Sunday, January 22, 2012

Qazi Muhemed: His last speech

The following is Qazi Muhemed's final speech before he was executed by the Iranian military. (Translated by Shilan Saidi)

Qazi Mohammads last speech, hours before his execution.
"My dears
These are the last hours of my life and I ask this of you.
For the love of God, come, and stop being each others’ enemies.
Be as one and have each others’ backs in the face of an unfair and ruthless enemy.
Don’t sell yourselves cheep to the enemy. Our enemies only want you as long as it benefits their own purposes. The enemy will never feel compassion for you.
The enemies of Kurds are many, they are tyranic, ruthless and without any conscience.
The success for any people is oneness, unity and support of their whole nation.
Any nation that does not have oneness and unity will forever be under his emenies’ rule.
You as Kurds are no less than other free nations, on the contrary you are in many ways more ready than other nations that freed themselves from oppression.
But those who freed themselves had unity amongst them. For you to be free you have to stop fighting amongst yourselves, stop being jealous of each other, stop selling yourself to the enemy. Only then will you be free and free your nation."
To hear the speech in Kurdish, click here

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kurdish Youth Festival: Many Voices; One Cause

Contact: Kurdish Youth Festival Committee




For the Third Consecutive Year, the Kurdish Youth Festival Will Become the Biggest and Best Avenue to Connect Kurdish Youth from Coast to Coast

Hailed as the only gathering of its kind in the United States, the third Kurdish Youth Festival is scheduled to, once again, deliver an unforgettable experience. The upcoming 2012 festival will take place in the Nation’s Capital, Washington, DC, on January 6th-8th and is promising to be the most exciting festival yet.
A youth-led coalition from various backgrounds have come together to form this year’s event coordinating committee. This group of young Kurdish men and women are determined to make the third Kurdish youth festival an enriching experience with a profoundly positive impact on the attendees.
The festival will feature scholarships, meet and greet opportunities, educational panels, discussion groups, and interactive workshops. All this is in addition to the festivals most talked about signature events: “Kurds Got Talent,” visual art competitions, and a celebration finale complete with live music and traditional dance. As in previous years, notable figures, authors, human rights activists, NGO leaders, and International artists are expected to be in attendance. This event will also provide a chance for sponsors and scholars from across the globe to make a lasting network with active Kurdish-American youth.
In an interview during the last Kurdish youth festival, a first time attendee said: “I walked into the hotel lobby in Dallas and heard a group of young guys and girls speaking Kurdish. I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I felt more at “home” during those three days than any other time and have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I encourage everyone to come to next year’s festival.”

Established to showcase, promote, and raise awareness about Kurdish culture, the festival aims to cultivate the talents and abilities of young Kurds in the United States while encouraging community participation. Today, it also serves as an annual reunion for old friends and a perfect platform for new connections.

The third annual Kurdish Youth Festival is in the planning stages, and final programming will be released in the following months.

To become a sponsor of this event or to receive more information, contact the organizing committee:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kurdish Youth of America to Host Second Annual Kurdish Youth Festival

You may know that we, the Kurdish youth of North America, have a vibrant and active community. You may even know that in the US, we’ve hosted numerous gatherings, including Newroz celebrations, festivals, conferences, picnics, educational seminars, fashion shows, dance exhibitions and other cultural events. In fact, we even came together to launch a very successful Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.

Each year since 2007, we’ve also held an annual conference. In 2010, we launched our First Annual Kurdish Youth Festival from January 15-17. Thanks to the excitement and funds these conferences generate, we’ve been able to expand our impact through a wide variety of outreach programs, events and volunteer opportunities every year. All of these activities have been specifically designed to educate and inspire our guests to better function, organize and mobilize within their communities.

