Saturday, May 15, 2010

My dear Kurdish community

VOK Radio - By Cklara Moradian

With all due respect, I am allowing myself the liberty to ask a few simple questions because in the last few days I have been extremely disillusioned. Not only do I not feel a sense of solidarity, but I am not sure if I belong to a bigger community at all.

Part of my anxiety comes from the fact that we are all quick to pay lip-service to our national pride, Kurdish identity, heritage, and love for our battered homeland, but then rarely willing to wake up from our slumber.

Like passive voyeurs of resistance, we simply send each other condolences when those in the front-lines have perished.

Some of our human right activists and political leaders pick and choose, allocate their attention only to Kurds in their respective occupied states. They only speak up against atrocities they find atrocious. Are some Kurdish lives worth more than others? Have our enemies engraved their racism so deeply into our flesh that we have turned against ourselves?

Let me speak bluntly: we all shout slogans for a United Kurdistan, but we then only participate in causes divided along the arbitrary borderlines created by our enemies.
My blood is boiling from the fire ignited by our loss. I might sound inflammatory but I am only seeking honesty.

Where are my brothers and sisters from KRG?

Is it difficult to write a letter of condemnation about execution and include it in your newsletter? Have the cushioned chairs of power become so comfortable that you do not notice when our Kurdish women are stripped, shocked, and slaughtered?

Are relations with Iran more strategic than upholding our integrity? Maybe you are sitting so far above ground on the diplomatic couch that you have not even read her letter sent to us from prison.

Where are my fellow Kurdish youth?

I have seen your many festivals and outings, but during these long dark hours, I can't help but notice that I can only hear the deafening sounds of your silence. It echoes in my ears...Either I am deaf or you are blind to injustice.

Last weekend, while most of us were picnicking or enjoying mother's day at home, a young woman, not much older than me, was butchered. Some in our community have forgotten that the executed men and woman also have mothers.

I am not asking anyone to stop living. I am not asking families to be in a constant state of mourning, but I am tired of false hopes and bloated expectations. I certainly can not accept hypocrisy from my people.

If we have become so self-centered or desensitized from the pain, chosen to live in this western luxury of a bubble, and forgotten about our roots, then we should stop being "arm-chair" activists.

Let us resign from these self-proclaimed titles and self-appointed positions.

If, in all honesty, this activism is not play pretend, then where were you, my Kurdish brothers and sisters, when Farzad Kamangar was on death row?

Did we read his letters and send it to every international publication we had access to?

Did we knock on every door we knew of?

How many times did we call the White House to tell them about Farzad?

How many times did we make phone calls to the United Nations, the European Union, or the State Department?

How many times did we write letters to our local Senators, Congressmen, or Governors?

How many times did we write an Op-Ed or a "letter to the editor" in our local news-papers?

How many times did we write an "Action Alert" to Amnesty International or a similar NGO?

How many vigils, hunger strikes, protests, and visible displays did we organize to raise consciousness about our Kurdish prisoners of conscious?

How many workers' unions, teachers' associations, and writers' coalitions did we contact to collaborate with?

How many lectures did we set up at Universities to tell students about our cause?

How many celebrities did we reach out to so that the media picks up on our stories?

I know that some of our more influential and affluent members of the Kurdish community have connections with Universities, professors, politicians, lawyers, and businessmen in the U.S, Europe, and the Middle East.

Did any of us contact our networks to try to put pressure on Iran's regime?

Maybe none of these attempts could have saved Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, and Shirin Alam-Holi , but the worst part is that we all sat around silent!

Just writing press releases for our own audience makes a mockery of activism. Preaching the choir is useless.

A few people have suggested that we should hold a minute of silence in their honor.

We were silent before their death; I refuse to be silent for even another moment!

I think Farzad Kamangar would have wanted us to shout!

Sitting around, holding conferences, chatting over the internet, clicking the "share" button on facebook does not solve anything. These activities are done to showcase real progress and it should be PR or marketing, not displayed as the only role of an organization.

I am in no place to pose a challenge to anyone. I beg you, I request of you all, my dear friends, my brothers and sisters, my elders, my Kurdish fellows, let us put aside ONLY $50-100 for the family of Zainab Jalalian.

She is a twenty-seven years old Kurdish woman who is in immediate danger of execution and needs legal support. Let us not fail her the way we failed our other fallen heroes.

I know that these are tough economic times. But I also know what $50 is worth. $50 is one video game for your child, dinner for two, a bouquet of flowers, or a cheap pair of shoes.

If, as a community, we can not do something as simple as collect a couple thousand dollars for these families back home, then shame on us! We have no right to sit around and talk about our legacy.

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