recognition by a major Western power of genocide against Kurds
Canadian Parliament acknowledges chemical attack against Halabja and Anfal as crimes against humanity-recognizes Motion M-505.
Kurdish Globe: It was a great achievement when, on March 16, 2010, the Canadian Parliament unanimously supported Motion M-505 and acknowledged the actions of Saddam Hussein against the Kurdish people in Iraq, including the poison gas attack against Halabja on March 16, 1988, the destruction of Iraqi Kurdish villages, and systematic persecution of Kurds-they condemned these acts as crimes against humanity. How was this victory for Kurds on this important international stage accomplished?
Salah Bayaziddi: Of course this victory wasn't achieved overnight. But after months of tireless and determined effort by various Kurdish organizations, especially Toronto Kurdish House and Canadian MP Jim Karygiannis-who, when he visited Kurdistan last year, went to Halabja and promised to take this case to the Canadian Parliament and also financially help the Kurdish community--this victory was attained for the Kurdish cause in one of the most multicultural countries in the world.
Kurdish Globe: Could you elaborate on the importance of this unanimous support of Canadian Parliament for Motion M-505?
Salah Bayaziddi: First of all, Canada is among the first major Western industrialized powers, with a respectful and crucial space among the eight great powers, to acknowledge and condemn these acts as crime against humanity; second, all four major Canadian political parties in the federal Parliament, the Liberal Party, New Democratic Party, Progressive Conservative, and the Bloc Quebecois, unanimously supported this motion that was presented to the House of Commons by Canadian MP Karygiannis, and by doing this the Kurdish question has been internationalized by a country whose citizens are comprised of all ethnic groups on this planet.
Kurdish Globe: As you mentioned, it was not an easy task and it took a lot of energy and effort to achieve this. What were the difficulties and obstacles in getting the support for Motion M-505?
Salah Bayaziddi: I believe that there were several obstacles. First of all, the Kurdish community in Canada is relatively a new ethnic group, and its is spread all over this huge country--it is painful to acknowledge that they are politically and linguistically divided, therefore the Kurdish lobby is not strong enough and effective as other ethnic groups such as Armenians, Tamils, or even small ethnic groups who have their own nation-state. And it is also crucial to mention a major difficulty that happened in the Canadian Parliament. BQ, a separatist political party from the Québec province, was opposed to the motion that would acknowledge Halabja and Anfal as an act of genocide against the Kurds, and this resulted in reducing the strength of the presented motion. Finally, all four political parties, including BQ, supported Motion M-505 and agreed to acknowledge these acts as crimes against humanity.
Kurdish Globe: Based on your opinion, how do you explain the position of the BQ, a French nationalist party, to oppose the recognition of the chemical attacks against Halabja and Anfal as genocide of Kurds in Iraq?
Salah Bayaziddi: At a simple level, it seems that it is a great irony that a French separatist political party--which believes in sovereignty of province of Quebec in Canada and has a long history of national struggle of its own people--places itself in a position to oppose a motion that could acknowledge and condemn these acts of genocide by the Iraqi regime against the Kurds. But with respect to the political ideology of the BQ, we should search for different aspects of this French political party as well. For example, we can see some elements of mixing local politics with the European politics, especially France--like when, a few weeks ago, BQ leader Gilles Duceppe linked Quebec sovereignists to French Resistance fighters in World War II, and the government, by extension, to a Nazi regime. And if we search for more reasons behind its pro-France stance, then we can understand its position toward the Kurdish question in general. This reality can be found in French political beliefs and structure. In fact, France believes in unitary structure of the state, and for years has ignored the national rights of some components of its society, such as Basques.
Kurdish Globe: What will be the next step for Kurdish activists regarding the Halabja and Anfal cases in Canada?
Salah Bayaziddi: While it was a huge victory for the Kurdish question as a whole when the Canadian Parliament acknowledged chemical attacks against Halabja and the Anfal Campaign against Kurds in Iraq as crimes against humanity, we should stress that it was just beginning and there are further activities under way for upgrading the Canadian's government stance toward these two important issues. I hope these important activities all around world will help to intensify the Kurdish case for statehood, and also both the Halabja and Anfal cases will be recognized as genocide of the Kurds in Iraq and more importantly find its place beside two major massacres of modern history: the Holocaust, in which more than six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the World War II, and the massacre of more than 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during the World War I.