Coming up next, from January 7-9, 2011, we will be hosting our largest, most exciting event ever! The Second Annual Kurdish Youth Festival promises to be a truly unforgettable experience. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Kurdish American Youth Organization (KAYO), Kurdish Youth Club (KYC) and California Kurdish Cultural (Community) Center, this three-day festival will feature a wide variety of programs, including inspirational and thought-provoking guest speakers, amazing musicians, artists and performers, debates and roundtable and panel discussions. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in workshops and seminars on an even wider variety of topics, such as Kurdish film, literature, music, history, language, dance, human rights, Kurdish women’s issues, health, politics, community organization and mobilization, society, current events, and entrepreneurship (wow, that was a mouthful). Getting excited yet? Wait, it gets better…

Back for its second year will be our most popular event, “Kurds Got Talent”. This delightful display will showcase the unique, diverse and amazing talents of our youth and is open for all to participate. All guests are welcome to participate and prizes will be awarded to the top performers. The last show was so successful, we just couldn’t imagine doing next year’s festival without another one!

Finally, we are deeply honored to announce that educational scholarships will be provided to two lucky Kurdish students during the festival, one boy and one girl. After all, Kurdish youth deserve access to a good education. With that education, we are sure to become the next generation of political leaders, teachers, scientists, mathematicians, doctors, engineers, writers, artists, activists, make vast contributions to our local communities and ultimately shape the future of Kurdistan.

That’s where you come in. Wondering how this affects you? Well, we hope you will all make every effort to attend, of course! We can’t have the biggest Kurdish Youth Festival ever without you! But in order to make this festival a success and set the stage for another year of expanded outreach and programming, we need the generous support of people just like you!

The bottom line is, we need to raise $10,000 by November 2010 in order to cover all of the festival-related expenses.

You are probably thinking, “That is a lot of money…where does it all go?” It’s pretty simple, really. We need to pay for the conference hall, provide honorarium, transportation and lodging for our guest speakers and performers, cover costs of advertising and ticketing, sound and lighting equipment, catering, DJ, film crew, tables, chairs, party decorations, signage, prizes for our contest winners and last but not least, we want to provide the maximum scholarship amount possible to our two lucky students. It’s easy to see how these things can really add up and we just can’t do it without you!

No donation is too large or too small! Every dollar counts! Of course, all donations are tax deductible and we’ll provide you with a receipt for your taxes, too! Please take this opportunity to make a contribution in any amount and most of all, we hope to see you there!

For more information about the Second Annual Kurdish Youth Festival or for directions and accommodations, please visit our website at

Friday, December 18, 2009

Kurdish Youth Festival/ فێستیڤاڵی لاوانی کورد/ Festîvala Kurdî

KYC's 1st Kurdish Festival
Atlanta GA January 15-17, 2010

3 Days of Nonstop learning and fun

Kurdish Festival is a celebration of Kurdish Heritage in the United States. The festival will stretch a span of three days. During which, Kurds and non-Kurds, from a variety of backgrounds and across the U.S. will gather in Atlanta, Georgia. The festival will take place during the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on January 15, 16, and 17, 2010.

Kurdish Festival will be a gathering to celebrate a heritage that has taken over 8000 years in making. During which many aspects of Kurdish life will be brought to light; from Kurdish film, literature, music, history, dance, and current events. The Festival will also include self-building workshops in leadership, fundraising and conflict management.

For the first time, Kurdish Festival will bring together education and entertainment and set a new standard. The festival will entertain with three evenings of music, dance and party; featuring popular Kurdish singers and musicians. In addition, it will conduct two full days of workshops and trainings.

In a segment titled Kurds Got Talent, Kurdish Festival will host the largest talent show across U.S. In which a variety of talents will compete. The competition is open to all. Many Kurdish singers will be invited to perform live and compete for the title of first Kurdish Singer of 2010 in US. Kurds Got Talent will be a display of many different aspects of Kurdish culture from its beautiful traditional clothes to variety of poetry and modern songs, acting, and comedy. The top three talents will be awarded accordingly. Please help us identify potential talents in your community by contacting us at

The educational component of the festival will include key figures in modern Kurdish politics, music, history and literature. Attendees will be able to hear from those that have influenced lives of Kurds either directly or indirectly. A different aspect of the festival will expand to include small sized workshops that will help the youth and attendees to better function, organize and plan back in their own local organizations. Self-building workshops will be about fundraising, conflict management and leadership. They will be followed by discussion groups on many aspect of Kurdish life such as history, current events, and literature.

