Friday, January 04, 2013

Against Rape impunity

I just signed this important petition against Rape impunity

Dear 16 Days Activists,

A petition has been started on calling on government officials to pursue legislation to end rape impunity following the rape and death of a young woman in India last month. Officials are meeting January 4th. Please share this urgent petition widely with your networks.

In solidarity,
The 16 Days Team

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Kurdish Youth Festival Jan4-6


Saturday, January 5, 20137:35PM
Cklara Moradian and Soraya Fallah play:
Lullabies Shaping Kurdish Identity


The program is subject to change.

Friday, January 4, 2013
Start Finish Program
3:00PM 4:45PM Lunch at Torreyanna Grill (Located inside hotel)
5:00PM 5:15PM Introductions
5:20PM 5:50PM Getting to know each other!
6:00PM 6:30PM Discussion on the Kurdish Language
6:35PM 6:45PM Play by Actress and Singer Ala Riani
6:50PM 7:30M Film Competition (Judges: Bahman Ghobadi and Mustafa Gundogdu)
7:30PM 7:45PM Break
7:45PM 8:45PM Trivia Game (Host: Salan Hawizy)
8:50 10:35 Special Screening of Bahman Ghobadi’s “Rhino Season” followed by Q&A
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Start Finish Program
10:00AM 10:15AM Introductions
10:20AM 11:05AM Tolerance: The Remedy for Unity (Moderator: Xoshink Bazaz)
11:10AM 11:50AM From the Diaspora to the Homeland (Moderator: Karwan Zebari Speakers: Jotiar Ziad, Beri Shalmashi, and Salan Hawizy)
11:50AM 12:00AM BREAK
12:05PM 12:45PM The Backbone of Kurdish Society (Moderator: Peri Shushi)
12:45PM 1:45PM LUNCH
1:50PM 2:50PM How to Helperkê (Moderator: Goran Z. Sadjadi)
7:00PM 7:10PM Introductions
7:15PM 7:30PM Mayor Bob Filner
7:35PM 7:50PM Cklara Moradian and Soraya Fallah play: Lullabies Shaping Kurdish Identity
7:55PM 8:30PM Art Auction
8:30PM 8:45PM BREAK
8:50PM 10:15PM Kurds Got Talent (Judges: Kurdish Rapper Serhado and Singer Nasir Rezazî )
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Start Finish Program
9:00AM 1:30PM Boat Tour (Buses rented for hotel guests only)
5:00PM 5:30PM Introductions
6:00PM 7:00PM Nasir Rezazî
7:15PM 8:30PM Dinner
8:30PM 9:30PM Hozan Sîmar
9:30PM 10:45PM Nasir Rezazî
11:00PM 11:55AM Hozan Sîmar
11:55PM 12:00AM Thank you for coming! See you next year!

