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Iraqi Kurdish article argues for disclosure of missing budget money

BBC Monitoring

Text of article by Peshraw Ahmed entitled; "Money is good servant but a corrupt master"; published by independent Iraqi Kurdish newspaper Hawlati on 17 October

Perhaps what has lost most of its value and weight in this country is writing. We mean, by writing, the critiques and perspectives expressed and set down outside the Kurdistan political power. Now, if you write on the most corrupt political social issues, they not only ignore it, but they will also accuse you, based on an informer's report, of siding with a hostile political party or faction, and this might end up in arresting you and putting you in jail. So there remained no value for expressing opinions and criticism in this country.

What prompted us to write these few lines was the issue of the Kurdistan budget. There are already rumours that people will not benefit from the 2008 budget. As from now, they want to disappoint people for one more year [budget year] with various justifications. Hence, we hereby call for a massive media and popular campaign to be launched this year to exercise some sort of pressure aimed at enhancing transparency of the budget ! and the way it is spent in Kurdistan. Therefore, as the media outlets and newspapers agreed to allocate pages and programme on Article 140, we decided to break the silence, even more strongly, about the new year's budget. This is to be done chiefly by the free and private newspapers. Let a newspaper like Hawlati or Awene be put on trial and threatened with being shut down for raising such a critical issue; then it would become clear how many people would side with them.

In fact, the budget of no country of the world is subject to a certain person, clique or faction. The fact that this budget has been monopolized, used behind closed doors, and its details kept from the public, proves that it is being run by a corrupt system. So the Kurdistan people have to be aware of their own sustenance [source of income, i.e. their own share of the country's budget]. It is the budget of the Kurdistan people, the budget of rehabilitation of the Kurdistan Region in general. It is not! the budget of the political parties; it is the budget of each Kurdish individual, not a certain group under the umbrella of a political party.

We hereby call for opening pages and annexes in Hawlati and Awene for stolen budget where details of at least the 2008 budget can be explained. The 2008 budget must not be allowed to go missing on the pretext of last year's financial gaps. It is an indisputable fact that the budget is public property, allocated for their projects and services in return for nothing, and financial concepts and laws, not a political group or faction, should support its distribution and spending. This is because, if it is done by a political group or faction, it is, on one hand, wrong-doing and great historical treason, and it also causes further frustration to the impoverished people of Kurdistan, who are waiting for the promising addresses.

We ask:

When will the dreams of thousands of youth come true and this Kurdistan become a typical region? When will the projects be completed? Which is the 2008 big! project? With which money and by which company will it implemented? Which official will supervise it and who dares to bring them to account?

If the Kurdistan budget is stolen or if it is intended to be stolen, shame on us for allowing this to happen and failing to condemn it. And if it is not stolen and will not be stolen, why should there be any fear of making it public? This is our question; let the people, not the officials, answer it.

Kurdistan cannot be run in this way, nor can the glimpse of hope remain in the hearts of people, since, of course, "money is a good servant but a corrupt master".

We expect that annexes and pages allocated for missing and undisclosed budgets will bring about popular pressure in the interests of the Kurdistan people. We hope that writers will publish their pieces in them and that readers will support them.

Source: Hawlati, Sulaymaniyah, in Sorani Kurdish 17 Oct 07 p20



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