Assad (The so called
President of Syria) who has killed more than two hundred thousands of people in
Syria. What about the Golf states that have left no space for women and
minorities in their countries? And the president of my region (Masud Barzani)
who is responsible for a civil war in which more than thirty thousand people
were killed, and is still ruling the region by killing and oppressing the
Kurdish people in the Kurdish region of Iraq. I am really baffled by how Trump
and his followers, just put everyone in an empty box and call them terrorists.

I am not sure whether people really know that the simple reason
that terrorist groups exist in this region is because of the US invasion. As
the US officials claimed, ‘’The US invasion was to bring democracy to the
country,’’ not to tear it up along with the whole Middle East. Due to the US
invasion, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Iraq and we
inherited all these terrorist groups. It is just nonsense to me to portray the
Middle Eastern people as terrorists but ignore the fact that US invasion has
led to mass destruction and mass displacement. In addition, it has created a
space for terrorist groups to come here and create this chaos that we see now.

So the far right leaders, including Trump, should be aware of
how this happened before making these sort of decisions and not put everyone in
the same box. They should be aware that these decisions will leave people with
no choice and will help the terrorist groups to recruit the very people who are
trying to run away from the terrorists. When you give no option to those
displaced people who have no place to resettle to have a peaceful life, the terrorist
groups will certainly benefit from that to increase their members. I also think
if anyone should be banned, it should be the puppets and dictators of the
Middle East not the people who are suffering from all these barbaric regimes
and terrorist groups. Or perhaps ban weapon companies from sending weapons to
this region instead of banning people from the Middle East.

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