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Call for a thorough investigation into the assassination of three Kurdish women activists in Paris

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Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNC-NA):

Call for a thorough investigation into the assassination of three Kurdish women activists in Paris

January 11, 2013

Los Angeles, CA – As members of the Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNC-NA) and the Kurdish Americans of southern California, we will hold a peaceful demonstration in protest to the recent political killing of three Kurdish women activists in Paris.

This protest will start on Monday, January 14, 2013 between the hours of 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM in front of Consulate General of France in 10390 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

3kurdish_women.jpgOn the evening of January 9, 2013, three Kurdish woman activists were shot in the head in execution-style in the office of the Kurdish Information Centre in Paris.

One of them, Sakine Cansız, was a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a key organizer of Kurdish women’s struggles. Fidan Doğan was a successful Kurdish diplomat and Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) and Leyla Söylemez was a young woman involving in Kurdish youth activism in Europe. During his visit to the crime scene, the French Interior Minister said that the deaths were “without a doubt an execution.” He called it a “totally intolerable act.”

There have been negotiations peace talks between Mr. Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK’s leader who has been imprisoned in the Imrali Island since 1999 and the Turkish authorities toward peace- building.

Many Kurds and analysts view the murders of such magnitude as an attempt to derail peace negotiations. Peace dialogues between the PKK and the Turkish authorities are already fragile. If these murders remain unresolved, peace-building will be an all the more difficult task.

As Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNC-NA), we fully condemn these inhumane and cowardly murders. We demand the French authorities to do a full investigation and bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible.

Kurdish National Congress of North America

P.O.Box 50216, Irvine, CA 92619,

http://www.kncna.org

For Immediate Release Contact:

Luqman Barwari (805) 402-6440

 

Mr. Azad Moradian’s speech on the KNCNA 22nd Annual Conference, Kurdish National Congress of North America: Strategy and Tactic for a new era

Mr. Azad Moradian’s speech on the KNCNA 22nd Annual Conference,

San Diego State University,California

Azad Moradian Speech: Kurdish National Congress of North America: Strategy and Tactic for a new era

June 2010:

Kurdish National Congress of North America: Strategy and Tactic for a new era

Dear President of KNC-NA,
Distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you for attending KNCNA’s 22nd annual conference. I congratulate the board of advisers, board of directors, members, and the supporters of the KNCNA on the 22nd anniversary of excellent work for the promotion of the Kurdish issues in the North America. I hope that the 22nd conference will be able to successfully reach its goals as it has always done. Every year we gather to reflect on our progress thus far, bring awareness to current issues pertaining to Kurds and Kurdistan, and outline how to move forward.

In the short time that I have with you today I want to take a look at two very important aspects of any organization: strategy and tactic.

Strategy is defined as the overall campaign plan or goal of an institution. This is often confused with tactic.

When KNC-NA was established by a group of distinguished intellectuals following the 1988 chemical bombings of Halabja and the subsequent massacre of the Kurds in Northern Iraq, they agreed to mobilize under the slogan of a United Kurdistan. They were catalyzed by genocide and remained primarily focused on this region for the next decade or so. Some of the objectives of KNC as quoted directly from our website were: “Unite Kurds living in North America to work for common goals, to promote the idea of a United Free Kurdistan, and to strengthen the voice of all Kurds living in the USA and Canada.”

As with all strategy, this overall goal involves complex operational patterns, activity, and decision-making that lead to tactical execution. Tactics are then defined as the actual means used to gain the objective or strategies previously decided on.

Although the founders of KNC-NA envisioned an organization, which pays equal tribute to all Kurds regardless of geographic location, it seems that throughout the years, the primary focus of this establishment has been Iraqi Kurdistan.

This has perhaps been due to the makeup of KNC’s leadership, the historical events at the moment, and the geopolitical importance of Iraqi Kurdistan during the 1990’s and then during the US led war in Iraq.

Azad Moradian Speech: Kurdish National Congress of North America: Strategy and Tactic for a new eraThe tactics that KNC has used to promote the Kurdish agenda has been to be a voice for the victims of Halabja and Anfal, as well as strengthen ties between Kurds in diaspora and the governments in our host countries. This can be seen as strategically wise for KNC because this organization was able to work on the issues most historically urgent for Kurds as well as most newsworthy.

The leaders and founders were able to establish themselves as an authority on current events regarding Kurds and political movements in the region and have been consulted by various agencies.

Another reason why KNC might not have been able to focus on other parts of Kurdistan might have been lack of expertise. This is understandable considering our sheer numbers in North America. We are a very small minority here and have yet to establish a truly educated and organized community. We must be realistic on our outlook. With a population of 300 million in the United States alone and a vast landscape stretching from coast to coast, 20,000 Kurds will have a very difficult time coming together and bringing their talents to form a well-rounded minority group.

This country is also made up of many diverse minority populations, all with their own demands. In order for Kurds in diaspora to be recognized as a minority with a unique history and specific needs, much more must be done. KNCNA can play a very crucial role in this. However, in order to do this our tactics must be current. Our strategy will always be focused on what our founders had in mind but tactics and alliances might need to be reconsidered and then executed.