During the three days of nonstop learning and fun, Kurdish Festival will start a tradition of celebration of Kurdish Heritage in the United States. We invite you’re your friends, and family to join us on this important event. We will be honored with your support and presence.

Kurdish festival is being organized by the members and friends of Kurdish Youth Club (KYC). A 501(c)3 non-profit and independent Kurdish youth organization dedicated to promoting Kurdish Culture and advocating for the youth. For more information please visit our website.

For discounted hotel rooms click here!

Yekemîn Festîvala Kurdî a KYC

فێستیڤاڵی لاوانی کورد

Alliance for Kurdish Rights Launch Video and Redesigned Website

Alliance for Kurdish Rights Contact them if you would like to contribute to their site!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Iran Executes Kurdish Activist Ehsan Fattahian

Here are the last words of Kurdish Activist, Ehsan Fattahian, who was executed this morning by the Iranian Government. May his soul and other innocent souls rest in peace. They will forever live on in our hearts.

Last ray of sun at sunset
is the path that I want to write on
The sound of leaves under my feet
say to me: Let yourself fall
and only then you find the path to freedom.

I have never been afraid of death, even now that I feel it closest to me. I can sense it and I‘m familiar with it, for it is an old acquaintance of this land and this people. I‘m not writing about death but about justifications for death, now that they have translated it to restoring justice and freedom, can one be afraid of future and destiny? „We“ who have been sentenced to death by „them,“ were working to find a small opening to a better world, free of injustice, are „they“ also aware of what they are working towards?

I started life in city of Kermanshah, the city that my country people consider grand, the birthplace of civilization in our country. I soon noticed descrimination and oppression and I felt it in the depth of my existence, this cruelty, and the „why“ of this cruelty and trying to resolve it made me come up with thousands of thoughts. But alas, they had blocked all the roads to justice and made the atmosphere so repressive that I didn‘t find any way to change things inside, and I migrated to another resort: „I became the pishmarg of Koomaleh,“ the temptation to find myself and the identity that I was deprived of made me go in that direction. Although leaving my birthplace was difficult but it never made me cut ties with my childhood hometown. Every now and then I would go back to my first home to revisit my old memories, and one of these times „they“ made my visit sour, arrested and imprisoned me. From that first moment and from the hospitality (!!) of my jailers I realized that the tragic destiny of my numerous compeers also awaits me: torture, file building, closed and seriously influenced court, an unjust and politically charged verdict, and finally death…

Let me say it more casually: after getting arrested in town of Kamyaran on 29/4/87 and after a few hours of being a „guest“ at the information office of that town, while handcuffs and a blindfold took away my right to see and move, a person who introduced himself as a deputy of the prosecutor started asking a series of unrelated questions that were full of false accusations (I should point out that any judicial questioning outside of courtroom is prohibited in the law). This was the first of my numerous interrogation sessions. The same night I was moved to the information office of Kurdestan province in city of Sanandaj, and I experienced the real party there: a dirty cell with an unpleasant toilet with blankets that had probably not seen water in decades! From that moment my nights and days passed in the interrogation offices and lower hallway under extreme torture and beatings and this lasted three months. In these three months my interrogators, probably in pursuit of a promotion or some small raise, came up with strange and false accusations against me, which they better than anyone knew how far from reality they were. They tried very hard to prove that I was involved with an armed attempt to overthrow the regime. The only charges they could pursue was being a part of „Koomaleh“ and advertising against the regime. The first „shobe“ of Islamic republic court in Sanandaj found me guilty of these charges and gave me 10 years sentence in exile in Ramhormoz prison. The government’s political and bureaucratic structure always suffers from being centralized, but in this case they tried to de-centralize the judiciary and gave the powers to re-investigate (appeal?) the crimes of political prisoners, even as high as death penalties, to the appeal courts in Kurdestan province. In this case the prosecutor Mr. Kamyaran appealed the verdict by the first court and the Kurdestan appeals court changed my verdict from 10 years in prison to death sentence, against the Islamic republic laws. According to section 258 of “Dadrasi Keyfari” law, an appeals court can increase the initial verdict only in the case that the initial verdict was less than minimum punishment for the crime. In my case, the crime was “Moharebeh” (animosity with God), which has the minimum punishment of one year sentence, and my verdict was a 10 year sentence in exile, clearly above the minimum. Compare my sentence to the minimum sentence for this crime to understand the unlawful and political nature of my death sentence. Although I also have to mention that shortly before changing the verdict they transferred me from the main prison in Sanandaj to the interrogation office of the Information Department and requested that I do a video interview confessing to crimes I have not committed, and say things that I do not believe in. In spite of a lot of pressure I did not agree to do the video confession and they told me bluntly that they will change my verdict to death sentence, which they shortly did, and demonstrated how the courts follow forces outside of judiciary department. So should they be blamed??

