The much-anticipated elections in the Northern region of Iraq that began just this past Saturday have already proven to be a masquerade of the Kurdish regime, and a marketplace of provincial seats.
Itâ€™s been a little over a year since the dubious scare tactics were used last April duringÂ the Akitu Festival of the Assyrian New Year when â€œat least four staff members of the group called the Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Council (â€œACSCâ€), led by Mr. Sargis Aghajan, were fired due to their presence at the Akitu celebrations in Nohadra (Dohuk). They were identified as Michael Yalda Esho, Robena Youkhana, Rivan Nasi Gewargis, Sargon Chaba. Mr. Chaba submitted his own resignation when the members of the ACSC were instructed not to participate in the Akitu Parade.â€
Furthermore, â€œthe Kurdish propaganda television program, Ishtar TV, also in operation under Mr. Sarkis Aghajan, was instructed not to carry any of the Kha B’Neesan parades organized by Assyrian groups working independent of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (â€œKDPâ€) of Massoud Barazani and Sarkis Aghajan.â€
Since then, everyone went about their own business as the preparations to campaign for this election began. But once again, the same devices have been remanufactured and are being utilized in this election in the past few days.
Not long prior to the onset of the elections, the Kurdistan Parliament made vague promises of autonomy, or self-governance, to the Assyrians domiciling in the Northern region, which is prohibited by any article within the Iraqi National Constitution.
Following these empty promises, the election banners belonging to the group Alrafedaen, representing the Assyrian Democratic Movement, were torn by members of ACSC who were underhanded bribe money.
Forgery and coercion were at the doorsteps of newly established refugees who had recently taken up shelter in the north after fleeing their homes in Baghdad, Basra, Kirkuk, and Mosul, following the church bombings, where they were registered voters.
After a long haul of facing exile, extinction, and now trenches, an awkward resemblance to concentration camps, the Iraqi minorities, namely the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syricacs (â€œChaldoAssyrianSyriacsâ€) are exhausted. Their one flickering light of hope remains to be the Assyrian Democratic Movement (â€œADM, ZOWAAâ€). Yet, at the wake of the elections, and in spite of the ongoing credibility that ADM has earned since its foundation, voters have been derailed as the actual polls fail to give testimony to the ever-present popularity of ZOWAA.
With a population of slightly under 3% of the aforementioned minorities in Iraq, a reliable source has stated that only 65% showed up to vote in both, Ankawa and Erbil, and 75% elsewhere, with a deviation of 10%. On the flipside, in rural villages where no Assyrians have ever taken up residence, 200 people are said to have voted in favor of ACSC.
Without any reservations, the Assyrian Democratic Movement has asserted its charisma and given vigorous testimony to serving its people, in the Northern region, and elsewhere in Iraq where its presence has been essential.
In the meantime, Iraq, in all its provinces and regions must give restitution to its minorities, by guaranteeing their safe return to their homes and communities, while allowing them to exercise their Iraqi national and human rights, mainly speaking of life, liberty, and justice.
~ Helen Talia, Chicago
Source: Zinda Magazine