Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group Support for Black Americans
By: Dr. Amir Sharifi
Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group (KHRAG) expresses its utmost outrage at the horrific murder of George Floyd at the hands of a policeman, who for 8 minutes and 46 seconds tortured him to death while ignoring his repeated pleas and cries of “ I can’t breathe.” The brutal murder was not an isolated example. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others are parts of a disturbing legacy and brutality of institutional racism, which is integral to the U.S and colonial history.
The tragic event is an example of recurrent history in many racialized communities in the U.S and throughout the world. For Kurds, discrimination is an everyday reality as we are both deprived of civil, socio-cultural, and economic rights; we are often subjected to political oppression and exclusion as African Americans. The Floyd’s tragedy has offered the world an opportunity to see and find ways to eradicate the real roots of racism and lay the foundation for a new framework of fundamental human rights for ethnic and indigenous communities. No democracy is indeed possible without freedom from discrimination. In the words of Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Kurdish Americans are participating in the anti-discrimination global movement through social media feeds, rallies, messages, tweets, posts, artwork, and vigils. We are actively connecting with African Americans. Like them we have experienced extrajudicial and public executions; during the same week that Floyd was murdered, a young man, Çakan was stabbed to death in a park for singing a song in Kurdish in Turkey. It was again during the same week that Turkish forces demolished the Celadet Ali Badirkhan Library as another reminder that reading and writing in Kurdish is still a cardinal political crime in Turkey. It was in the same week that the Security Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran publicly executed two Kurdish border kulbars (porters) not to mention the routine execution of religious and ethnic minorities in Iranian prisons.
Dr. Amir SharifiKurdish Americans support “Black Lives Matter” and stand for racial and ethnic equity; we uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and insist that it be applied to all racialized and ethnicized communities in the U.S and throughout the world. Only a local anti-discrimination campaign and a growing global peaceful protest such as the one we are witnessing these days can address and redress indignities, humiliations, and marginalization of oppressed peoples. While we mourn George Flyod’s tragic death, we all rise in solidarity to condemn and eradicate institutional violence and racism as a crime against humanity.
Dr. Amir Sharifi
Co-Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group