Labor Party member of the Scottish Parliament, Hanzala Malik.
By ARY RASOOL
GLASGOW, Scotland -- At a recent session in the Scottish Parliament to discuss the Kurdish genocide, Scottish Labor Party member Hanzala Malik appeared in traditional Kurdish clothes. In this interview with Rudaw he explains that the Scottish Parliament has given the Kurdish people the maximum support it can within its powers. Malik was elected as a member of the Scottish Parliament for the Glasgow region in May 2011, and is also Vice Convener of the Europe and External Relations Committee in the Scottish Parliament
Rudaw: How is the stance of the Scottish Parliament on the Kurdish Genocide?
Hanzala Malik: There have been two motions, two visits, to Parliament by the Scottish Kurdish community -- and of course the debate -- all of which will go a long way to remind people of the Anfal campaign and stimulate discussion as to how to take this forward. I have had a meeting with the minister of external relations on the issue and he will find out how to take this to the UN from the Scottish Parliament’s view. The Scottish government is a regional government like the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) and we do not directly have a foreign policy remit. However, the Scottish Parliament has given the Kurdish people the most support it can within its powers, and the Parliament welcomed the 2005 Hague decision that formally recognized the 1988 attacks as genocide. This Parliament joins the UK, Norwegian and Swedish parliaments in doing so.
Rudaw: What do you think is the reason that other countries do not recognize the Kurdish genocide?
The view of many governments is that it is not for a government to decide whether or not genocide has been committed, as this is a complex legal question.
Hanzala Malik: There are many reasons for not recognizing the genocide. The view of many governments is that it is not for a government to decide whether or not genocide has been committed, as this is a complex legal question. Where an international judicial body finds a crime to have been genocide, however, this will often play an important part in whether a government will recognize one as such. When a government does recognize that genocide has taken place, then this leads to many more questions about what actions could have been taken to prevent these acts.
Rudaw: Who was behind taking the issue of Kurdish genocide to the Scottish Parliament?
Hanzala Malik: I have been working with the Kurdish community in Glasgow as well as in Kurdistan for some years now, and with the help of Scottish Kurdish people we managed to put this event in place.
Rudaw: Did the Kurdistan Regional Government help at all?
Hanzala Malik: The KRG were not directly involved in this event. However, the meeting and debate came at the end of more than a year of work, raising awareness of the Anfal Campaign and the impact it has had on the Kurdish people, which was undertaken in conjunction with the Kurdistan Regional Government office in London and the Westminster All Party Parliamentary Group on Kurdistan. The KRG’s UK representatives have done excellent work with me on a number of issues, visits, and last but not least, meeting with the First Minister and Senior Ministers. I am looking forward to working much more closely with them in the next year.
Rudaw: Do you have Kurdish friends?
Hanzala Malik: I have many fine friends and am making many more as time goes on. I have been working to support the Kurdish people in Glasgow over the past 10 years, when many of them arrived seeking asylum and having lost everything. I am happy to say the community has become established and is prospering.
Even though others are reluctant to admit they failed to protect you in the past, I feel we must learn by our mistakes so we don’t make such errors ever again.
Rudaw: What is your message for the Kurdish people?
Hanzala Malik: Even though others are reluctant to admit they failed to protect you in the past, I feel we must learn by our mistakes so we don’t make such errors ever again. And the people of Kurdistan see that lessons have indeed been learned and people around the world do care.
I decided to wear the (Kurdish) clothes only on special occasions. This (parliamentary session on Kurdish genocide) is one of the most special occasions, and I wanted the whole world to know that I love the Kurdish people. They are my friends and I want to share their history with all, to know of the horrors they went through.
Rudaw: What did the other MPs think when they saw you with an outfit that belongs to another nation?
Hanzala Malik: Many were surprised and asked questions about it and I was honored to explain where the clothes came from and what they meant to me. MPS appreciated the gesture and agreed with me that we must help address this issue properly through the UN.