BARZAN, Kurdistan Region – Rashd Hamo, a veteran Peshmerga fighter and one of the original followers of Mullah Mustafa Barzani recounts journey to Iran and then on to Russia after fighting the Iraqi regime for Kurds’ freedom.
Mustafa Barzani was born on March 14, 1903.
Hamo, age 102, talks of the 30 original fighters who walked alongside Mustafa Barzani from Willatzhuria village in Barzan in what is now the Kurdistan Region, through southeastern Turkey, on to Iran and eventually Russia, a trek that took 30 days by foot.
“Mullah Mustafa was a serious man,” Hamo said affectionately. “He would hold his clothes and say 'Do not worry. I will sell this for you.' When we fell ill and were hospitalized, he would visit us three times a day.”
Mustafa Barzani was the father of the former Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani.
His legacy is considered “immortal” by Kurds due to his contribution to the Kurdish struggle during his lifetime.
He is also founded the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), currently the largest party in the Kurdistan Region.
Barzani led the Kurdish revolutionary struggle in the middle of twentieth century up to the 1970s.
After developing lung cancer he traveled to the United States for treatment. He died at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., on March 1, 1979. He was buried in Oshnavieh, Iran.
At the request of Kurds in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, his remains were brought back to the Region in 1993. He is now buried in his hometown of Barzan, alongside his son Idris Barzani, the father of KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
People from different parts of Kurdistan and the world visit Barzani’s tomb on March 1 and March 14 to commemorate his death and his birth.
The Kurdistan Regional Government announced on Wednesday that Thursday and Friday will be considered national holidays and all government institutions will be closed.