I believe KNC has an even bigger role to play. The events taking place in the Middle East today will have a direct impact on Kurds, not only in the region, but also on those of us living in diaspora.

The potential to make an impact on policies and lives of Kurds are enormous. All of this has to be done with a fresh outlook.

We cannot continue to use the same tactics we have used in past to move towards our strategy of serving all Kurds. Today Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran face serious threats and need the attention of the international community more than ever. Just as in the 1990’s when KNC brought the western communities’ attention to Iraqi Kurdistan;

We now have the potential to zoom in on these regions. We must have the right leadership with such vision, as well as the right connections. We cannot have biased opinions about working with opposition groups or other ethnic minorities in the region, and must redefine what it means to live as a Free Kurd in place like Iran or Turkey.

With all smart goals and strategic planning, an organization must move with the times. It is important for our organization to look at our tactics and find more innovative ways to sail towards our strategy of a United Kurdistan.

Like any other successful organization, KNC needs to be able to self-evaluate and adapt to the new geopolitics of the Kurdish region. Any delay in the systematic reexamination of KNC’s tactics may cause an adjustment disorder similar to any system and phenomena. In fact, ignoring the new system of the region is like ignoring the needs of our people who are working in the grassroots level and can be costly.

Turkey moves towards cultural freedom, while Iraq is moving towards federalism. Although the situation is Iran been bleaker the overall consensus is that the focus should be on Human Rights of Kurds first and foremost. In Syria, the recognition of Kurds as a citizen is one of the most significant issues today. None of these means a derailment from a Free United Kurdistan. Rather these are tactics and diplomatic maneuvering.

During the years after the fall of the Soviet Union, borders were carved up and nations were formed; however, today the international community is not interested in nationalism and state formation, but rather in democratization and standardization of rights. Any deviation from this agenda comes of as extremism.

kncna_22nd_azad.jpgUnfortunately, in a brief analysis of KNCNA’s work in the past few years, one can see a strong indication of reluctance within the leadership to change tactics. There has been a major sense of resistance to move with the times. KNCNA has been unable to differentiate between the overall strategy of holding on to the slogan and dream of a Free Kurdistan and the need to realistically measure the challenges faced by Kurds under each regime in the region

The danger of not reevaluating our tactics is a continuous isolation of the Kurds in diaspora and subsequently less attention and solidarity from the International community to our cause. Our very small presence in the Armenian Genocide Remembrance day is a perfect example of a tactical mistake on our part. A lack of connection with Greek communities and their lobbies is yet another mistake because they could be extraordinarily important especially when issues of Turkey’s human right abuses are brought up.

If we believe that a Free Kurdistan is not compatible with working with non-Kurdish opposition groups in the Middle East who are fighting and struggling with the same regimes in the region, then we will have a much more difficult battle.

Often pro-democracy opposition fronts of all ethnic groups have the same common goals as Kurds, and we need to build strategic alliances. In order to do this we have to have a presence during critical historical events.

For example, the last 12 months could have been a fantastic opportunity to direct the attention of the International community to the plight of the Kurds in Iran. This opportunity was missed. Unimaginable events swept Iran, which took the international community by surprise. It demanded solidarity from the Kurdish Community in diaspora precisely because Kurds in Iran have suffered the most from the regime in Iran and will need the support of other ethnic groups in Iran in the coming months. Our Kurdish community has been almost entirely absent because they have considered the movements in Iran inconsequential and irrelevant to a Free Kurdistan. This type of mentality is not compatible with 21st century politics and needs to be updated.

knc_039.jpgAs Kurds we have to be honest with ourselves and look at our history critically and analytically. We have been one of the biggest losers of history. Yes, we have been betrayed by world powers in the past and continue to struggle with challenges to be recognized. Yes we lack adequate resources to educate our youth and keep them from being executed. Yes, we have been under oppression and have faced genocide, war, and ethnic cleansing. However, we cannot ignore the very fact that we have also often lacked strong compassionate leadership. We have often lacked the right strategy and tactic. We have done too little too late. We have often been silent when we should have shouted, or not acted when we should have been up in arms. Many times when we should have been at the negotiating tables we were too busy fighting amongst ourselves for power and position. Many times we just simply did not understand the systematic geopolitical, economic, social, and cultural aspects of the times we lived in.

If we do not learn from our history then we are bound to repeat them. The prices of losing opportunities are irreversible. As someone who comes from a family of martyr, who has lost many close relatives to the Kurdish plight, as someone who has spent many long months in prison and many long days in the mountains as well as a refugee, I understand first hand what it means to be a Kurd without a land. I also understand that shouting slogans will not save children from execution. We need diplomacy and strategy, lobbies and resources, leaders and funding, as well as dedication and compassion. Yes we can move KNCNA towards a more pragmatic and mature tactical road-map.

Thank you

Azad Moradian, Chaeir of Kurdish American Committee for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran.

