Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (L) and members of his cabinet listen to the Iraqi national anthem. Photo: AFP
SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s national anthem has been the latest topic of debate in the Iraqi parliament, with little agreement among the Kurds over how they should be recognized in the new song.
Muayad Tayyib, an MP from the powerful Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) that is part of a Kurdish coalition in national parliament, told Rudaw that they want three Kurdish verses inserted in the national anthem, saying it is important for the Kurds to feel represented in the national anthem.
Muhammad Mahdi al-Jawahri, a famous Iraqi poet, mentions Kurdistan in one of his poems and says, “Salute to your high mountains and wide plains, to your generous people and rich history.” This is one of the verses that the Kurdish lawmakers want to insert into the national anthem.
Kurdish poets contacted by Tayyib and other lawmakers have suggested two verses from the poems of the famous Kurdish poet, Fayak Bekas, which read: “How sweet and fulfilling is the water of our homeland.”
“The verses of Bekas are more appropriate and suitable,” said Muhammad Kiyani, MP of the Change Movement (Gorran).
Under Iraq’s King Faisal, the national anthem was a simple melody without words. Since then, the flag and anthem have changed every time a new regime has taken over.
The question for the Kurdish lawmakers is this: Can they still stress on their right of independence while the national anthem implies that Kurdistan is part of Iraq? What happens when the Kurdish region declares independence?
“We are dealing with the situation in a realistic way and the reality is that we are now part of Iraq,” said Kiyani.
Sardar Abullah, MP of Gorran, suggested that the Iraqi national anthem should be only a tune, without lyrics.
Other Iraqi blocs like the Turkmens and the Christians have also demanded representation in the national anthem, with two verses in their own languages.
If these demands are approved, the Iraqi national anthem will become the hardest anthem in the world to memorize.