Daily Archives: March 20, 2014

Newroz Statement by the Honourable Jim Karygiannis, Member of Canadian Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt

Newroz Statement by the Honourable Jim Karygiannis, Member of Canadian Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt

I would like to take this opportunity to wish members of the Canadian Kurdish community Newroz pîroz be, on the occasion of the Newroz.

Newroz is the most important festival in the Kurdish tradition. Meaning ’New Sun’ and ’New Day’, Newroz is celebrated on March 21, 2014. There are many explanations for the origins of Newroz, with records of the spring festival found as early as 3000 BC. The festival symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, the celebration of new life and freedom from oppression. The origins of this festival date back 5,000 years.

This celebration commemorates one of the founding myths of Kurdish identity. Legend holds that Kava, a blacksmith’s son, killed a child-eating giant and, after slaying the beast, lit a fire to signal his terrorized people that they no longer need live in fear.

Today, Kurds, the descendants of Kava, light fires during Newroz – often by burning tires as a symbol of resistance, independence and survival in the face of tyranny.

I have had the privilege of participating in ceremonies to mark Newroz. This is a very significant time in lives of all who celebrate.

As a Member of Parliament, I have worked closely with the Kurdish Diaspora in Canada on issues important to the community. In the last few years, I have traveled to Turkish Kurdistan as an election observer and to the KRG to explore business and trade opportunities for Canadian companies. I have also met with representatives of The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan and discussed issues with respect to sustainability for nation building and business and trade opportunities. Following the 2011 earthquakes that struck eastern Turkey, I stood with the Canadian Kurdish community calling on the Conservative government to assist earthquake victims.

On March 16, 2010, the twenty-second Anniversary of the Halabja Gassing, Members of Parliament adopted my Motion to condemn the poisonous gas attack in Halabja, the destruction of Iraqi Kurdish villages and the systematic persecution of Kurds in Iraq by Saddam Hussein as crimes against humanity. In 2009, I visited Kurdistan, Iraq and the Monument of Halabja Martyrs. I told the survivors I would ask the House of Commons to declare the actions of the Saddam Hussein government against the Kurdish people to be a crime against humanity. Thanks to all Members of Parliament, I was able to keep my promise.

In March 2013, I was privileged to attend the “Day of Hope” commemoration in Halabja. This solemn and poignant occasion was held to pay homage to those who were killed during the commission of this horrendous crime against the people of Halabja.

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