By Mufid Abdulla: Kurdistan Tribune (14.10.2012) – Jalal Talabani, the PUK leader and Iraqi president, attended an event in Erbil commemorating the 40-day anniversary of the death of the veteran Kurdish revolutionary Mr Shmzadin Mufti.In a speech Talabani told the gathering: “I have to say, for the history books, that the KDP did not advocate the revolution of 1961 but eventually it had no choice but to participate because of the bombardment of the Barzan area”.
Talabani was seeking to score points with today’s KDP without giving the full historic details of how and why. The eminent historian David McDowall has this to say about the days of the 1961 uprising:
“On 24th September 1961 Qasim ordered the closure of the KDP, thus driving its membership into rebellion also.Throughout the summer a debate had raged within the party between a minority led by Talabani who urged that the KDP should take over the leadership of the rebellion and use it for nationalist purposes and the majority led by Ibrahim Ahmed who believed the aims of the KDP were wholly contrary to those of the rebels. As a party the KDP had condemned the rebellious aghas because their motive was to protect their class interests while the KDP was committed to social and economic progress”*
From the above we can see that two historical mistakes were made.
The first was made by the Qasim government in wrongly accusing the KDP leadership of backing the Agha’s revolt and then bombarding the Barzan region (the stronghold of the Barzani family).
The second mistake was made by the Talabani minority inside the politburo in supporting the Agha’s rebellion and considering it as a flame for the Kurdish nationalist movement. They failed to understand that the rebellion had nothing to do with the historic struggle of the Kurds for self-determination. Instead it was the desperate action of feudalists fighting the central government, not because they loved the Kurdish cause because they wanted to keep their lands.
*McDowall D. (2004), ‘A Modern History of the Kurds’, IB Tauris & Co Ltd, London, page 310