KRG in Austria celebrates Kurdish history month
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has launched its fourth annual month-long campaign in Vienna for the duration of March, “which commemorates the events that marked the history of the Kurdish people.”
“This is an occasion to celebrate not only historical events and their importance, but also the culture that characterizes the Kurds,” KRG Representative in Austria Dr. Mustafa Ramazan told Kurdistan 24.
“The objective is to spread awareness about the Kurds, with particular reference to the history and traditions of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” Ramazan continued. “Kurdish History Month thus becomes a platform where all can contribute to communicating a positive image of Kurdistan to the world.”
There are several key dates in Kurdish history that fall in the month of March, including Halabja Day, which commemorates the former Iraqi regime’s chemical attack on the city of the same name in 1988, and the 1991 uprising in the town of Rania.
Most prominently, on March 21, Kurds also celebrate the Kurdish New Year known as Newroz on the spring equinox.
In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, as well as Iran, Syria, and Turkey, Kurds honor the ancient holiday in which large bonfires symbolize the victory of light over darkness and freedom over oppression.
Newroz is often cited in Kurdish songs and poetry and is a unifying holiday for Kurds that have been forcibly separated throughout history and remains an important communication of national resistance in the face of oppression and forced assimilation that Kurds continue to face.
On Wednesday, Britain’s first Kurdish parliament member and Minister for Business and Industry Nadhim Zahawi hosted the sixth annual reception in London to celebrate Newroz.
“We must do all we can do to support the struggle for peace and security for all the Kurdish people in the region and the world - to hope for a future better than [there was] in the past,” said one of the organizers present. “This is the true message of Newroz.”
However, in the Kurdistan Region itself, most public events, including Newroz celebrations, have been canceled due to the coronavirus threat.
Since the arrival of the first wave of Iraqi Kurdish refugees to Austria in 1976 fleeing Saddam’s oppression, a large and active Kurdish community has developed there, totaling over 60,000 Kurds according to a 1995 estimate by the Kurdish Institute in Paris.
The KRG office in Vienna itself was established in 2012 to organize delegations in Austria and the Kurdistan Region, bring the local Kurdish diaspora together and promote the general Kurdish cause. For this reason, Ramazan hopes that March’s events help to shed a positive light on the history of the Kurdish people.
“We are happy to have registered a significantly positive response, both from people in the Kurdistan Region as well as in Austria, the United Kingdom, and Germany,” he concluded.
“Kurdish History Month is about remembering our history and cherishing our rich culture. We learn from the past and look forward to shape a brighter future for all Kurdish people.”
Editing by John J. Catherine.