A judge has been sworn to stay fair in every situation, at all times and towards every person and look at the world from the legal perspective. Which judge in this doomed land can claim to has not broken this swear and has stayed fair and just? In my opinion the number of such judges is less than fingers on one hand. When the whole judicial system of Iran with the suggestion of an interrogator (with no knowledge of legal matters), arrests, tries, imprisons and executes people, can we really blame the few judges of a province which is always repressed and discriminated against? Yes, this house is ruined from its foundations…

This is in spite of the fact that in my last visit with my prosecutor he admitted that the death sentence is unlawful, but for the second time they gave me the notice for carrying out the execution. Needless to say that this insistence on carrying a death sentence under any circumstance is the result of pressure from security and political forces from outside of the judiciary department. Said people look at life and death of political prisoners only from the point of view of their paychecks and political needs, nothing else matters to them other than their own goals, even if it is about the most fundamental right of other human beings, their right to live. Forget international laws, they completely disregard even their own laws and procedures.

But my last words: If in the minds of these rulers and oppressors my death will get rid of the “problem” called Kurdestan [the province], I should say, what an illusion. Neither my death nor the death of thousands like me will be remedy to this incurable pain and perhaps would even fuel this fire. Without a doubt, each death points to a new life [ or beginning ].

Ehsan Fattahian

For more information please visit the following links:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

KAYO and Gift of Hope Overseas Request for donations to bring medical help to people in the Kurdish region of Turkey.

KURDISH AMERICAN YOUTH ORGANIZATION (KAYO) and Gift of Hope Overseas Request for donations to bring medical help to people in the Kurdish region of Turkey. Please help raise money, you can donate online, and your donation is tax deductible! Click here to donate!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kurrî Şîrînim

Kurrî şîrînim metirse cêt nayellim, cêt nayellim
Were be diway şillip û wirrî qaçe mandokanî mina, lêm win nabî
Eweta şax û deştû doll
Şestew rehêllew baw boran

Çokî be giştîyan dadawe
Bawke koll be kollekeşit
Be gij girmey hewira eçê
Çarey reşî yawete ber riqî agirî çexmaxe

Pê hellgire pê hellgire
Agadar be lêm winabî
Rolle nazdarekey daye
Cuce şîrînekey babe

Dillnîya be tirs’ le xêwi xeyallû le dêwî efsane nebê nebê nebê

Lem hatine bê şûmare
Lem koçe gele yek care
Lem dîmene xeyallîya
Ke mêjû lêwî xalliye

Tarmayekan tarmayekan tarmayekan

Le jêr taşe berdî spî û dewenî reşû kilore
Le tirsana hemû helldên

Petokey kollit tund bigre lêt nekewê
Her bigeyne bin dîwarê

Petokey kollit tund bigre lêt nekewê
Her bigeyne bin dîwarê
Asarêk kone hewarêk

Legell pelluy çawekanima
Bot deguşim
Bot deguşim

Ke birsît bu nextê nanî reqim pêye
Be şekrî rohî minewe bîkirmêne
Ke sermat bu baweşî min agirî kizey cergî min
Ber qerare ber qarare
Be bejini wirdû mandute
Be bejini wirdû mandute

