translation is conducted by the Globe editorial staff.
By Massoud Barzani
May 20 is a sparkling anniversary in my life. Fifty years ago, and on a day like today, I became a Peshmarga. This memory has always been the greatest source of pride for me.
On May 20, 1962, I joined the Great Barzani's unit in the Bekhma Valley and officially joined the Peshmarga forces. The pre-revolution political situation and the post-revolution climate had brought about a state where my father was away from his family most of the time. So, I sent my request to join the Peshmarga forces in a letter to my father. Besides my father's consent, I had to convince my bother Idris, my uncle Sheikh Babo, and above all, our great head Sheikh Ahmed Barzani.
I have mentioned the details of how I joined the September Revolution and the Peshmarga Forces in the third volume of the book, Barzani and the Kurdish Liberation Movement in the part about the September Revolution. To this day, the remembrance of every moment of how I joined the Peshmarga forces and Barzani's stronghold gives me happiness and is one of the sweetest memories of my life.
My desire to join the Peshmarga at this age, sprang from the huge pride I had in the name of Peshmarga, so the greatest pride in my life was to become a Peshmarga.
I became a Peshmarga with a great belief and hope. Belief in the rightfulness of the Kurdish issue and hope in success is the foundation for the belief of being a Peshmarga. Like other Peshmargas, my goal was to struggle for the freedom of my nation and the achievement of the Kurds' rights, and struggle to bring about the dignity of the Kurds against all the efforts to remove the Kurdish identity. I am always a supporter of continuity, and never being afraid of struggling. It has been the very ideology Peshmarga.
During all the difficult stages of the struggles and changes and in the responsibilities and duties, the only unchanged duty for me has been the soul of being a Peshmarga. After 50 years of my political and Peshmarga struggle, the ideology with which I became a Peshmarga has never wavered, but has rather become stronger. I have visited every village of Kurdistan from Zakho to Penjwen and have spent a lot of time with many colleagues, who have gave their lives for the cause they believed in. Those very people have made my love towards my soil and people of Kurdistan be united with my blood.
To me, it is out of the ordinary that some people may expect that after 50 years of struggle and life as aPeshmarga, I would compromise on an issue for which I have dedicated all my life.
My experience of being a Peshmarga has been the biggest school for me, and in that school we, as Peshmargas, had a great teacher like the Great Barzani. The advice of Barzani, whether as a father or a leader, have been the guidline for my life and struggle. I can say that the source of our resistance and high spirits were my father's pieces of advice "Don't despair when you failed and don't show arrogance in times of success". This advice has always been with me.
Now, as a result of a prolonged struggle of the Peshmarga and all members of our nation's community, the Kurdish issue has witnessed a significant improvement and with the help of God and the power of determination of our nation, we will reach higher objectives. Here, what is important is that all of us should protect the soul of Peshmargas inside ourselves and put the higher national interests above any other interest.
In such a situation and time, we are in need of this pure struggle more than ever to solve the shortcomings and guarantee the nation's demands for a decent life and protection of its dignity. Our unity now is the guarantee of the persistence of our success, and protecting this unity is the responsibility of all of us. Our struggle continues and our goal is to reach all our objectives in a peaceful way and no power can stop the demands of a united nation.
On this occasion, we should pay tribute to all the Peshmargas who have sacrificed their lives for the sovereignty of their nation and homeland. Long live all friends and colleagues. I send my regards to all of them, wherever they are, and I wish all the success to all of them.
I will be a Peshmarga of Kurdistan as long as I live.
This article was written by Kurdish President Massoud Barzani in Kurdish and published in Hawler newspaper last Saturday. The English translation is conducted by the Globe editorial staff.