THE FIRST FEMALE FIGHTER IN KURDISH RANKS WAS A CHRISTIAN & ASSYRIAN
Calls for commemorating statue of first Kurdish christian female fighter
30.10.2013 – Hemin Salih – BasNews (Erbil): Margaret George Shello was a Kurdish Assyrian female fighter who joined the Kurdish guerrillas in their fight against the Iraqi government in the 1960s.
Following BasNews’ interview with her sister last year, Kurdish authorities contacted the Iraqi ambassador to Greece, Burhan Jaff, and invited Margaret’s family to the Kurdistan Region. Margaret joined the ranks of Peshmarga at the age of 20 in 1960, and quickly asserted herself among her male comrades and was given a leading position in important battles such as the battle of Zawita Valley.
The circumstances behind her early death on the night of Jan. 26, 1969 while asleep in the village of Kala-Komereyh in Dohuk province are still unknown. 44 years after her death, Margaret’s family has come back from the US to the Kurdistan Region to open her murder case again. They believe that the Kurdish government hasn’t done enough to recognize the bravery of Margaret, and insist there should be a commemorating statue or a school in her name. Upon KRG invitation, Margaret’s family has come to Erbil, where they are expected to meet Kurdish President Massoud Barzani. The president has promised to support them and their quest for justice in any way possible.
“Only Barzani can handle Margaret’s case, if we have any concerns we will let him, and no one else, know,” said Margaret’s brother, Eduard George. “From a young age, my sister loved Kurdistan, freedom, and the literature and thoughts of the great leader and revolutionary Mullah Mustafa Barzani,” added Eduard. He also recalls the time his father joined the Kurdish fighters and Margaret begged him to take her with him. “My father and Barzani pleaded with her not to go, but she wanted to fight the dictator,” said Eduard. Margaret’s brother suspects that the murder was planned beforehand, as she was the only person targeted out of her father and brothers. They were all asleep in one room, and she was shot through a window.Every time Barzani visited their village in the north of Kurdistan, he stayed at their home, explained Eduard. His presence encouraged her to join the Kurdish revolution and to adore Barzani. To this day, Margaret remains famous among Assyrians and Kurds. Some Kurdish fighters still carry photographs of her. Margaret’s brother has revealed that at the time of her murder, there was a cease fire and talks between the Kurds and the Iraqi government were being held. Because of the tense atmosphere, they chose not to make the situation worst by shedding light on Margaret’s case.
“Although we’re 90% certain of who the murderer was, we don’t want to disturb the stability of the Kurdish region, which was Margaret’s dream. However, we don’t hide the fact that the former Iraqi regime had a hand in the killing,” said Eduard. Rose George, Margret’s sister, says they don’t want anyone else but Barzani to supervise the case. “The Kurdish president and his family tried very hard to find the murderers of Margret, but the situation at the time made it hard for them,” Rose added.