By Thomas Hornall
*Organised by Scottish Friends of Kurdistan and the University of Strathclyde’s Student Association*
A rally in solidarity with the Kurds and minority groups against the fascists of the Islamic State took place in George Square on Saturday. Speakers called for more humanitarian support, international recognition of genocide, military aid for the Peshmerga and an end to the enslavement of women and persecution of minorities.
MSP Bob Doris of the SNP, who visited Kurdistan last year, said the Kurds were the “most tolerant, humane and peace-loving, and integrated peoples I’ve met on my travels in the region.
“ISIS is the latest in a long line of threats to the Kurdish people, be they Kurds in Syria, in Turkey on in Iran. There has been wave after wave of attritions against their national identity.”
Despite securing some degree of autonomy after the Gulf War, the Kurds remain the largest stateless group of people in the world. Their history is replete with massacre and attempted annexation, most horrifically in 1987-88, when Saddam Husseins’ Baathists killed at least 180,000 Kurds with chemical weapons.
Dr Kamal Ketuly, who was educated at Glasgow University, was very clear on exactly what will happen with the Caliphate on Kurdistan’s doorstep. Some 4,000 are believed to have been killed in the region in recent weeks. He said: “ they want to impose their draconian, Wahaabi type of Islam in Syria, in Iraq the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.
“ If you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Yazidi, Kakayi or any type of faith, and do not give up to their type of religion you are condemned to death.”
The Islamic State is imperialist and expansionist. It has taken large cities like Faluja, Mosul and Tikrit with unprecedented ease. The Iraqi army capitulated with the Sunni extremists’ advance; fleeing and leaving behind expensive military equipment that is now used by the jihadists.
Wherever the black-cowled reactionaries go there are mass executions, forced conversions, brutal punishments for breaking their Sharia, and genital mutilation of women.
They are killing people in horrific and barbaric ways and abducting women and children
to sexually abuse and traffick. They are forcing people to convert to Islam and live under sharia law
and seek to roll back many years of progress and development. – Scottish Kurdish Human Rights group.
As a result of jihadist attacks there are around 1.9million refugees in the region who urgently need assistance. Thousands have fled into the Sinjar Mountains faced with death or forced conversion. Many women have been raped and sold into servitude as slave brides.
Roza Salih, USSA VP Diversity and Advocacy, spoke powerfully addressing the 200 strong rally: “ Where are the media?! Where is everyone against the women slaves in the 21st Century? Against the genocide of minorities?”
Indeed, there has been a shameful lack of coverage and outrage over the horrific acts of the Islamic State. Where are the thousands who marched in Glasgow for Palestine? Will Glasgow City Chambers fly the Kurdish flag?
Her father, Saleem Salih, called IS the “enemy of humanity.” He went on: “We need attention of media and the Scottish people to get urgent aid to the Kurdish Yazidi, to Turkmen and to Christians who have fled their homes. We are going into the winter and it will be very dangerous for those trapped on the mountains.”
And Dr Ketuly underlined how the caliphate is erasing culture; he said they are destroying “ mosques churches and monasteries, Yazidi temples. The tombs of prophets, poets, writers and artists from all faiths have been desecrated.”
Though many are uneasy about further military involvement in the region, there were near-universal calls for weapons and military assistance for the Kurdish National Guard, The Peshmerga.
MSP Doris illustrated that: “A basic human right is to defend your own peoples. They are not looking for weapons to invade or for aggression they are looking for weapons to defend their own communities. The Peshmerga must have the ability to do this and that’s a call the international community has to listen to.”
As signatories of the Genocide Convention it is incumbent on us to “punish or prevent”. With the Islamic State, we could not have a more flagrant genocidal threat to minority groups. We failed in Rwanda, and said ‘never again.’ We failed in Darfur and ‘never again’ was repeated.
The Islamic State is an imperial and fascistic power. They will attempt to annex more territory and we know what happens to those who resist them. If the glib ‘never again’ is uttered in the wake of the Islamic States’ massacre and destruction, it will be to our eternal shame.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s);