Demonstrators at the Berlin rally. Photo: Enno Lenze.
MAINZ, Germany – Hundreds rallied in the German capital Berlin this weekend to support independence for Iraqi Kurdistan, the crowd waving the national flag of Kurdistan and shouting slogans in Kurdish and German.
Kurds, Germans and people of other nationalities gathered on Saturday outside the Federal Foreign Office building in Berlin, calling for the German government to support an independent Kurdish state.
“For prosperity and for peace we need Kurdish independence in the Middle East,” the demonstrators chanted: “Long live Kurdistan.“
Demonstrator Arya Alan who has roots in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), said it is high time the Kurds had their own country.
“It is time to regain our sovereignty and independence,” she said. ”We can’t always be ruled by Arabs, Turks and Persians. We want our own laws, our own language and our own politicians who rule over our own land.” she said.
The rally was organized by the Kurdish organization KOMCIWAN and supported by several other Kurdish organizations, like the Kurdish Community in Germany (KGD), the Kurdish Youth in Germany (KJD), Nishtiman, the Association of Kurdish Females in Germany (KOMJIN) and the Association of Kurdish Communities in Germany (KOMKAR).
Officials of KOMCIWAN said they wanted to make clear that the world’s estimated 40 million Kurds – the world’s largest stateless nation – have the right to self-determination in their own country.
Amongst the hundreds of Kurds were also supporters of other nationalities. One of them, Ryan Brooks from the United States, said the Kurdish cause was worth supporting.
“I am here to support the Kurdish cause. During the fight in Iraq the safest place in that country was Kurdistan. The people were so generous and they are true friends of the United States. I deeply support a Kurdish independence,” Brooks said.
After a while the demonstrators began a march towards the Brandenburg Gate, while the crowd broke out in chants and into singing Ey Reqib, the Kurdish national anthem.
Police officers walked alongside, helping people who had questions about the rally and making sure things stayed orderly and peaceful.
Julia Muller, a political science student who was there with a Kurdish friend, said she wholeheartedly hoped that Kurds would win their own state: “Unfortunately I never had the chance to attend such a Kurdish rally. Whenever I had attended before it was always more of a party and ideological rally than one for the independence of Kurdistan. But fortunately I could make it on this beautiful day. I really hope the Kurds get their independence soon!”
Her friend Rojin, who has roots in Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan, said: “I am so glad that there are so many Kurdistan flags! I wish the same flag would fly in western Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan), in Afrin, too! But I am confident. One day our beautiful flag will fly all over Kurdistan.”
Prominent Kurdish singer Saam Moosa, who also attended the rally and sang for the crowd, posted on Facebook: “It is a great honor for me to attend this event!”
Germany, which supports the Kurdistan Region with weaponry, training and logistics in its war against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), hosts about 800,000 Kurds, the largest Kurdish diaspora.
With the Kurds playing an important front-line role in the wars against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, international support for Kurdish independence has been growing.