To the Honorable MEP & members of European Commission
It was brought to my attention through Kurdistan Forum (A civil society organization) that Mr. Masoud Barzani, the caretaking president of the Kurdistan Region Government (KRG) of Iraq is visiting the European Parliament soon.
It is very difficult, if not impossible, for ordinary citizen in Kurdistan to reach out to the president of the region; therefore I use this opportunity to send him a message through you.
I present below a brief description of the story of my family. I have been living in Belgium since ١٩٨٩ and participated in most of the activities that were organized against the crimes committed by the previous dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Following the toppling of the dictatorship, we were all optimistic that a bright future is waiting our generation and the next, in terms of protecting, fulfilling and promoting human rights and freedoms. Unfortunately the Kurdish self-rule in Iraqi Kurdistan was not able to respond to the needs and demands of the people.
When I was enlightened with the fact that the authorities in Kurdistan Region are violating the basic rights and freedoms of the people in the region, I decided to dedicate myself to the peaceful and civil protest and condemnation of those behaviors committed against rights and freedoms in Kurdistan. I am hopeful that this engagement in activism on my part would help to reform the political institutions in Kurdistan and will help transfer the truth about what is going in the region to institutions of the European Parliament and Belgium.
Right from the beginning of my activism and criticism of the acts of corruption and other violations of human rights by the authorities in the KRG and the members of the Barzani family in particular, I faced an angry response including dangerous threats. The authorities in the KRG adopted the same techniques used by the previous Saddam Hussein dictatorship. As the previous regime, the current government, particularly the security forces headed by Masror Barzani (the son of the current President) approached members of my family, particularly my sister (Chro Ismail Arif) and summoned her to the infamous security office (Assayaish). They put pressure on her to denounce me and my critical opinions and writings towards the Barzani family and pressured her to call me a traitor and someone who my family refuses to associate with me.
In addition to that, another high ranking leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) named (Muhammad Maroof), who is the deputy of (Dilshad Barzani), the brother of President Barzani and the head of the KDP representativein Germany, asked his followers to threaten me and try to silence my critical options and ideas.
Also, Masror Barzani (the son of President Barzani and the Head of the National Intelligence Agency), asked his followers to convince me to go back to Kurdistan and Mr. Barzani, told those people, that once I am back in Kurdistan he knows what he is going to do with me. It should be mentioned that Mr. Barzani is well known for his aggressive behavior.
I want to also mention that I provided the Gorran movement through a member of the parliament of that movement with all of the information indicated here. Also I provide this information to the Foreign Ministry of Belgium and the Federal Police of the country.
I would like to help to inform Masoud Barzani during his visit, that I will not stop my activism and civil engagement with issues important to the people of Kurdistan and I shall not also stop from visiting my country which I spent most of my life living there and my family and myself struggled and sacrificed a lot for its freedom and prosperity. Any time that my work allows, I would like to go and visit Kurdistan and I hold Masoud Barzani and his son Marour Barzani accountable to any harm that occurs to me and my family while I am there.
Masoud Barzani and all of the prominent people in KDP are aware of my family’s contribution to the liberation movement in Kurdistan and the sacrfices that my family offered to that cause. I see a big contradiction in what Masoud Barzani is publically announcing about his respect to Peshmarga and the family and children of Peshmarga (the Kurdish fighters), and what he and his exclusive respect and care for those who only served his family and party.
I would like to ask you to present him with the reality that when Masoud barzani is outside of Kurdistan he wears a veil of democracy but inside the country he behaves in a totalitarian way even towards previous members of his own party who are no longer agreeing to the patronage and the family based political rule in the country.
Peshrau Ismail Arif
A brief about myself and my family:
My name is Peshrau Ismail Arif. I am from a revolutionary family, the first martyors in my family are my father’s uncles who were executed during the rule of the Ataturk regime.
My father Ismail Arif was a peshmarga with the KDP for half a century and participated in the revolutions against the occupiers of Kurdistan through an organization called Hewa. He participated in ١٩٤٦ in the revolution that established the republic of Mahabad together with Mustafa Barzani (the father of the current president of Kurdistan region). From ١٩٤٧ to ١٩٥٨ he was a political prisoner in Iraq. He joined the KDP again after his release and during the sixties of the last century he was a member of the Political Bureau of the KDP and he was the secretary of the office of Mustafa Barzani. Till his death in ١٩٩٩, he was a strong advocate for the freedom of his people and participated actively in the struggle to achieve that.
Two of my brothers were Peshmargas and were wounded many times and their lives were put in danger. Since the age of ١٦ years old, I was an active participant of the secret organizations of the Kurdish movement, till I left Kurdistan to come to Europe. During those years of my activism I was exposed to numerous attempts on my life and I was under continuous threat from the Baath regime. During those years, and because of the fact that my father and brothers were in the opposition movement, we suffered from bad living conditions, malnutrition and bad housing. When I was ٣ years old, I suffered from temporary blindness due to malnutrition. In short, the entire duration of our lives was one of hiding, running away and struggle to survive.