Kurdish Youth Festival


The Kurdish Youth Festival has become the most anticipated event among the Kurdish youth and this year’s event was as spectacular as ever. Guests from all over the United States, Canada, and across the world attended the Fourth Annual Kurdish Youth Festival dubbed “#4KYF”, which took place at the luxurious Hotel Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, in San Diego, CA on January 4th to 6th, 2013. The event yet again brought together young Kurds as well as non-Kurds from a variety of backgrounds, created a great learning experience for all, helped new friendships develop, and renewed a sense of community among the Kurds. Hundreds attended the festival while many others were able to participate in the event online through the event’s live stream as well as via Twitter and Facebook.
Day One: From Film Screenings to Educational Games
The event kicked off with brief introductions by hosts, Ms. Helat Tahir from the Nashville Kurdish Community in Tennessee, and the previous festival’s Kurds Got Talent winner and comedian, Mr. Korang “KaeKurd” Kurda who flew in from London to attend the festival. Both the Kurdish and American national anthems were played. Then followed the icebreakers, where guests joined assigned groups to meet and get to know different attendees. The festival’s program officially began with an opening act by up and coming actress, Ms. Ala Riani, who performed a beautiful emotional monologue about female Kurdish political prisoners in Iran.
As a reflection of its commitment to education, the Fourth Annual Kurdish Youth Festival encouraged Kurdish students to pursue higher education by providing financial support through an essay contest.  This year’s essay question asked students to share how their family background has affected their goals and aspirations. These essays were anonymously judged by Kurdish professionals Ms. Behar Godani, Ms. Laura Khailany, and Director at the University of Arizona, Mr. Christian Sinclair. Mr. Christian Sinclair announced the winners of the $1,000 scholarships to young Kurds, Ms. Barin Omer and Mr. Zaniar Moradian, as well as the $500 scholarships to Ms. Sherin Zadeh, Ms. Helat Tahir, Ms. Halin Haji, Mr. Rebin Omer, Mr. Rand Mustafa and Mr. Dilgish Tayar. It is evident by the increase of submissions that this aspect of the festival is growing and reaching out to more students each year. The festival committee hopes to continue to provide scholarships to Kurdish-American students through future essay contests.
The next program focused on the issue of language and the discussion hosted by Ms. Tahir and Mr. Kurda who speak Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji/Bahdini) and Central Kurdish (Sorani) respectively. Some attendees questioned the fact that English has been the primary language of the festival. The hosts and the KYF committee asked the attendees for their thoughts on this issue. Generally, the attendees as well as the committee concluded that English should be the primary language used because there are so many different Kurdish dialects/languages spoken by the Kurds including Kelhuri, Zazaki, and Hewrami. However, some audience members recommended that the festival committee include parts of the festival in the Kurdish dialects/languages, such as during the introductions of speakers and programs.
Next, the festival’s annual film contest commenced and featured three short films by young Kurdish filmmakers including “Blood of Pomegranate” by Mr. Awat Ali, “Zol’a” by Mr. Phillip Rachid, and “Heart on Fire” by Ms. Beri Shalmashi. The judges of the film competition included the world famous and internationally acclaimed Kurdish filmmaker, Mr. Bahman Ghobadi, and the respected Kurdish human rights activist and filmmaker, Mr. Mustafa Gundogdu. The competition’s first prize went to the emotional short film entitled, “Heart on Fire”, by Ms. Beri Shalmashi.
The first day of the festival concluded with a trivia game hosted by Mr. Salan Hawizy who attended the festival from Kurdistan. The Trivia Game allowed attendees to learn more about Kurdish history and culture in an interactive and fun way. Various questions were asked about different parts of Kurdistan and Kurdish history and encouraged guests to go out of their way to learn more about other parts of Kurdistan. This year’s winners were young Kurds, Mr. Sheraz Waise, Mr. Rebaz Waise, Mr. Miran Waise and Mr. Sarkaut Zangana. Contestants such as Mr. Ahmet Oncel took the opportunity to enlighten attendees about present issues facing Kurds in the Middle East.
Day Two: From Round Table Discussions to Art and Talent Shows and a visit by the Mayor of San Diego
Saturday morning began with a round-table discussion entitled, “Tolerance: The Remedy for Unity”, moderated by Kurdish activist, Ms. Xoshink Bazaz. Ms. Bazaz who attended the festival from Sweden started her presentation by showing the audience a video by Ms. Arazu Hasan about division, tolerance, and unity from the Second Annual Kurdish Youth Festival. Ms. Bazaz’s key message was that Kurdistan’s success depends on us being able to understand, appreciate, and work with each other. She stated: “It depends on us being more tolerant of each other. Intolerance will only drive groups apart, create a sense of permanent separation between us.”
The next panel was hosted by Mr. Karwan Zebari, a director at the KRG US Representative office, and was titled “From the Diaspora to the Homeland”. The panel featured a Capability Development Leader for Western Zagros Resources Ltd., Mr. Jotiar Ziad, a Kurdish filmmaker and instructor at the University of Salahaddin in Hewler, Ms. Beri Shalmashi, and a Direct Sales Manager for Zain Telecom in Kurdistan, Mr. Salan Hawizy. Each panelist gave deep insight to the Kurds in the diaspora seeking to go back to Kurdistan permanently. The panelists shared useful information as well as their own personal experiences to the audience members to give them a sense of what it is like to work in Kurdistan. All three guests were raised outside of Kurdistan and have returned there to work and live.
