Part of PUKmedia's interview with Dr. Ferdinand Hennerbichler, he recalled his first visit to Kurdistan Region back in the 70s, his first impression on Mam Jalal and his desire to know "the real truth about Kurds".
Dr. Hennerbichler was introduced to Fuad Rasul and Dr. Wrya Rawanduzi whom were Kurdish representatives in the 70s, they later introduced him to Mam Jalal in Vienna.
His first impression no Mam Jalal was "he is a political leader who can win you over his argument" the fact that Mam Jalal was a credible man with a simple nature "humbled and has sense of humor", impressed Dr. Hennerbichler.
In Vienna 1976, Dr. Hennerbichler asked Mam Jalal what was his aim and what did he want? The answer was "Ferdinand, you will see in your life time and mine a free and independent Kurdistan"
Of course at the time Dr. Hennerbichler couldn't believe Mam Jalal, he couldn’t imagine that in 1976, one year after so many Kurds had died and years of bad experience of cooperation between the Kurds and Arabs, a free and independent Kurdistan will be established.
But now, in their life time "Yes it happened. This was astonishing for me and I did not expect it".
After Mam Jalal had introduced his vision of Kurdistan to Dr. Hennerbichler, he was facing a completely different vision introduces by Hashim Akrawi (who was representing those Kurds who were cooperating with Saddam Hussein regime), Mr. Akrawi said that he was hearing one sided information, which was introduced by "the Kurdish rebellion leaders".
Akrawi wanted to show that he was in charge and Kurdistan Region was under his control, Akrawi's personality was later reveled "he had a weak personality, never smiling and had difficulty in explaining himself".
Mr. Akrawi informed Dr. Hennerbichler that "Saddam Hussein Kurds" are establishing a kind of democracy in Kurdistan and invited him to visit the Region to prove that he was in charge. Dr. Hennerbichler did visit Kurdistan Region but realized that everything Mr. Akrawi said was wrong, "he was not in charge of anything, he was controlled by a simple Arab officer and whatever he said, he was corrected"
Dr. Hennerbichler insisted on visiting Rawanduz (a city close to the borders with Iran and Turkey) and Haji Omran (a town located near the Iran-Iraq borders It is 180 kilometers northeast of the Erbil), when Mr. Akrawi asked him about the reason he is insisting on visiting these areas, Mr. Ferdinand said " I want to see whether you are really in charge or not" and of course Mr. Akrawi agreed.
He explained " When I went out of the car in Haji Omran, people were running towards me and started to clap and cheer welcoming me, but the officers immediately grabbed me and put me back into the car and took me away from them" he added " I didn't have the time to talk to those people", he was later explained that he was not allowed to talk to those people who were described to him as "rebels and apprising against the government".
He was then arrested and brought to Baghdad, by the men of Iraqi Intelligence (Mukhabarat) who ordered him to give them his tapes, as he recorded interviews with the Kurdish rebels and friends but he managed to delete the tapes and deported only one tape through the Austrian Embassy's diplomatic bag, the tape was regarding Hashim Akrawi as he was told off by a simple Arab security officer 'he should shut up he had nothing to say'.
After one week Dr. Hennerbichler flew back to Austria but insisted to come back to Kurdistan Region with one thought in mind, he wanted to learn the real truth about Kurds.
Editor's Note: the complete interview will be published soon.
Meer Nahro Barznji