Kurdish people rally at a public place in Erbil in support of the independence referendum vote set to be held on September 25. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - As the independence referendum date nears, Kurds and supporters of the historical vote continue to raise their voice to support the process by holding rallies in and outside of the Kurdistan Region, celebrating Kurdish traditional dancing and waving the Kurdish flag while dressed in Kurdish clothes.
A number of independence referendum support rallies were held on Sunday including major world cities such as Washington, London, New York and Beirut.
The Kurdish diaspora held a rally in London with some of the attendants holding banners reading an “independent Kurdistan creates stability” in the region.
A Kurdish man described the decision to hold the independence referendum by the Kurdish leadership on September 25 as “the dream of our ancestors."
A number of Kurdish children were seen in New York City holding banners that read: “Kurdistan is not Iraq.”
Many others expressed their happiness for the decision to hold the referendum on September 25 with some performing Kurdish traditional cheers of joy “Hal hala” and others performing Kurdish dancing; shaiy.
Kurdish people, on the same day, staged a rally for an independent Kurdistan for the first time in an Arab country.
There are many Kurds living in Lebanon, joined by others who have come to Lebanon from Syria following the ongoing civil war in their country.
“We as Kurdish refugees in Lebanon, altogether, with one voice are saying ‘Yes’ for the referendum for the Kurdistan Region,” shouted a Kurdish man with the voice of joy.
An elderly Kurdish man from Afrin city in Rojava, or northern Syria was among the crowd saying he was there to support the move.
“As a Kurd from Afrin living in Lebanon, I am here to support the Kurdistan Region,” he said.
A Kurdish couple present at the rally urged Kurds everywhere to support their Kurdish brothers and sisters in the Kurdistan Region in their bid for independence.
“As a Kurd living in Lebanon, I am voicing support for the Iraqi Kurdistan and all saying ‘Yes’ for referendum,” he said, urging further support by Kurds for independence referendum.
A Kurdish woman dressed in colorful Kurdish clothing with a Kurdistan flag wrapped around her neck said they “are here for their voice to be heard across the world” in supporting the Kurdistan independence referendum.
Back to the Kurdistan Region and inside the disputed city of Khanqeen an independence support rally was also held.
The city is part of the disputed territories claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil, but it is largely under the control of the Kurdistan Region.
“My message is: I am calling on the Kurdish nation to mark September 25 the largest carnival and the largest Kurdish festival for independence,” urged a Kurdish Peshmerga soldier in his military uniform while carrying a rifle. “As a Peshmerga, we are ready to vote for independence with our heart’s bloods as we have been oppressed for hundreds of years under rule of other nations.”
“Such an opportunity has never emerged for Kurds, as the one today. We are therefore calling on all of you to vote happily dressed in Kurdish clothing,” he said.
“The people of Khanaqeen are all ready to go to the ballot boxes on September 25 and vote ‘Yes’,” said a Kurdish woman attending the rally. “Because voting ‘Yes’ is equal to voting for the blood of the Peshmerga.”
She added voting for independence will somewhat end the hundreds of years long displacement and plight of the Kurds who suffered at the hands of their oppressors.
“We promise by our soul to vote for the independence of Kurdistan,” said another proud Kurdish woman.
The attendants of the rally were seen displaying a large Kurdish flag as they marched in the street.