The morning’s discussions ended with a segment entitled “The Backbone of Kurdish Society”, hosted by Kurdish poet and journalist, Ms. Peri Shushi. The segment intended to address the role of women in Kurdish society as well as the obstacles facing women and how to resolve them.
Following a social lunch at the hotel for the festival’s attendees, KAYO co-founder and Kurdish-American activist, Mr. Goran Z. Sadjadi, kicked off a session where attendees could learn a new Kurdish dance from the many varieties that exist. Mr. Sadjadi talked about the Kurdish heritage and history and demonstrated how Kurdish dance is part of the Kurdish oral tradition that often tells old stories about love and drama. He then introduced the dance instructors, Ms. Akhink Omer, Mr. Peshkout Duski, Mr. Burak Aydin, Ms. Helat Tahir, Mr. Mohammed Hesen, and Mr. Rebin Omer, who proceeded to teach dances from all over Kurdistan to the attendees who wished to learn.
The evening of the second day of the festival began with introduction of San Diego’s new mayor, Mr. Bob Filner. Mayor Filner delivered an inspirational speech encouraging attendees to contact their representatives to support the Kurdish cause. Mayor Filner was the first U.S. congressmen to openly call for an independent Kurdistan and his relationship with the Kurdish-American community dates back many years. Mayor Filner received a standing ovation from his Kurdish-American supporters in the audience, many of whom took an active role in his most recent campaign.
The next event was an inspiring play performed by lifelong Kurdish human rights activist and women’s rights leader, Ms. Soraya Fallah, and her daughter, Kurdish activist, published poet and artist, Ms. Cklara Moradian. The two performed a play entitled “Lullabies Shaping Kurdish Identity”, which focused on the mother’s role in teaching the Kurdish language and identity to her children. Ms. Cklara Moradian recited a spoken-word piece and her mother, Ms. Soraya Fallah, sang a beautiful song to the soft melodies played by Kurdish musician, Mr. Murat Daslik.
Following the play, the festival’s annual art auction showcased various pieces by very talented Kurdish artists, Mr. Lukman Ahmed, Mr. Ayad Almissouri, Mr. Khairy Adam, Mr. Naseem Mahmood, Ms. Vian Peshdary, Mr. Aryan Abu Bakr, and Mr. Mahmoud Mohammed. Each piece was auctioned off to the audience who enthusiastically outbid one another. This year’s art auction had drawn in more art pieces than ever before.
Following a break, attendees were in for a big treat. The famous Kurdish hiphop artist, Serhad Fermi, known better by his stage name “Serhado”, kicked off the festival’s annual “Kurds Got Talent” (KGT) event  with a ground-shaking performance. The audience cheered him on as he performed some of his popular music, including Ez Kurdistanim and Lo Dilo. Serhado used his time on stage to highlight the need for unity and for the Kurdish people to support one another regardless of which part of Kurdistan their families originally came from.
One of the festival’s major highlights, the KGT event, began with performances by eight contestants. Their performances featured comedy and entertainment, music, and poetry. KGT allowed the judges, rapper Serhado and the Kurdish musical legend and former peshmerga, Mr. Nasir Rezazi, to offer feedback to each of the participants and were each allowed one vote. Audience members were also given the opportunity to vote for their favorite contestant. The first prize was awarded to Mr. Lawand Abdi, and the second and third prizes were awarded to Ms. Jihan Muhamad, and Ms. Parween Taha.
Day Three: Touring San Diego followed by a Grand Finale
On the final day of the festival, the committee organized a 45-minute boat tour of the San Diego waters followed by a visit to the beautiful island of Coronado. Attendees wore their “I Love Kurdistan” t-shirts and sported their other gear provided by the festival’s Diamond Sponsor, AsiaCell, and danced to traditional Kurdish music during the boat tour. Following the tour, attendees returned to the hotel to prepare for the final party. Attendees dressed in colorful traditional Kurdish clothes and were ready to show off their new dance moves with their new and old friends. The night ended with performances by Kurdish hiphop artist, Serhado, Kurdish musical legend Nasir Rezazi, and famous and talented Kurdish singer Hozan Simar.
Special thanks were also extended to the sponsors of the festival including the Diamond sponsor AsiaCell, Gold sponsor WesternZagros, Silver sponsor Delair Adib, Silver sponsor Qubad Talabani, and Bronze sponsor Niva Car Trading. Special thanks were also extended to Kurdish photographer from Norway, Ms. Halat Sophie, and Ms. Beri Shalmashi and Mr. Kawa Baqi, for their videography work and who both came to the festival from Kurdistan, and all the other volunteers who helped make the festival a success.
Special thanks to this year’s diverse committee that came from all parts of Kurdistan as well as the United States and even Canada: Mr. Minhaj Akreyi, Mr. Burak Aydin, Ms. Lelav Basha, Mr. Ganj Beebani, Ms. Deniz Gumustekin, Mr. Mohammed Hesen, Ms. Perjin Jaffer, Mr. Alan Muhealdan,  Ms. Akhink Omer, Mr. Rebaz Qaradaghi, Ms. Nuha Serrac, Ms. Shanaz Waise, and Ms. Sarah Yousif.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year, 2013

Wishing peace, Love, justice, and equality for all
from our family to you and your loved ones
Happy New Year, 2013
سالى نوى ٢٠١٣ ى زايينى تان لى پيروز بيت
هيوادارين سالى نوى ٢٠١٣ سالى ئاشتى و ئازادى بو هه مو گه لان، سالى خوشى و سه لامه تى و سه ر به رزى بو ئيوه ى ئازيز بيت
سال نو ميلادى ٢٠١٣ بر شما پيروز و فرخنده باد
اميدواريم سال نو سال صلح و آزادى براى همه ملتهاى جهان، و سالى سرشار از سلامتى و شادكامى و سربلندى براى شما عزيزان باشد
Azad , Cklara, Soraya, and Zaniar Moradian
ئازاد،كلارا، سوره يا، زانيار موراديان