New Zakho Sta­dium Stirs Pa­tri­o­tism

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

peo­ple’s trou­bled minds off of the war.” Hiresh noted that the con­flict and eco­nomic hard­ship has de­layed the open­ing of the sta­dium since they broke ground three years ago.

The sta­dium, filled well past its 20,000 seat ca­pac­ity, was over­flow­ing with flag-wav­ing na­tion­al­ism, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony when a Kur­dish flag the size of the field was un­veiled to a scream­ing crowd, fol­lowed by an elab­o­rate fire­works show.

“If this can bring hap­pi­ness to peo­ple who are trou­bled by the sit­u­a­tion, that’s great,” Hiresh con­tin­ued. “But what we want more than just a sta­dium, which may en­ter­tain us for a while, is a free coun­try."

The sen­ti­ment that the open­ing of this sta­dium stands for some­thing greater than just soc­cer was shared by many. This was par­tic­u­larly ev­i­dent through the pres­ence of Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani, who helped with the cer­e­mo­nial first kick. A sense of unity was also felt in the gath­er­ing of play­ers from other Kur­dish clubs to join Zakho in their friendly match against the Iraq na­tional team.

“This sta­dium is the great­est sta­dium in Iraq and one of the best things the gov­ern­ment has done for Zakho,” said Baxt­yar Hus­sein, who works in a nearby neigh­bor­hood. “The open­ing means so much to Kur­dis­tan be­cause it shows our power that we can fight and build our coun­try in a war sit­u­a­tion. It shows that we keep stand­ing and never fall."

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