Serinc edem
Beser çawe geşekanta
Çêjî ‘îbaret derrêjî
Wekû tawanêkit hêbê be lawî
Wekû tawanêkit hêbê be lawî
Xot be gewreyek ezanî, ezanî

Be gerdêkî gerdinma bî
Destim bigre destim bigre
Ez gurîse lêm winabî

Bese zîtey çawekan’
Binuwe kurrim wa beyana
Binuwe kurrim wa beyana
Hewir egirî, hajey çemî legell baran û beyane legell baran û beyane

To singî babe lêfete
Miniş baran miniş baran
To singî babe lêfete
Miniş baran miniş baran
Şew garit şad
Binuwe kurrim, wekû caran

Eger çi tawe tarzey şum
Perde kuley mergî mine ta beyanî
Serû şanî babe to xoş ke mihrabe
Beser toda danewîwe piştî babe
Eger carê dillopê aw be hêmini maçi kirdi
Bizane, bizane firmêskî mine xîlîska be milî wirdî
Bizane eşiqi babeye serî kirrnoşî bo birdî

Debime xorakî jiyan’
Mehrûmit nakem lem cejine
Mehrûmit nakem lem cejine
Be gezî ahim depêwim
Qate cilê pirr bem bejinet
Qate cilê pirr bem bejinet

Legell ‘alam û temenî xeyallîta xeyallîta
Egrîm beser çarey reşî minallîta minallîta
Cejinaneket le miştaye
Nazanî hestit der birrî

Çawerrêy bûkî beyanît
Tîşkî hetawî pê bikirrî
Tîşkî hetawi pê bikirrî

Every time I hear this song, which is very often, I close my eyes and try to sift through my memories of 1993... My mama tells me I used to sing it to my neighbors at the age of 4, with an absolutely adorable lisp. Our neighbors would ask me to sing it over and over again, and like a broken record player, I would.


Click to listen:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Free Leyla Zana!

Earlier this month, a Turkish court in Amed [Diyarbekir] sentenced Leyla Zana for another 10 years for her speeches given during the past year. According to Turkish Courts, she "indirectly expressed support" for the PKK. Leyla Zana first gained notoriety in 1991, when her oath into the Turkish parliament ended in a Kurdish sentence; "I take this oath for the brotherhood between the Turkish people and the Kurdish people."At the time, Kurdish was banned in Turkey, or as put by the Turkish state, "It was not a recognized language." This quickly generated some charges against her and was "linked" to the PKK, resulting in a 15 years sentence in 1994. During the time she was in jail, she won various awards for her peaceful actions, among them the 1994 Rafto Prize for Human Rights, 1995 Bruno Kreisky Prize for Human Rights, 1995 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005. With the pressure of the EU, her case was asked to be resubmitted to the courts for appeals. She was then released in 2004, five years before her sentencing was up.

Good Timing
Her current sentence comes at a perfect timing. According to, "The court also decided to deprive Zana of the right to participate in elections either as a candidate or a voter, and the other political rights under article 53/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK)." This came while the pro-Kurdish party, Democratic Society Party (DTP), was gaining support in Turkish occupied Kurdistan. Leyla Zana was going to be one of the candidates during their upcoming elections that would represent the Kurdish city of Batman. There seems to be a clear connection here; every time a Kurd becomes popular within the political system of Turkey, he or she will quickly be charged with cases relating to "terror" or other ways are found to charge them through the corrupt and anti-Kurdish laws that is ruling Turkey. I made this flyer to raise awareness for Leyla Zana's current situation. I encourage everyone to send and pass it out to their friends and family. Please feel free to post it on your websites, blogs, facebooks, myspaces, etc...