Shirin turns her tragedies into hope and triumph

December 5, 2018 at 8:17 pm

Shirin Amin and her son, Amad inside their house in Kalar, Photo: Zhino Khalil

Zhino Khalil- Garmian

It was a difficult path which Shirin decided to take. Surrounded by pain and melancholies, yet she overcame all the tragedies she faced in her life, and now she is pursuing hers and other oppressed people’s rights.

 What distinguishes Shirin Amin from other women is that she was able to succeed in a closed area amid a life of sufferings away from her husband and close relatives.

Shirin Amin Abul-Aziz, 30, is known by her husband’s name Kawa Garmiany who was assassinated 5 years ago.

“My life is comprised of numerous tragic stories, because I grew up away from my family”, says Shirin Kawa Garmiany.

“Despite all the pain and suffering I went through, I didn’t give up hope. I always had plans for my life and had an optimistic view about life.”

Like how she appears in her husband’s assassination commemoration ceremonies, Shirin walked into the Kurdistan region’s parliament building along with her little boy, dressed in black.

Among all 241 women candidates, Shirin won the most votes in the September 30, 2018 regional parliamentary elections with more than 14 thousand votes, guaranteeing a seat for the Change (Gorran) Movement.

“I will be different from the other 110 MPs. The votes I won were votes of will and determination not through fraud and vote buying.”

Despite all the pain and suffering I went through, I didn’t give up hope

Shirin holds a diploma in business management and has been serving at the Garmian Municipality Directorates for eight years.

This Garmiani woman has decided to continue her story within the parliament. “My goal is serving the people; I will fight for their living and defend their rights via a range of projects and draft laws”, she says.

Slain Journalist Kawa Garmiani

Shirin’s childhood was no better. She had gone through her son’s bitter experience after she lost her father and close relatives.

“When I was only 8 months old, our village was raided during the Anfal operations; eventually I spent 6 months in Nugra Salman concentration camp”, she said recalling the former Ba’ath regime’s genocidal campaigns in 1988 in which as many as 182,000 people were massacred, according to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) statistics.

Shirin miraculously escaped death after she was released by a pardon issued by the then Iraqi government.

However she was separated from her family and stayed with one of her aunts. Shirin never saw her father again.

 “I hadn’t lived with or even seen my mom and sister until I reached 9. I found them several years after the Anfal campaigns, but I never saw my father. Nothing has left from him, not even a photo or a piece of clothes to remind me of him. Till now I have hope that one day I will see him again”, she said unable to hold back her tears.

Despite all the pain and suffering I went through, I didn’t give up hope

Shirin’s story repeated itself; this time she became the mother of a son who lost his father before he was born.

Amad Kawa Garmiani was born only 17 days after his father was assassinated. He is present at all the commemoration ceremonies  yet he still doesn’t know what happened.

Kawa Garmiani was the editor-in-chief of (Rayal) magazine when he was shot dead before his mother’s eyes on December 5, 2013.

“When I went to the surgery room to give birth to Amad I was praying that I never see our newborn son just like Kawa, because he was very eager to see our son. As a new dad Kawa had great plans in his mind for our little son.”

Shirin Says her views of life changed after Amad was born. “As a mother, I will look after my son whatever tragedies get into my way; Amad is a precious present he left for me. I have tried my best to compensate the loss of his father.”

Amad is now 5 years old. When they ask him about his name at his kindergarten he says, “My name is Amad kawa Garmiani.”

“I have been trying to hide the truth about his father and why he was slain until he reaches a proper age to understand the truth.”

Shirin first met Kawa in a poetry seminar, where she was reading a poem about her anfalized father.

“I knew Kwa when I was at high school. In 2007 I read a poem dedicated for my father. Later Kawa published my poem in a newspaper.”

Shirin says that poem brought them together; later they became close friends before they got married.

“Before I met Kawa there was a gap in my life because I lived away from my family. Kawa reinvigorated my life when he proposed to me. I said yes with deep conviction, certain that I have made the right decision and have chosen the best man on earth; therefore we got married on December 12, 2012.”

Erbil- Shirin walks into the Kurdistan Region parliament to attend swearing-in ceremony, November 2018

Kawa Garmiani faced threats many times. His articles were mostly on corruption issues, particularly in Sulaimaniya’s Garmian area.

“In his reports, Kawa Garmiani was publishing the names of officials who were involved in corruption cases, which put his life in great danger”, said Shirin.

“They knew nothing but death will stop Kawa from disclosing their corruption dossiers; therefore they assassinated him.”

Shirin’s activities were no less than Kawa’s. Apart from her work in journalism she has been a strong advocate of women rights.

This year she had the opportunity to move her activities from the streets to the parliament; moreover she had her big goal in mind which is enlivening her husband’s memory.

“I will work to achieve Kawa’s dream at any cost so that they never think that by his death, his pen has been also broken”, said Shirin.

 Shirin Kawa Garmiani is at the start of the road. Now she can use the parliament to achieve what she has been calling for on the streets, particularly the rights of the Anfal victims and women’s causes.

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