Kirkuk is and will remain a Kurdish city. Since the founding of Iraq, all governments in Baghdad have tried to change the demography of the city. Despite all Arab settlements and Anfal genocide, Kirkuk has mostly remained Kurdish. If Arabic and Turkic tribes don’t accept the Ala Rengin flag and mostly Kurdish population, it would be better to settle in Iraq again. In Kurdistan, all people are treated equally, regardless of confessional and ethnic origin, under the Kurdish flag!
Kurds in Japan celebrating Newroz with their Japanese friends!
Many of the Kurdish immigrants in Japan come from Bakûr and stay under refugee status. The Kurds here learn Japanese whilst speaking Kurdish and sometimes Turkish. The Kurdish children who go to the Japanese schools often become fluently trilingual. Kurds residing in Japan take advantage of cultural freedoms they are not openly permitted in Turkey by displaying Kurdish flags, listening to Kurdish music, speaking Kurdish, and celebrating Newroz. They may also give Kurdish names like “Roni” or “Rohat,” which mean “the sun will rise,” to their children who are born in Japan. These names are forbidden in Turkey due to their political implications (the flag of Kurdistan, banned in Turkey, features a sun).
Newroz, the New Year celebration that is often an occasion for violence in Turkey, is celebrated openly and peacefully in Japanese parks.
Yesterday, Iraqi forces invaded the kurdish city of kirkuk with 200 tanks, because thats how you respond to an independence referendum.
They evicted people, killed people, pulled down our flags and burned them, stomped on them, even shot at them. Imagine a flag being able to cause that much hatred and anger, someone despising your very existence that much. At the same time, imagine your own flag being pulled from its masts and replaced with a foreign one, and being told that is what you are loyal to now. Forget your langage, culture, and centuries of heritage your people might have. Kurds do not exist. You are not valid.
State officials fled and left people to die. Kurdish soldiers fought until they ran out of bullets and were forced to surrender. What good is an AK against a tank? The rest of our army was in Syria liberating Raqqa from ISIS. Whilst one city was freed, another was imprisoned.
As we watched with horror and disbelief, we thought surely someone would do something. We helped recapture mosul, hawija and now raqqa. Time and time again, Kurdish sodiers put thier lives on the line in the name of liberty, surely that warrants respect and support from someone. Apparently not.
The Kurdish flag will fly again in Kirkuk. We don’t know when, but it will. And when it does, it will symbolise a people that have existed for over 5000 years, that have developed a culture, language, food and music entirely unique to the middle east, that have fought and will fight for the freedom of people not just in kurdistan but across the world.
We survived the Assyrians. We survived the Ottomans We survived Saddam. We survived ISIS. We will survive this too, because we exist. Kurds exist. We are not iraq. We are not Turkey. We are not Iran. We are not Syria.
Iraqi Kurdish people carry fire torches up a mountain where a giant flag of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region is laid, as they celebrate Nowruz, a festival marking their spring and new year, near Dahuk, Iraq. Photograph: Azad Lashkari