Wednesday, August 06, 2003
KurdishMedia.com - By Ayoub Barzani
In the Middle East region, most of the Kings, Presidents and political party leaders have no love for democracy. They do not have the legitimate rights to govern in the name of their people.
Family rule is incompatible with justice, democracy, human values and against the principal of federalism.
Saddam Hussein, for 35 years, ruled unlawfully; he corrupted and massacred his people. Mass graves stand witness to the scope of Saddam’s barbarism. He was preparing his son to take the reign of power after him, and was in his way to create a hereditary and dynastic rule. His secret police suffocated the already weak Iraqi civil society. Though the totalitarian conduct of the regime was primitive, many Arab intellectuals were shamelessly his ardent supporters. The men who served his regime were chosen through the notorious process of selection:
Humiliate him: So he feels inferior, honourless and has no merit...
Re-educate him: So he knows what his master is expecting from him to do. New identity found, as he identifies himself through serving his master.
Recruit him: For the regimes count. He becomes the regime’s nails and a hunting dog. He is ready to commit any crime with satisfaction, thus realising his importance.
The relentless expansion of secret services led by a son, a nephew, an uncle, a son in law etc. The consequences: Fratricidal wars, deep division in the society,...
Unfortunately, it is from this cruel political school that majority of our political actors graduated. Power sharing, free elections, peaceful democratic transfer of power, respect for human rights, free press, tolerance of political differences and critics are considered as a threat to the regime. Keeping power by all means is the number one obsession. Hence, the relentless expansion of secret services led by a son, a nephew, an uncle, a son in law etc. The consequences: Fratricidal wars, deep division in the society, exclusion of people from political life, destruction of the moral basis, chaos, cultural and economic poverty. Family rule favours nepotism, the latter in turn leads gradually to despotism, to a police state. All that ends up in the destruction of the society and the despotic system all together.
We disagree that a Kurdish political party dominated by a single person for life, can be a democrat in his political behaviour.
Saddam’s regime drew back from Baath party rule to tribal domination. Then both were subordinated to Saddam’s exclusive family rule. The family was placed above the tribe, the tribe placed above the party and the Party above the people. We the Kurds must learn lessons from this dangerous deviation and should not allow that happening in Kurdistan. We shall construct barriers against the emergence of Kurdish despotism. The sooner the better.
The American and British forces are daily combating the remaining supporters of the criminal Baath regime. The Allies, as they have repeatedly said, are for a democratic and federal system in Iraq. This is an opportunity to be seized. On the one hand, we have to tell the Americans that we need their help in constructing the Kurdish civil society with all the necessary institutions, so that a real democracy can function in Kurdistan.
We need their help in eliminating nepotism and favouritism, unfortunately rampant in Kurdish society. The latter may well present a time bomb; we have to face it now and not shelve it. In this critical stage the Kurdish intellectuals have enormous responsibility. Here also we have to learn lessons from Arab intellectuals, who helped the creation of totalitarian regimes in the Arab world, by accepting to be a cheap propaganda instrument at the service of the Arab dictators.
Party leaders, we understand when you love your relatives. We encourage you to do so, but we do not accept that you impose your personal emotions on the democratic life of our society.
On the other hand, I am convinced of the necessity to be frank and tell courageously both; the President of the KDP Mr. Massoud Barzani and the Secretary General of the PUK Mr Jalal Talabani that, there are dangerous obstacles on the road of democracy which should be clearly identified and avoided. Under no circumstances should these obstacles be neglected. We chose only one element; it is “nepotism”. It has the same destructive effect as the cancerous cellule in the human body, namely weakening immunity against repression in society. Sadly enough, nepotism has for many years obstructed inter-Kurdish democratic life and presently it is a living phenomenon since many years. It is high time that honest Kurdish intellectuals strongly focus on this illness, before it is out of hand:
· Your son as your political heir.
· Your second son as your chief of secret or intelligence services
· Your brother as the Commander of the special battalions
· Your son, or your son in law as a Prime Minister
· Your uncles as heads of foreign affaires.
· Your other brothers and nephews as representatives in Washington, Paris, Berlin etc...
· You should have a well defined and limited authority in using the financial means.
· Transparency and investigation should be allowed to function in total liberty in regional financial budget. Cases of fraud, theft, abuse of finance or bribing writers, journalists and singers to glorify the leader, must be eradicated from Kurdish politics.
Though these elements are associated with despotism, there is no cultural resistance allowed in Kurdistan to encounter them. Anti despotic culture is badly absent in Kurdish party life. Indeed, party culture is plainly for nepotism as far as it is related to “us” and against when related to the “others”. This duality should end for the sake of societal emancipation.
We can tell both the party leaders that the one who respects democratic laws will automatically obtain more votes from the people of Kurdistan, than the one who holds on the policy nepotism.
I propose that each of the above mentioned prohibitions to be written in the middle of a red circle, as it is the case with the road circulation signs, and to be installed around Kurdish Regional Parliament in Erbil in a way that, every one can see them.
Any society that enjoys minimum of self-esteem will not accept such domination based on total family nepotism. If the above mentioned anti-democratic elements are not eradicated, then there is no real democracy in the country. We should not allow family rule flourish in Kurdistan meanwhile it is disappearing in Baghdad.
We can tell both the party leaders that the one who respects democratic laws will automatically obtain more votes from the people of Kurdistan, than the one who holds on the policy nepotism. Of course we understand when you love your relatives. We encourage you to do so, but we do not accept that you impose your personal emotions on the democratic life of our society.
History of mankind should be read correctly. We have so many examples of calamities brought upon nations by a despot, a head of a family or a dictator, that we have difficulty to choose one. Family rule is incompatible with justice, democracy, human values and against the principal of federalism. It cannot avoid corruption. We disagree that a Kurdish political party dominated by a single person for life, can be a democrat in his political behaviour. In this case we are again repeating the hated Saddam’s scenario.
On the 22nd of June, 2003, around 1:30 pm western time, I recieved a call from Duhok, the person on the line was an ordinary Kurd like the majority of the population of Duhok and he was exceptionally happy, saying: “The Americans are in their way to eliminate favouritism; the poor people can live without fear and begging the party in charge”. He talked in a way that sounded like he had rid himself of a heavy burden bothering him for a long time. There is no doubt that this urgent demand is very popular among the people of Kurdistan.