On 6 May 2010, Sardasht Osman, a 23-year-old Kurdish journalist, was found dead. He was kidnapped two days earlier by unknown gunmen in front of his college, the English Literature Department of Salahuddin
Here, Niqash republishes some of Saradasht’s journalism.
I love Barazani's daughter
[Posted on 13/12/2009 at kurdstnpost.com]
I love Massoud Barzani's daughter.
I want Massoud Barazani be my father-in-law. He is the man who appears in public occasionally, telling the people he is their president.
I want Nechirvan Barazani [Massoud Barazani’s nephew and former head of the KRG] to be my brother-in-law.
Once I become Barazani’s son-in-law, I will take his daughter to Paris and spend a one month on honeymoon with her. We will visit our uncle’s house in the USA, too.
I will be able to move house. I will live in the Sari Rash resort and will be guarded all night long by US police trained dogs and Israeli guards.
I will be able to look after my father. He served as a Peshmerga during the September Revolution, led by Mustafa Barazani. He even spent three nights, one after the other, in the mountains with Idria Barazani, the Mulla (Mulla Mustafa, Masoud's father)’s son. He left the KDP afterwards, so they don’t pay him his veterans’ pension. I will appoint my father Peshmerga Minister.
I’ll be able to sort things out for my brother, too. He completed college but now he is unemployed and is seeking political asylum outside of Iraq. He can take charge of my personal guards. As for my sister, who is too scared to leave the house alone to visit the marketplace, she will behind the wheel of the fanciest cars. She will drive cars similar to those currently driven by the Barazani tribe.
I will be able to take care of my mother, who suffers from heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. We cannot afford to send her outside of Iraq for treatment. I will bring Italian medical specialists to take care of her without having to move.
For my uncles, hospitality houses will be opened and my cousins will become university deans, army brigades' commanders and heads of associations and unions.
All my friends said, “Saro. Don’t do this. The Mulla’s family can end your life any time they want to,” but the poor of this region are being let down by Massoud Barazani who continues to claim he is our president. How many times has he visited one of the poor neighbourhoods in Erbil or Sulaimaniyah in the last 18 years?
My problem with Barazani is that he is totally driven by tribal allegiances. Nothing matters to him apart from looking after his family. With one click on the internet, I can find the names of the wives of all the presidents of all the countries on earth. The name of my future mother-in-law remains a mystery, however.
When I propose, who should I take with me? Maybe some old Mullas or Peshmerga veterans? I told myself I should just trust God and go for it. But a friend of mine, another journalist had a better idea.
“Search for the Kurds who collaborated with Saddam Hussein's regime. Search for the traitors who were involved in the Anfal massacres and take them with you. Massoud Barzani adores such people.”
Another friend said Nechirvan Barazani was the man to get close to.
“Go and whisper in his ear when he’s at a press conference. Tell him there is a personal issue you want to discuss with him,” he said. “If not, then Dashni [a popular Kurdish singer]. She can arrange everything. She spends a lot of time with the Barazani family.”
Article 2: The president is not a god neither is his daughter
[Published on Kurdstnpost.com 2/1/2010]
You are in a country where you are not allowed to ask how much the monthly salary of the president is. You are not allowed to ask why the president gave all government and military positions to his sons, grandsons and relatives. You are not allowed to ask how the sons of the president collected their wealth. When anyone poses such a questions, he is accused of threatening the national security and his life will be under threat from writers who sold their pens and also from the government’s guns.
When I wrote my article on marrying the president's daughter, it seems I went beyond the acceptable boundaries and violated public morals and the ethics of journalism! This is our democracy! We should not write anything that might touch on men who put the red scarf on their heads - the red colored ones used by Barazani's family and tribe to distinguish themselves from normal Kurdish citizens who wear the black ones.
If you do so, Barazani's family has the solution. I am not sure of the fact that Barazani's daughter is a nun? I am not sure if people have the right to fall in love with her or not? Is she something sacred? Is she one of our national symbols?
Is it dangerous to write a comedy on the president? We have all watched Charlie Chaplin's film ‘The Great Dictator’, a film produced with the aim of exposing human suffering through comedy.
After publishing my article, I received many threatening e-mails. I was asked to send my picture and my address as if I was someone who violated the traffic law and crossed the red traffic light. I sent them my picture. But why do they want it?
I am responding here to an article written by another male journalist, who pretended to be female. First, I would like to praise your courage.
Secondly, I do not want to be introduced as a supporter of Nechirvan Mustafa. I am just one young Iraqi man, one of this country's many young people.
I did vote for the Change List in the March elections. I supported the list and mobilised people to vote for it in all seminars and gatherings. I did this because I believe that if we change the devil and put his student in his place we will be winners.
To the person who asked for my picture and my real name and to others, I say this:
I would have loved to but you didn’t put your email address in the article. So, I can’t send you my photo.
From now on, I will be always in the alleys and streets of Erbil city. I will wait for the opportunity to rebel against the idols and power statues, with the same patience of Prophet Abraham.
(This article was the author's response to an article published in kurdistan.net . The author's name is Afeen and the article's title is: A letter to one who masters slanders and who posts his articles on kurdistanpost.com)
Article 3: My Death Knell Rings
In recent days, I was told for the first time that my life is going to end. As they said to me, they no longer give me their permission to breathe.
I am not afraid of death of torture. I'm here waiting for my appointment with my murderers. I am praying for the most tragic death possible, to match my tragic life.
I write this to let my murderers know that I'm not alone. I think the same was as all the young people in this country think. We are brave and death is a simple choice for us. Our only concern is that these days don't last and that we are able to make changes for the next generation. My duty is to those who follow me - my younger brothers - not to myself.
My only concern about these threats is that they may be seen through before I finish saying what I want to say. There is still so much.
Yesterday, I told my college dean that I was threatened with death and he just said it was a matter for the police. I can't believe it! Where else in the world could that happen? A student is threatened with death and his university chooses silence over action, and without even a hint of embarrassment.
I am part of the university, a student and thereby a responsibility of the dean. Still, I wasn't shocked. I know the reality and the universities are not comfortable, secure homes.
I followed the dean's advice and contacted the commander of Erbil police.
"The mobile phone from which you were threatened was outside of Iraq," he told me. "Erbil is very quiet. Nothing like that happens here."
I smiled and thought, "Yeh, maybe it's Nicolas Sarkozy who's phoning me and threatening me. Why not?"
I felt the threat most keenly when a colleague, under similar threats, left Erbil. Myself, I will never leave Erbil, my city. I will stay here and await my appointment with death and know that the knell of my death sounds not just for me but all Iraqi youth.
I won't register any more complaints or inform any more officials. I have decided. I will suffer alone.
What I'm writing here are the last words I will ever write, so I am trying to be as honest as Jesus. there are always people who don't want to listen when you start telling the truth and they get furious at the slightest whisper.
To say alive, though, we must tell the truth. I will continue to write until the last minute of my life. Let my friends put a fill stop at the end of the sentence and let them start a new one!