Friday, December 30, 2005


"All in all, punishment hardens and renders people more insensible; it concentrates; it increases the feeling of estrangement; it strengthens the power of resistance." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.

In the absence of any efforts by the civilized world to force the Teheran regime to behave by civilized standards, Kurdish political prisoners are taking human rights matters into their own hands:


Tehran, 30 Dec. (AKI) - Amid rising tension in Iranian Kurdistan, prisoners in Urumieh prison in western Iran are rioting over the imminent hanging of one of their fellow detainees - a Kurd named Massoud Shokkehi - and the hanging in recent days of another Kurd being held in Sagghez prison, also in Iranian Kurdistan. A total 51 Kurdish militants have been summoned to appear before the Revolutionary court in Sanandaj, accused of sedition. They face the death penalty if convicted.

On Thursday, violent protests broke out when police officers came to take Shokkehi away for execution, together with another Kurdish prisoner, Salah Mohammadi Guylani, being held in another prison. Shokkehi had been in Urumieh for nine years.

A young Iranian Kurd was hanged in Sagghez on Wednesday. Farhad Salehpour, 19, was arrested some 12 months ago and sentenced to death for killing a Islamist militiaman. A member of a separatist Kurdish group, Salepour spent eleven months in Sagghez on death row before being executed. Also on Wednesday, four more Kurds who allegedly took part in unrest earlier this year were re-arrested. They had been released conditionally earlier this month.

There have been violent protests in many cities in Iranian Kurdistan in recent months, and the situation remains tense.

While the rest of the world is still trying to come to grips with the fact that the South Kurdistanis are preparing to defend themselves against any meltdown in Iraq, this news from East Kurdistan is ignored. I wonder why? You would think that since there has been so much chatter in recent days about possible US plans for a military strike against Iran, the propaganda machine would snatch this up right away.

On the other hand, maybe it's a good thing that nobody notices, because, as bad as things are for East Kurdistan, the good news is that the people are engaged in resistance against the regime and they are getting some material support from South Kurdistan. However, the biggest commodity exported across the border is hope.

The recent round of protests in East Kurdistan began in the summer, with the regime's murder of a young Kurd activist. A decent report on the general situation in East Kurdistan, from National Public Radio can be heard here. Another interesting backgrounder from August, 2005, courtesy of Caucaz, provides more detail on the necessity of smuggling to keep the Eastern Kurds alive.

Many people will say that if only the Kurds would have settled down and accepted the status quo which was imposed on the region by outsiders after the end of WW1, everything would be fine. The enemies of Kurdistan love to speak about their brotherhood with Kurds, but what definition of brotherhood consists of the repression of one brother by the other? If any of these brotherly regimes had ever allowed Kurds equal rights in everything, in other words, if the status quo had ever been just, there would have been no need for Kurdish resistance.

The Eastern Kurds suffered three major blows to their political aspirations in the 20th century. The first was the fall of the Mahabad Republic and the execution of Qazi Mohammed. The second was the murder of Dr. Ebdulrehman Qasimlo in Vienna by the Regime of the Mullahs, and the third was the murder of Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi in Berlin by Ahmedinejad, the current president of the same regime. Collectively, these three murders, over time, slammed the brakes on the Kurdish movement in the East and almost ended it. Almost, until something unimaginable happened--the fall of Saddam.

It appears that the Eastern Kurds are reviving politically, thanks to the events across the border in South Kurdistan. PJAK and PDKI were active during the summer protests and I have seen recent news reports indicating that KOMALA may also be returning to battle. With all this resurgence of political (and armed) activity in Eastern Kurdistan, why do certain elements in the American administration prefer to give their attention to Mujahedin-e Khalq, an organization that targeted and murdered American citizens in Iran in the 1970s and supported the US Embassy takeover in Teheran in 1979? If the US is looking for an opportunity to strike Iran, they could find a certain ally in East Kurdistan.

Meanwhile, back in the Urmîye prison, Kurdish prisoners continue the resistance. They don't have much to lose and it's always better to die fighting. At least, that way, you can make sure to take as many of the enemy with you as you can.

I, for one, am hoping they do.

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