Sunday, December 04, 2005

Voice of the unheard Kurds - By Aryana Qendil

Every day millions of people across the planet wake up to a new day and have their first meal of the day. Some hurry off to work, others sit in idle contemplation, others suffer just as they have done every day that they can remember.

Where I live, people have many choices, the many choices of what kind of information to feed their brains on a daily basis. Mind you some of us have nothing good to put into our grey matter anyways. We can read numerous newspapers and have a myriad of television channels to look at. How many of the millions of us afforded this opportunity know at this very moment there is a television channel trying to lend a voice to millions who have little or no say in the Middle East?

There is a channel called ROJ TV, which exists to highlight the truth about the plight of all Kurds in Kurdistan. Kurdistan here is the mass of land that has been subdivided into four amongst Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. Let not the naïve continue to believe that it is exists only in the north of Iraq. Yes in Iraq the Kurds have their own television channels but these only pay heed and reach the audience of Kurds in South Kurdistan (Kurdistan of Iraq).

Millions of their brothers and sisters face oppression on a daily basis from the Turkish and Iranian governments. It is for these unfortunate and in fact the downtrodden and all people without a 'voice' that ROJ TV exists. ROJ TV operates from its offices located in Brussels under permission of the Danish government.

In East Kurdistan (Kurdistan of Iran) where any Kurdish form of media is banned, ROJ TV exits as the Kurds' eyes and ears to their fellowmen in other parts of Kurdistan and the world.

Currently the Turkish government along with EU counterparts is working towards the closure of ROJ TV. Though the Danish government has stood firm by its decision to allow ROJ TV's operations to continue, this time may be soon at an end. The continued pressure by Turkey with the aid of the US exerts more pressure to Denmark and the EU. The end result may be the final submission to the external pressures from outside the EU for permanent closure.

The EU has already recommended that Turkey address its human rights policy for which Turkey has adopted a partial reform. Partial indeed, for on one hand the death penalty has been abolished but there is the issue of the two Turkish security officials who were caught in North Kurdistan (Kurdistan of Turkey) with weapons and a list of civilians to be targeted. Kurds, the diplomats and peaceful people that they are, handed these men over to the Turkish officials. But where is the true meaning of human rights in Turkey? It seems to be very one sided indeed.

ROJ TV brought to light these events but why is there no coverage in the Western media of the atrocities faced by these people on a daily basis?

The EU preaches human rights for all and yet seeks to close this television station. Yes indeed appease the majority of the EU by 'addressing' human rights in Turkey and at the same time keep the Turkish government smiling so as not to lose economic benefits. This is the same as what happened at the Lausanne treaty.

So why then further oppress the downtrodden and the people who have no voice by taking away their one means of letting the world know that they exist. Kurds also are the voices unheard, longing for the rest of the world to truly hear their plight.