Saturday, 20 December 2008

Kirkuk, a test for nation

A nice story brought to us today by the Washington Post's Sudarsan Raghavan who went through numbers of normal residents of Iraq's ethnically-mixed Kirkuk to depict a picture for the vexing conflict the city has been experiencing since the U.S.-led occupation in 2003.

Raghavan's 2239-word story also helps the reader to unleash his imagincation to form many pictures on how the future of this ethnicaly fragmented city and then the Iraqi one will look like, considering the issue as a test to our war-plagued nation.

I only picked up some quotes, but advise everyone to read the whole story.

"I have no Arab and Turkmen friends. I have only Kurdish friends," said Darawan Salahadin, a slim 17-year-old Kurdish student with thick, gelled black hair. "I can't speak Arabic or Turkmen. So I don't know them."

"Damn the Kurds," screamed one of Khalaf Hamoud al-Jubouri's sons when his father's body was brought to his house after being killed by gunmen on Nov.24. Al-Jubouri , a 58-year old Arab lawyer and father of five, worked in the crucible of the conflict, pressing Arab legal claims to disputed lands. "I know it was the Kurds who killed my father."

"The government gave me the land, because I am originally from Kirkuk," said Abid al-Jubouri, an Arab and a father of 11, who owns a real estate agency .

"Kurds lost much blood for Kirkuk -- all what happened under Saddam, the executions, the jail sentences, the rapes, the blood -- all of this was for Kirkuk," said Darwan's father Salahadin Mahadeen."If the problem is oil, then we will give them the oil. We want the land."

"How can we live without our Jerusalem, without our heart?" Mahadeen added.

"It's all Turkmen land, 100 percent," said Abu Amjad al-Najafi, 61, a Turkmen, as referring to a Kurdish enclave in the city which he said it was owned by Turkmens.

"They have to walk over our bodies to make us leave this area," said the Kurdish fighter, Luqman Majid. "We will never leave, even if this place becomes our grave. This is Kurdistan."

Of course Raghavan didn't forget to incldue a precious quote of wisdom from one of our liberators who came here only to solve our problems.

"Kirkuk could be the capstone in the house of freedom, or it can be the cheap thread that when you pull out unravels the entire suit," said Lt. Col. David Snodgrass, deputy commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, which oversees Kirkuk.

Wow, you such a wiseman Mr. liberator.