The Burning Monument

Saturday, 01 April 2006
Suleimni (Awene) By Bakhtiyar Ali

Until March 16, if anyone would have asked me about the most appalling political event in the past twenty years, I would have answered that it was on August 31, 1996 (when the Kurdistan Democratic Party asked Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces to help them defeat Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's militias in Erbil.

But what happened in March 16 was a political and ethical earthquake that was larger than August 31. Firstly, (March 16) marks the day that a generation emerged that can set monuments on fire. Secondly, a power that can shoot at children was born on that day. The most meaningless interpretation is (that the burning of the Halabja memorial) was like burning the history of Halabja, as party media says.

On the contrary, nothing expresses Halabja's history like the burning of the monument. Setting the monument on fire is simply like burning a small faction of the lies that have been repeated for the past fifteen years. It rejects the policy of worshipping the dead while those who are alive are treated like dogs. Halabja actually stood up when the monument was set on fire; it marked a revolution of the town, a revolution of which the public was previously unaware. The irony is that the ones who opened fire on kids and freedom of expression are the same ones now crying for the burnt monument. It is the biggest hypocrisy and ethical crises that you kill me while guarding my statue; that you cry for my past while stabbing me.

The ones who open fire on secondary and university students and shoots at hundreds of unarmed people cannot say they love our statutes more than us. The policy of this (Iraqi Kurdish) administration is that for the sake of the monument they are ready to destroy Halabja; they are ready to kill dozens of people, to detain them and talk about executions.
(Awene is issued weekly by Awene Company in Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.)