ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Following the establishment of a date for Kurdistan Region independence referendum on Wednesday, people around the world expressed support to the Kurdish cause on their social media accounts.
Kurds are believed to be the largest stateless nation in the world, estimated to be over 40 million, mostly settled in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. The creation of a Kurdish state has long been a dream for almost all Kurds around the world.
Following years of calling for a Kurdish referendum, in a meeting on Wednesday chaired by the Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani, political parties in Kurdistan elected to hold an independence referendum on Sep. 25, 2017.
“It is a significant achievement for all the political parties that participated in the meeting to be part of a historic decision. The people of Kurdistan, through a referendum, will make their voice heard in the world,” President Barzani said in a letter.
Barzani hoped that the decision to hold the independence referendum would inspire unity, stating that “people desire peaceful means, to achieve [independence] without violence... We want to have the best relations and understanding in this regard with Baghdad, neighboring countries, and regional countries [on the independence referendum]."
Following the decision, Kurds worldwide started to express their support for the move via their social media accounts, posting the Kurdistan flag or putting “Yes, for Independent Kurdistan!” overlays on their profile pictures.
“It is time for the international community to hear the Kurdish voice and respect their rights and decision,” a Kurdish man posted on his Facebook account in Kurdish.
“We [Kurds] have been continuously oppressed, and our rights have been taken from us throughout history. It is time to tell the world that 40 million Kurds deserve a state of their own where they can be protected,” said a Kurdish woman.
On Thursday, a carnival was held in Duhok, where people gathered and raised the Kurdistan flag, expressing their support for the referendum on Kurdish independence.
There is a well-known Kurdish saying that Kurds have been repeating throughout history. “No friends but mountains,” highlighted the historical Kurdish struggle to attain rights.
However, following the attack of the Islamic State (IS) on the Kurdistan Region mid-2014, many countries began supporting the Kurdish Peshmerga forces against the jihadist group.
Since then, there has been a turning point for Kurds. Kurdish officials began to mention that Kurds have many other friends beside the mountains, but believe their real friends are the ones who would also support Kurdish rights and recognize an independent Kurdistan once its people votes for independence.
Editing by G.H. Renaud