Terrorism prevents Syrian Kurds from celebrating Newroz

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Kurds lighting Newroz flame hours before Hasakah's terrorist attack on Friday, March 20, 2015. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Afrin, Syria – Subsequent to the terrorist attacks against Kurdish Newroz celebrators in Hasakah city, which caused the death and injury of dozens including women and children, major Kurdish cities of Syria suspended celebrations of Newroz and announced a state of mourning on Saturday.

At least 45 Kurdish civilians lost their lives when two car bombs exploded near a crowd of Newroz celebrators on Friday evening in Hasakah’s Kurdish neighborhood of al-Mufti, northeastern Syria. Some Kurdish activists accused militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) of being behind the attacks, while others accused the Assad regime. 

In spite of the large preparations by Syrian Kurds for the celebration of their national day, all Newroz activities were suspended to show solidarity with Hasakah’s victims as well as the recently murdered Peshmerga hostages by IS militants in Iraqi Mosul. 

The Islamic State’s militants beheaded three fighters from the Peshmerga who were taken as hostages by the group, which threatened to execute the other Kurdish hostages if Iraqi Kurdistan continued its offensive against IS. 

In the meantime, the Kurdish Auto-Administration (led by the Democratic Union Party “PYD”) called on all Syrian Kurds to avoid gathering in large numbers on Newroz Day, showing its concern about the safety of civilians under the current security conditions. 

Speaking to ARA News, Kurdish politician and former spokesman of the PYD-linked Auto Administration in the city of Afrin, Rezan Hiddo, said: “I am against the decision of canceling Newroz celebrations under any pretext or circumstance except for security reasons.”

“Newroz is not a festival or a wedding concert that includes songs, music, and dance; it is a celebration raising the morale of the Kurdish citizens and their “Kurdishness” (the spirit of national affiliation) leading them to self-confidence, and their ability to lift the injustice experienced by the Kurdish people for decades,” Hiddo argued.

“I can do this as Kawa al-Haddad (the mythical hero who lit a flame in Newroz day) did, I believe in the Kurdish ability to change for the better.”

“The decision to cancel the celebrations is wrong. We sacrificed thousands of martyrs to grab our rights and stick to our identity, our language, our cultural heritage and our existence,” he added.

“Newroz represents our aspired freedom from tyranny and persecution,” Hiddo told ARA News, wondering: “Is celebration in Newroz considered a disrespect for the blood of the martyrs? If so, it means that the celebration, which was held Saturday in Kobane, broke the rule!”

In Kobane, the recently returning displaced civilians (after the liberation of their hometown) held a large celebration on Newroz Day, which was considered exceptional as people wanted to enjoy their victory against the IS radical group. 

“I see that what Kobane people did is correct, and the stronger response to terrorism is to uphold the will of life. Newroz for the Kurds is the elixir of life,” he concluded.

Notably, major Kurdish cities cancelled celebrations of Newroz Day, yet a large part of the Kurdish community held some familial celebrations of their national day. Aspects of public celebrations were absent in the Kurdish cities of Qamishli, Derbassiyyeh, Malikiya, Amuda, and Afrin, except Kobane, where the Kurds celebrated the day as if challenging all kinds of terrorism throughout the Kurdish region. 

Reporting by: Jinda Ahmed

Source: ARA News

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