Democracy Guaranteed by Punch
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.