Shin­gal and its Kurds’ suf­fer­ing

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Has­san Shin­gali

Shin­gal is lo­cated to the west of Mo­sul, on the Iraqi-Syr­ian bor­der to the west. The city's pop­u­la­tion con­sists of Yazidi Kurds, who com­prise more than 80%, with Mus­lims rep­re­sent­ing 15% and Chris­tian 5% of the pop­u­la­tion. Shin­gal is con­sider one of the world’s an­cient cities. The ma­jor­ity of its peo­ple, who are Kurds, has suf­fered from many geno­ci­dal at­tacks down the cen­turies by the Ot- toman au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing Hafez Pasha and Shah Ahmed's cam­paign in which more than 16 000 peo­ple were killed. In nine­teen sev­en­ties, the city suf­fered ter­ri­ble geno­ci­dal at­tacks by the Baath regime in which city peo­ple fled to the moun­tains and peo­ple were col­lected from Kur­dish vil­lages and placed in re­stricted vil­lages. Th­ese ‘vil­lages’, which more closely re­sem­bled con­cen­tra­tion camps, en­abled the au­thor­i­ties to con­trol the Kurds eas­ily as well as forc­ing a process of Ara­biza­tion on the Kurds, who also had to change the names of their vil­lages from Kur­dish to Ara­bic. The peo­ple of Shin­gal con­tin­ued to suf­fer op­pres­sion and in­jus­tice un­der the dic­ta­to­rial regime un­til 2003, when the fall of the regime in Bagh­dad filled them with hope of fi­nally be­ing freed from their op­pres- sors. Ac­cord­ing to Ar­ti­cle 140 of the Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion, Shin­gal is an area (like Khanaqeen and Kirkuk) which is dis­puted by two gov­ern­ments: the re­gional gov­ern­ment and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment. Its peo­ple want to join the re­gional gov­ern­ment in or­der to se­cure their rights and the sim­plest ser­vices. In terms of ser­vices and projects, ac­cord­ing to the sta­tis­tics, the pop­u­la­tion of Shin­gal ex­ceeds 700,000 peo­ple who are none­the­less de­prived of ser­vices and projects. Al­though Shin­gal does not fall un­der the ju­ris­dic­tion of the re­gional gov­ern­ment, it is still pro­vided with many projects and ser­vices like build­ing in­sti­tu­tions and paved roads in the re­gional bud­get. Ma­jid Esa a Shin­gali, a young res­i­dent, said 'We are fac­ing many prob­lems dur­ing win­ter, the kids face prob­lems get­ting to school be­cause of the bad con­di­tions of the streets. The schools are old and in need of ren­o­va­tion. We need more schools to be built be­cause of the in­creas­ing num­bers of stu­dents.’ Shin­gal will not re­ceive full ser­vices un­til the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Ar­ti­cle 140 of the Iraqi con­sti­tu­tion, ap­pend­ing the city to the re­gional gov­ern­ment--the dream of ev­ery Shin­gali cit­i­zen.

Dozens of Yezidi fol­low­ers cel­e­brates a re­li­gious cer­e­mony in Lal­ish Tem­ple, lo­cated in the prov­ince of Duhok.

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