Democ­racy Guar­an­teed by Punch

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - EX­EC­U­TIVE ED­I­TOR

It’s im­por­tant for Kur­dis­tan that TVs and news­pa­pers pro­vide peo­ple with open and trans­par­ent cov­er­age of po­lit­i­cal events in the Re­gion. On 30 July, the Me­dia re­ported on a quar­rel be­tween Gor­ran and Kur­dis­tani MPs which de­te­ri­o­rated into a brawl; the story was all over the news that day. There are some peo­ple who be­lieve that this presents Kur­dis­tan in a demo­cratic, par­lia­men­tar­ian light; oth­ers, how­ever, con­sider the events an af­front to the rule of law and the work of par­lia­ment.

I don’t think the lat­ter group are right. They’re just re­act­ing to some­thing that has hap­pened. The im­por­tant ques­tion here is this: who gains from these events, and who loses? It is note­wor­thy that the process was car­ried out in a re­spect­ful way: the MP who spoke his mind on tele­vi­sion, declar­ing that he was “de­fend­ing the peo­ple’s rights with punches” seems to have gath­ered all his thoughts, ra­tio­nales and agen­das into that one punch. His op­po­nents were not spec­ta­tors, of course: in re­sponse to his phys­i­cal punch, they de­liv­ered a pow­er­ful po­lit­i­cal punch against all the op­po­si­tion par­ties. The du­ra­tions of the pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary terms were ex­tended, the for­mer by two months, the lat­ter by two years.

So it’s a game which the op­po­si­tion man­ages with anger, rage and punches, while the Kur­dis­tani List calmly pro­ceeds by con­sti­tu­tional means. In place of punches, they re­spond to the op­po­si­tion by steer­ing the pro­cesses and pro­grammes in the best way pos­si­ble for the Re­gion.

In my opin­ion, this sort of thing is also com­mon in Europe. They are demo­cratic, and we want to be demo­cratic. But that is where the re­sem­blance be­tween our democ­ra­cies stops. We should not for­get that Kur­dis­tan still has quite a long way to go to catch up with Europe and Amer­ica and their his­tor­i­cal, cul­tural and demo­cratic stan­dards. Luck­ily, the events of 30 July in the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment were quickly over without po­lice in­ter­ven­tions. And that surely makes us dif­fer­ent from other coun­tries in the Mid­dle East. I’m not con­cerned with the out­come of these events; what in­ter­ests me is the clas­sic speech of the MP who dares to say out loud that “I can win you your rights with a punch”, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously de­scrib­ing the other po­lit­i­cal par­ties as non-demo­cratic and rad­i­cal. That’s the funny thing about our democ­racy: ed­u­cated peo­ple and politi­cians might con­sider it nor­mal, but or­di­nary, il­lit­er­ate peo­ple can’t un­der­stand what’s hap­pen­ing. Why? In Europe, peo­ple start learn­ing at a very early age how to face up to their mis­takes and vi­o­la­tions by say­ing sorry when there is misunderstanding, or when they mis­use their rights against oth­ers. How dif­fi­cult this is, though, for some politi­cians and for the mixed peo­ples of Kur­dis­tan! What is se­ri­ous is that an MP rep­re­sent­ing one of these eth­nic groups laid claim to the democ­racy of punches! The sim­ple folk do not ask how the com­mu­nity which the PDK and PUK are al­leged to have dev­as­tated or com­mit­ted vi­o­lence against can be im­proved by a punch­ing phi­los­o­phy. In place of a healthy, peace­ful so­ci­ety, such an ap­proach can only build a so­ci­ety of harsh re­ac­tions and punches.

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