A conference marking the centenary of Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani’s martyrdom
Looking back at the history of the Kurds and their liberation movement, we see that the regional and international situation and political equation did not conspire to give it breathing space at one of the turning points in its long history; time to reconsider its struggle and to seek answers to many questions. Even if it had opted to do so, there were many unwanted circumstances that hindered it from doing so.
Over the past 22 years, the situation in Southern Kurdistan has been different. Over the last four years, too, the situation has made it possible for the Kurds to have their say at the national level. That is thanks to the initiative and presence of President Barzani, and the preparations made at the national conference. In this article, we suggest holding a conference to mark the centenary of Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani’s execution. We make this proposal for the following reasons:
1. Choosing the past century, and the day of Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani’s execution on December 14 1914, does not necessitate that we ignore the history prior to this date. The first World War began in that year, and it was after that war that the Kurdish struggle resumed along with the terrible international and regional circumstance that would continue to make life impossible for the Kurds until the end of the 20th century.
2. Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani is considered to have laid the foundations of tolerance and coexistence within the Kurdish movement and, later, within the Kurdistani community. He also laid the cornerstone for the coexistence of the religions and ethnicities that live in Kurdistan.
3. Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani used his elevated religious position to make the Kurdish community aware that religion should never be an obstacle to the national struggle. He strove to make Kurds sustain their characteristics in the same way as the Turks, Persians and Arabs.
4. He demanded the construction and prosperity of Kurdistan; he also demanded that the taxes which the state collected in Kurdistan should be used to develop Kurdistan, paving the way to local administration and rejecting centralization.
5. He demanded that the state employees and members in Kurdistan should be Kurds, not brought from outside Kurdistan.
6. He paid attention to the Kurdish language, demanding its use in the administrative departments in Kurdistan.
7. He showed an interest in the environment and the protection of nature in Kurdistan.
8. He paid attention to Kurdistan’s relations with the Great Powers, meeting the Russian consul in 1913.
9. He was executed by the Ottoman state as a result of those demands.
10. Traitorous individuals surrendered Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani to the Ottoman state, which executed him in Mosul, which was then governed by Suleiman Nazif, the Wali of Mosul and a Kurd.
Suggestions relating to the conference
1. The presence of politicians, intellectual and social personalities in Kurdistan along with writers, teachers and researchers.
2- Research conducted by experts and academics in various fields could be presented.
The first topic: the role of Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani in establishing principles of coexistence and social peace.
The second topic: the demands of Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani to the Ottoman State--autonomous Kurdish areas and an interest in the Kurdish language.
The third topic: The role of Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani in establishing relations with other countries.
The fourth topic: the role of Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani in establishing trust between the people and their leader. This point about the Sheikh was exploited by some people when he was arrested.
The fifth topic: making comparisons between the first quarter of the 20th 21st centuries: while Sheikh AbdulSalam Barzani was hanged by the Ottoman State in 1914, in 2013, President Masoud Barzani was invited to play a role in building peace between the Kurds and Turks. This shows the path set out by Abdul-Salam Barzani extended for over 100 years, with several successive regimes failing to stand in the way of the Kurdayati path.
3- All articles and subjects presented at the conference should be documented and collected into a volume detailing the proceedings.
4- If this suggestion is approved, efforts could be made to prepare topics and research for a conference held on December 14, 2014.
Dilshad Mustafa Wasani
Sheikh Abdul Salam Barzani 1908