Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment


Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using





A plea to President Fuad Masum: Stand up for the Kurdish language

By Arif Qurbany 18/8/2018
Iraqi President Fuad Masum. Photo: Jacques Demarthon / AFP
Iraqi President Fuad Masum. Photo: Jacques Demarthon / AFP
In a letter from the Iraqi Oil Ministry to the Kirkuk-based North Gas Company two weeks ago, the firm was ordered to ban the use of Kurdish phrases in its official correspondence – to protect the Arabic language and to comply with rules and regulations. The letter sparked outrage. 

Kurdish representatives in Baghdad have come under fire since the letter was exposed by media outlets. They are accused of failing to protect even the most basic of Kurdish rights enshrined in the Iraqi constitution, which states the Kurdish tongue, alongside Arabic, is an officially recognized state language. 

The author of the letter, Oil Ministry General Inspector Hamdan Ojail Rashid, has allegedly apologized, according to one Iraqi MP, claiming he never intended to ban the Kurdish language. However, Rashid has not offered any clarification or annulled the earlier decree. 

Rashid is not really the problem here. The essence of the problem is the growing mentality in state institutions in Baghdad and the silence of Kurds in the face of such outright constitutional violations. 

The problem, it seems, is widespread. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has allegedly written to all of its ambassadors warning them never to include Kurdish phrases in official correspondence. The Iraqi Interior Ministry in Baghdad has reportedly done the same. 

It is clearly detailed in the Iraqi constitution that Kurdish and Arabic are the official spoken languages across the state. Such an order begs a serious threat – a physical cleansing of the Kurdish nation. 

In his notorious Obersalzberg Speech of August 22, 1939, when Adolf Hitler told his officers he had given the order “to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language,” he asked “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

Here, Hitler used the world’s failure to challenge the Ottoman murder of Armenians to justify his slaughter of Poles. Where could the failure to challenge the cultural cleansing of the Kurdish language lead? 

Whose fault is it if Kurds’ most basic constitutional rights can be so easily trampled? I am blaming the guardian of the Iraqi constitution – President Fuad Masum. 

Dear President, you carry responsibility for the constitution – yet in your presence, violations are being made to its articles. In addition, you are the representative of a nation, and now the cleansing of your nation is taking place. You have the power to stop this. 

Dear President, do not forget the path that brought you here. You were a leading man of your nation’s struggle. Among the Iraqi Kurds, the number of people at your level would not exceed the fingers on one hand. In the past, you could have lived in the most fascinating countries and studied at the most prestigious universities. But you rejected such luxuries and chose to live among the rough rocks and the tough life of the mountains. 

Dear President, do not forget your name as a Kurd will remain in the pages of history forever. You were the first ever Kurdistan Region prime minister, the first ever Kurdish speaker of the Iraqi parliament, and the first Iraqi president after President Jalal Talabani. There are a few days left for you in this post as president and a few years in life. Do not let yourself die small.

Dear President, do you remember when Mam Jalal, in front of the leaders of 190 countries at the UN, gave a speech in Kurdish? In this way, he told the world that Iraq is a country of Kurds and Arabs as partners. He defended the Kurdish constitutional rights in this way. The Kurdish language is a sign of our existence. Sometimes, simply speaking it is enough to defend Kurdishness.

Dear President, do you know that in 1991, when the Kurdistan uprising reached Kirkuk, Saddam Hussein met with tribal leaders and figures of Mosul with Mir Tahsin Saed Beg – spiritual leader of the Yezidis – in attendance?

Saddam was trying to boost the morale of the failing army and embolden Arabs against Kurds, telling them “what is happening is an insurgency and at the hand of Arabs’ enemies. We, all who sit here as Arabs, must shoulder the responsibility and protect the dignity of Arabs. We must reclaim areas the Kurdish rebels have taken from us.” 

Saddam turned to Mir Tahsin Beg, telling him the Yezidis are Arabs too. Tahsim Beg replied in Kurdish: “I do not know Arabic and I am calling for a translator to translate my speech to Arabic.” 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.


Gunrash | 19/8/2018
A plea to president Masoum: have your diapers changed on time. Go back to sleep.
Delawer | 19/8/2018
Excellent work but the place for such articles is the Kurdish media and sosial media. The utter failure of these low headed corrupt defeated officials should be repeated loudly again and again until even they cannot ignore the public outcry. If this was Christan rights or Turkmen rights they would be barking lowdly on their behalf in Baghdad but not for their own.
Observer | 19/8/2018
Deception at its best I am kurdish and a patriot but I don’t care about kurdish language as I do for English. By concentrating on Kurdish the Kurds themselves outmaneuver themselves into Norman’s land. And that’s exactly what the filthy enemies pray for so they can keep their dirty games running because Kurds are so eager to speak kurdish than English.
Truth | 19/8/2018
Fuad Masum has never struggled a day in his life! He lived a good life abroad when peshmerga were dying and fighting for freedom. And when he did return to the mountains to join the fight he shot himself just so he wouldnt have to be on the frontlines.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Gokce Kavak | 12/19/2018 6:21:33 AM
Tahir Elci is a Turkish Kurdish person working for Turkish Government. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) and The Nationalist Movement Party...
Gokce Kavak | 12/19/2018 6:40:48 AM
Turkey 🇹🇷 totally condemns Austria 🇦🇹 and Israel 🇮🇱’s works and long-term arrangements and also strictly condemns the European Union 🇪🇺 for...
Briton appealing Turkey terror sentence flees to UK: report
| 15/12/2018 | (6)
Josh | 12/19/2018 5:11:02 AM
I wish Iraqis will understand that Iranians has killed more Iraqis since the days of I Islamic rule and stop their blind loyalty to Iran and its...
Iraq, Iran exchange bodies of war dead
| 15 hours ago | (1)
alfred | 12/17/2018 3:49:20 PM
kurds should not be stupid to have wrong pride. and for sure - all fractions ,parties of the kurds from all regions must stand together for their...
Truly Kurd | 12/19/2018 2:33:43 AM
One PKK supporters saying to Peshmerge go to librate Kirkuk first. Well then someone should tell PKK/YPG go to librate Afrin." That is called...
UPDATE: SDF rejects Peshmerga offer to bolster Syria-Turkey border: monitor
| 16/12/2018 | (14)
PCDurum | 12/18/2018 11:25:36 PM
It shames me and you for not trying to bring your own people together! Erdogan is not your friend anymore than Saddam was your friend!The Kurdish are...
PCDurum | 12/18/2018 11:32:52 PM
It does not surprise me pre boomer MB! Trump only ever thinks about himself as so many!Trump is a brutal fool in charge of a Super power which is...
Turkey offensive in Syria ‘a bad idea’ warns US rep Jeffrey
| yesterday at 11:46 | (12)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Kurdish pop star Helly Luv releases new single 1 hour ago |

Kurdish pop star Helly Luv releases new single

The single ‘Guns and Roses’ is being released more
 In 2019, Mideast economic troubles loom as wars wind down 2 hours ago |

In 2019, Mideast economic troubles loom as wars wind down

A "rising sense of hopelessness among broad more
ISIS has executed 700 prisoners since Hajin ouster: war monitor 3 hours ago |

ISIS has executed 700 prisoners since Hajin ouster: war monitor

The SDF announced Friday it had ousted ISIS from more
0.563 seconds