The monument was unveiled in a ceremony at Beirut Yard in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. Photo: Rudaw
BAGHDAD, Iraq – A monument honoring Feyli Kurds massacred and disappeared in Iraq was unveiled on Friday in Baghdad after ten years of concerted efforts to gain approval for the monument from the central government.
The monument was unveiled in a ceremony at Beirut Yard in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The authorities did not, however, allow the public to raise the Kurdish flag next to the Iraqi flag or sing the Kurdish national anthem during the ceremony.
Feyli activists told Rudaw’s reporter in Baghdad that they were under pressure not to nationalize the event.
Shiite groups within the Iraqi National Coalition, particularly ones backed by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, prohibited any association with the Kurdistan Region or the Kurdish nation at the ceremony.
No Kurdish MPs or authorities were invited to attend the ceremony.
Feylis are recognized as an Iraqi minority, ethnically belonging to the Kurdish nation. The monument unveiled Friday was built in 2006 in honor of the Feyli Kurds who were massacred, relocated, and disappeared during Saddam Hussein’s regime. According to figures, at least 22,000 Feyli Kurds went missing during his dictatorship.
Feylis continued to experience threats to their survival as a minority group even after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.
“There is a lot of indirect pressure. Feyli Kurds are under political campaigns,” Aras Jawad, a Feyli activist, told Rudaw.
Kurdish MPs and authorities initiated a campaign to raise money for the project, but did not provide any other support, the activist noted.
“We have always been an inseparable part of the Kurdish nation. We call on the Kurdistan Region to defend our rights and see us as ambassadors of the Kurdish nation in Baghdad,” Jawad said, calling for a monument to be built in Erbil.
“Statues have been erected in Kut and Sulaimani in honor of the Feyli Kurds. But we do not have any such symbols in the capital of the Kurdistan Region.”