Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nawshirwan Mustafa: The issue of the detached areas for us is a big democratic challenge.

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  • By Nawshirwan Mustafa
  • 28/02/2010

Nawshirwan Mustafa's message on the issue of Kirkuk and the detached areas

Sbay website, 22 Feb 2010

In this message I will explain to you the position and approach of the Change movement on the issue of Kirkuk and the detached areas.

The issue of the detached areas means the issue of Kirkuk, Khanaqin and Mandali, Sinjar and other areas. This is one of the central and principal issues for the Change movement. After the downfall of the regime and the redrafting of the Iraqi Constitution a special article for the resolution of these problems was added, this was article 140. According to this article most of the aims of this clause should have been implemented by the end of 2007 and by now all the associated issues should have been resolved. Now three years have passed since this deadline, not only have no serious steps been taken for the implementation of this article, but also the example that the Kurdish administration did present to these areas was so bad and unjust and corrupt that it has not only alienated the ethnic, racial and faith groups in Kirkuk in particular and in the detached areas in general from the Kurdish people and Kurdistan region but has also caused a great discontent by the Kurdish people too. Instead of taking justice, democracy and freedom to the people of Kirkuk and detached areas, they carried an irresponsible party political conflict to these areas and there they repeated all the mistakes and flaws that once took Kurdistan to internal war and made it weak. Establishing two divided administrative zones, two separate security forces and two decision-making centres recreated the same party political administration in these areas which had existed in Kurdistan and it still exists. In this way the political forces of Kurdistan presented a bad example to these areas which has even angered the Kurds. The Kurdish authorities have not only discriminated between the Kurds and Arabs and Turkomans, but they have also practised discrimination within the Kurdish community itself. The experience of Kurdish two parties [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party] in Kirkuk, Khanqin, Sinjar, and other areas has angered the Kurds more than the Turkomans and Arabs because it is not enough for these two forces to be a Kurd in order to have human rights and deserve a reasonable life. No, you must, in addition to being a Kurd, also belong to one of the parties. Even this is not enough. Within the party you must belong to a certain powerful persons and factions then you will have rights, freedoms and privileges.

It is time now to put an end to this unjust politics. It is time that we all together used our will for the establishment of a new political and administrative system guided by a new mentality based on Kurdistani citizenship and Iraqi citizenship.

In our view the Kurdish administration should have behaved very sensitively towards these areas and has dealt with them with an open democratic plan for comprehensive services because these areas are not like the other areas that interpret the lack of freedoms, justice and services as bad administration only. Every flaw besides being an example of bad administration is also considered as a kind of religious, sectarian or ethnic oppression. In fact, the Kurdish administration has not been able to remove in Kurdistan the feelings of ethnic and religious oppressing that the diverse groups in the region have. The Kurdish administration has not been able to make the Shiites, Ezidis, Turkomans and Arabs feel that the political framework of Kurdistan is theirs too and it equally protects their interests.

In our belief, the issue of these areas cannot be resolved unless we in advance prove to all the peoples in the detached areas that the Kurdish administration of these areas will be a just one and protects the interests of the citizens equally.

Our motive for trying to return Kirkuk, Sinjar and Khanaqin to Kurdistan region is not based on a closed nationalist discourse. But it is based on the returning rights to those who have been deprived of them. We look at the detached areas as a right that has been taken away. This means that our national vision is based on the concept of citizenship and rights of citizenship rather than on extreme nationalism.

We must put an end to that party mentality that offers money and services only to those people and places that belong to them and neglects the other citizens who do not belong to them. The main aim of Change movement is to return to establish and restore respect to the right of citizenship away from any political, ideological and even national, faith and religious considerations. We work for equal rights for the citizens of Kurdistan region and equal share in the wealth and revenues of the region. At this level, when we all our power, try to return Kirkuk and the detached areas to Kurdistan region, we are very keen to work very seriously to reconcile and create a new sold relationship between the different components of these areas. We will work to ensure equal opportunities for work, power, freedom and services for every citizen in these areas irrespective of their ethnic, religious or faith affiliation. We must prove to all the peoples of these areas that their becoming part of Kurdistan region will bring them more freedoms and better services. The issue of the detached areas for us is a big democratic challenge. It is in these areas that real democracy as well as an end to the mentality of party supremacy, which has caused immense political, social and cultural crises to Kurdish society, must be achieved.

Dear citizens and the oppressed Kurdish society,

We are closely aware to what extent our rivals and adversaries circulate hostile propaganda for this new movement. We are aware that the enemies of our movement are prepared even to undermine their own history in order to defile this movement which has been born for you and your interests. They are furious about this movement because it has become the true mirror of your desires and demands. Many of the activists of Change were once holding high party and government positions and posts. They gave up all these just in order not to leave you alone and not to participate in the party supremacy regime that has done immense injustice to thousands of citizens of this country. They gave up everything so that they would be close to you and through this movement become the first trench to defend your rights, demands and aspirations.

We want to establish a new political beginning where we all together away from nepotism, cronyism, and party dividends live under the ceiling of one region and country and establish a new open democratic experience on the basis of citizenship not party affiliation.

If you wish to get rid of irresponsible party officials' mutual interest sharing; if you want to have a country in which we all Kurds, Arabs and Turkoman, Shiite , Christians, Ezidis and Shabak, have equal rights in it; If you want to get rid of the aggression of the parties' secret agencies, and oppression and assaults of party officials and their guards; If you want to put an end to the unequal distribution of wealth; if you want to enjoy your rights without feeling any favour to party leaders and officials; I ask all of you: voters in Kirkuk, voters in Sinjar and detached areas of Nainawa. Voters in Khanaqin, Mandali and detached areas of Diyala, Kurdistani people in the detached areas, Kurdistani people abroad: If you wish to have a country based on equality in the face of law and social justice:

Vote for Change list.

I wish you all success. May God protect you!

Nawshirwan Mustafa

22 February 2010