Tomorrow I am going to vote.
As I type this blog post, my son, who will turn two in less than two weeks after the referendum, is on my lap. When I wrote My Nest in Kurdistan, a day such as today was only a dream, because at times I never thought in my lifetime I would see the formation of the Kurdistani state. If you are not a Kurd, it’s hard for you to realise how precious these moments are.
When the rally in Erbil took place I was in the presence of my former peshmerga father, my mother (a Faili Kurd who was forcibly displaced from her family home in Baghdad to the borders of Iran), my husband, whose family escaped into exile when he was my son’s age, and my son… he has no idea whats happening around him. But I hope he will have a positive story to share in his later years.
At times I become anxious, a little worried and unsure of what is to come, for I never want what we have built in the past decade to drizzle down on our heads. Although it doesn’t take long before I am reminded of the first politics class we took: The right to self determination, the right of statehood, the right to live in peace, the right to vote…
I know half of what we studied were just words in text books, reality is different. But at least these are the core values of the democratic world, no? So when it comes down to it, I have nothing to fear, nothing to worry about for we have committed to crime. We are democratically going to vote, to answer one question: Do we want to be independent from Iraq? Yes or No? If there is anything undemocratic it is the entire world apposing the right of the largest stateless nation in the world to vote, it is Iraq’s threats against its own people. This referendum reaffirms to me once more that the Kurds and Iraq cannot live together in peace.
Oh, and what’s this talk by their Excellencies about Kurds trying to break apart a united Iraq? When has this country ever been united, together and peaceful? The only peaceful part of Iraq in the past decade has been the Other Iraq, and that’s
the Kurdistan Region.
At times I find my self frustrated beyond my control. Frustrated at the disgrace of the central Iraqi government. Frustrated at politicians in Baghdad, those who if they could would drop an atomic bomb at the Kurds right this second. And they will find passages from somewhere to legitimize it. That’s the Iraq that we are living in today. An Iraq that went against its own constitution 50-something times (no exaggeration) and then attempts to tell the Kurds they’re not following the constitution. As for the international community… where did all the democratic values you preach go? It’s not like we are declaring independence tomorrow.
Throughout the days and weeks leading to this referendum I have, at times, had my doubts, but not for a single second have I doubted my YES vote. I know, for sure, no matter which political party or individual called for a referendum I would have voted yes. I am by no means saying the politics in Kurdistan is perfect, we have our own handful of shortcomings, and I keep reiterating the importance of unity. I hope the new Kurdistan will put political party interest second, as external forces use this weakness to their own interest.
All this said. Tomorrow I shall vote and remember the martyrs of this land, remember the dream I grew up to believe in, remember my father’s mountain stories, remember my uncles who lost their lives and left behind children, I shall remember the countless genocides committed against my people… and no, I do not wish to be part of Iraq. I do not wish my son to grow up in an Iraqi state, and no, I do not want my grandchild to belong to an Iraq divided by sectarian conflict. What’s the world going to do? Kill us, because we want to live in peace?
Lots of love from the heart of Kurdistan, in My Nest in Kurdistan,
Can’t wait to write to you tomorrow, as soon as I cast my vote