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KNCNA; Iran: The Last Executioner of Children and Women in the Modern World

Iran: The Last Executioner of Children and Women in the Modern World 

 

News from the KNC Public Relations Committee

Contact: Mrs. Soraya Fallah

818-434-9609

Iran: The Last Executioner of Children and Women in the Modern World

California. June 28, 2008. The Iranian Islamic authorities, soon after they tightened their grip on the country in 1979, following the overthrow of the Shah’s tyrannical establishment, have been suppressing every basic human, religious, and ethnic right in Iran.

This, in essence, is a grave violation of every democratic principle. Months after they established their religious sectarian rule, and on an order from Khomeini, the Iranian authorities sent their forces to Kurdistan-Iran in order, as they put it, to wipe out the “foreign agents.” They declared a so-called “Jihad” against the Kurdish people. Their jihad did not even spare pregnant women and children sleeping in their cradles.

After regaining control over Kurdistan, instead of working to bring tranquility to the people and show concern for their welfare, the Iranian regime continued the same policies of its predecessor, the Shah’s despotic regime. The Iranian regime maintained the policy of persecuting Kurdish human rights advocates and freedom seekers. In 1989, Iranian regime used the negotiation tactics to trap the Secretary General of Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), Dr. Abdurrahman Qasmlu along with two of KDPI leadership members in Vienne, and murdered them while they were negotiating terms to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish national demands within a democratic Iran. They were slain while sitting at the negotiation table. This pattern of suppression and murder was repeated in 1992 in Berlin when Qasmlu’s successor, Abdurrahman Sharafkandi along with several of his supporters were murdered after returning from a peace conference. Dozens of other Iranian Kurdish democratic and human rights activists who had fled to Kurdistan-Iraq to escape a certain death were murdered by Iranian co-conspirators and agents who followed them to Iraq and executed them.

According to the Amnesty International’s recent report (2008), Iran is the only country in the world that still executes children and child offenders (those accused of committing an offense when they were under 18 years of age). In the past decade, the Iranian regime sentenced 177 child offenders to death, of which 34 executions have already taken place. Their ages ranged from 12 to 17 years. The remaining 114 await execution. Today, Iran accounts for 73% of all juvenile executions worldwide.

The theocratic state has also launched a campaign of suppression against women and women’s
organizations who are advocating for human rights for women. Iranian women’s groups have
been peaceably assembling and using democratic means to try to make the regime to grant them more freedom. Their civic movement has proved to be effective to promote the idea of social justice where all citizens are considered equal before the law regardless of their gender, religion/sect, or ethnicity. As a result, these organizations and their leaders have met with harsh repression in a recent crackdown.

Amongst these women’s rights activists are two Kurdish women’s rights advocates, Ms. Hana Abdi and Ronak Safarzadeh, both age 21. They had been in prison in the Kurdish city of Sina (Sanadaj), since their arrest on September 25 and October 23, 2007 respectively. The crimes, of
which they are charged include being active in the Azarmehr Association of the Women of Kurdistan, a group that promotes women’s status through capacity-building workshops and sports activities for women in Sina and elsewhere in Kurdistan-Iran; and volunteering with the
One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality.

Iran has used propaganda to stigmatize advocates of human rights and democratic principles as
enemies of Islam and nation, and labels them as “munafiqeen,” or “foreign agents,” By characterizing those who disagree with their political and religious agendas as munafiqeen’s or
enemies of Islam, the Iranian theocracy have created a climate in which they believe it is righteous for them to murder those whom they suspect of being in violation with their way of thinking. By using the epithet of ‘anti-Islam’ against innocent people or accusing people of “endangering the national security” without providing undeniable proof of such claims, the Iranian regime has itself become “extremist’ through acts such as murdering children and public “stoning” of women.

The irresponsible behavior of the Iranian Mullahs has begun to destabilize the entire Middle East. By justifying their intolerance under the banner of “Islam” they have been promoting terrorist groups affiliated with its ideology and succeeded in demonizing the image of Islam to the larger world community. Further, their ambitions to help bring about the downfall of a sovereign nation and their ambition to obtain nuclear weapons have brought Iran into serious confrontations with the world. This sort of brinksmanship can only bring calamity to Iranian people.

We call upon the leaders of Iran to stop promoting terrorist groups , relinquish its extremist rhetoric and actions and rejoin the world community as a modern functioning state. Internally, we hope it will continue to provide better economic opportunities for its citizens to achieve a decent living standard, and to protect its citizens’ human, democratic, and cultural rights. Political prisoners, including Ms. Abdi and Ms. Safarzadeh must be released or given a fair trial according to the rule of law and not narrow religious interpretations. Iran must treat all ethnic groups equally and allow them to exercise their indigenous culture. At the external level, it must work diligently to regain its international reputation as a functioning member of the world community by stop supporting terrorists. It needs to respect the international norms and protect human rights. It needs to work genuinely to normalize its relationships with the world in order to be allowed to take its place back in the family of nations. Iran cannot have a healthy relationship with the world if it continues to adhere to its current policies. It can no longer justify its cruelty toward women and children by using its narrow religious interpretations. These policies would only guarantee its eventual downfall.

Date published: Tuesday, July 01, 2008

 

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