Thursday, January 28, 2010

Persecution ≠ Compensation (Response to a Kurd's lawsuit of Iraq)

By: Ali Rawaf
If you have any previous blog post of mine about Kurdistan, you would've seen that I am a supporter of the Kurdish cause, you know, uniting their torn nation under one state unit. I also acknowledge that Arabs haven't been the friendliest to Kurds in the past few decades but I don't support anything that is irrational, illogical, or anything that would appear as boldly illegitimate.

Today, titled one of my article roundup that I read about Iraq, "Kurdish Genocide Survivor Sues Iraq." As I read through the article, it kept getting gradually offensive.

A Kurdish man, Taimour Ahmed claims that the State of Iraq (and the United States, since they supported Saddam Hussein with funds and some equipment) should compensate him for an organized mass murder of "Anfal." He is asking for 20 million dollars for every single one of the 10 family members he lost.

Don't get me wrong, I sympathize with Ahmed. I am sad that he had to experience extraordinary imprisonment situation but here is where I think the problem in this case lies: If Iraq was to compensate Mr. Ahmed, shouldn’t Iraq compensate the victims and their families of all of Saddam’s genocide, mass murders, and wars?

In addition, the person who was responsible for and lead these attack, was just executed a couple of days ago to after being convicted of several counts genocide.

If Iraq allows such claims to prevail, we will be hailed with hundreds of thousands of people who will want to do the same thing. Mr. Ahmed wasn’t the only person who was persecuted along with his family in Iraq, we all were and many of us continue to be persecuted under different conditions and situations as we see what happens in post-war-Iraq.

Mr. Ahmed wasn’t the only one who was persecuted, therefore he shouldn’t be the only one compensated. In fact, I don’t think anyone (except for those whose physical properties were damaged, demolished, or confiscated by the Iraqi government) should be compensated because they were executed in the State of Iraq under a different regime and era. Iraq cannot afford and will not afford to compensate the formerly persecuted one, including me.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kurdish Ali and Chemical Ali

By: Ali Rawaf

In 1988, the whole city of Halabja was bombed with chemicals by the Iraqi government. It is in that time that Ali Pour was an infant and was taken by a group of Iranian soldiers to a hospital in Iran and was treated. Later, he was adopted by a sister of one of the soldiers who took him. A little over a month ago, he was awaiting a DNA test to see if the person he was told is his mother is actually his. The DNA proved that the female who appears to the right side of the picture gave birth to Ali 21 years ago. For two decades, Ali was away from his real family. For two decades, his mother thought she had lost her child. For two decades, Ali’s mother wanted to see the person who gassed her town and killed her husband along with most of her children pay for what had been done to her family.

Today, the person responsible for the shameful act of gassing the city received his sentence. After several trials, Chemical Ali was executed today for being convicted of 13 counts of genocide. Before 2003, neither of Ali and his mother thought they would see this day. Many Iraqis never thought they would. But it happened. I hope, if this can prove to us anything, it will show us that there is an end to anything and anyone, even tyrants and mass murderers. But I also hope that this will mark a day that we also forget the past and its misery and look forward to building and serving a country that has suffered from criminals like “Chemical Ali” and worse.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Iraqi Elections Bans: A Flashback from The Past

By: Ali Rawaf
It is no wonder that the recent election bans on a number of Iraqi politicians and parliamentarian are prejudice and illegitimate.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a big fan of Salih Al Mutlaq or many of the banned politicians but I do sense the tension that has risen from the ban.
If the Iraqi election commission truly believed that those politicians should be disqualified, why haven’t been any mentioning in November or December, a month or two before the Iraqi elections were originally set to be held.

Salih Al-Mutlaq, though has truly said many things that can be labeled as Baathist, has been a member of the Iraqi parliament for the past four years with being questioned about any of his Baath promotion. Shouldn’t we hold accountable of the elected officials just as much as we do the ones running to be elected.
The majority of the candidates in the banned list are Sunni. This can be very detrimental as we shape our government for the next four years. Though there is no real census, no one wants to be underrepresented.
We cannot afford to have a big sector of the Iraqi population as part of the voting population. This banning of candidates has truly reminded Iraqis like me that government officials are still holding on to the same issues with which we struggled in the past elections: sectarianism, animosity, and insecurity.
If the commission doesn’t truly take into consideration the appeals of the banned candidates and transparently reviews them, the elections in Iraq will be nothing but a recap of the former elections round.

*Picture is used from the Time Magazine website.