WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – Rep. Ralph Abraham (R, Louisiana) helped introduce the renowned French intellectual, Bernard-Henri Levy, and his film, Peshmerga, to a Capitol Hill audience on Tuesday evening.
Abraham spoke with Kurdistan 24 before the event, explaining that the US needs to “get involved” in the dispute between Erbil and Baghdad and “support the Kurdistan people.”
The Kurds “are fighting alongside American troops,” he stated. They “shed blood with us, and we need to respect that,” adding, “we know who our friends are now.”
Abraham serves on the House Armed Services Committee and is co-chair of the Kurdish American Congressional Caucus. Before being elected to Congress, he was, interestingly enough, a medical doctor, and before that, a veterinarian.
Abraham visited the Kurdistan Region in August, and “was taken aback [by] the warm embrace” that I received, he told Kurdistan 24.
“I was also very surprised at the diversity of the population” and the “diversity of the culture,” the Congressman said.
Speaking a short while later to the audience gathered to watch Peshmerga, Abraham likened the tolerance in the Kurdistan Region that he had witnessed to that practiced in the US itself.
Abraham is of Lebanese ancestry, which may help explain, at least in part, his interest in this part of the world.
Somewhat unusually, he made his visit not as part of a Congressional delegation, but as a “private Congressman-citizen” and spent an entire week there.
It was a “memorable trip that I will certainly cherish for the rest of my life,” he told the audience.
While in Kurdistan, Abraham accompanied the Peshmerga to the front lines against the Islamic State (IS). “What I saw were young people [who] were led by great commanders that all had the heart of a lion.”
They were prepared to “risk limb and life at a moment’s notice, and as everyone here knows,” Abraham told the group at the US Capitol Visitor Center, “and often did.”
“They are fighting for a just and noble cause: democracy. Allowing people to do, what they want to do.”
The Congressman stressed that America needs partners in this part of the world. “The US cannot be everywhere at all times.” The Peshmerga of the Kurdistan Region represent such partners, who “fight side by side with American troops.”
Abraham had a message for Kurdistan: “I just want the Kurdistan people to know that a lot of us in the US do recognize their sacrifice, their service, and [their] daily battles.”
And, the Congressman vowed to continue to speak out on behalf of America’s Kurdish friends and allies.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany