Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Window into Iraq: Warm-hearted People of Kurdistan Region


Salman Ahmed Rasul 
I am from Rania, which is a small town in Sulaymaniyah Governorate in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. It is a very different place from other regions in Iraq. We speak Kurdish and have Kurdish culture, traditions, food, music and clothes.

Rania is known as the gate of the Kurdish Uprising of 1991, when people protested against Saddam Hussein. Despite having some minorities like Christians and Turkmens, the Kurds make up the majority of the population in Kurdistan.

The citizens of Sulaymaniyah enjoy the right to freedom of speech and political stability. It is known as one of the cities of sacrifice. People go out on the streets and protest.

Many memorable protests have taken place at Bardasky Sara square, very similar to that took place in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in Egypt as part of the Arab Spring in 2011. I was a fellow protester in February 2011, along with thousands of people who also gathered to voice opposition against corrupt government. These protests lasted for 62 days.

Sulaymaniyah is one of the most liberal cities in Iraq and in the Middle East as pointed out by our American professors at the American University of Iraq, Sulaymaniyah (AUIS). In our schools, there are more girls who make up the student population all the way from elementary school to the university level.

While there is more representation of women in governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the number of positions held by women is still very low. Women deserve full equality and there should be more female representation in government and in the political sphere.

Women have the same intellect and competency, but their abilities are not equally represented. They should always demand for more rights in order to get what they deserve. Nobody ever gets what they deserve if they settle for less.

This blog post first appeared on richmond.com  

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