Bravery, selflessness and sacrifice of the Peshmerga – words are easy, real deeds are not

Bravery, selflessness and sacrifice are easy words on the tongue but on the battlefield in the midst of bullets, mortar fire, machine guns and all sorts of explosive devices, these virtues and actions cannot be portrayed by mere words. We live in a day and age where some people will not sacrifice $50 for their poor neighbor let alone his life for his country, where someone will not intervene in a gross injustice in the streets in front of their very eyes for fear of reprisal.

This week we received the tragic news of another Peshmerga martyr in our family fighting the Islamic State (IS). The dedicated, passionate, loyal and long-serving Peshmerga, Ibrahim Sabir Ismaeel, was killed by a mine-trap left by the ever vicious and inhumane IS forces.

Leaving behind his wife, sons and daughters, not to mention his elderly and grieving parents, the hundreds of Peshmerga such as Ibrahim face the enemy not with mere words but real actions and in the face of the ultimate sacrifice.

I grew up in the devastating war of the 80’s against the Kurds. I may not have fought or held a gun but the tragic circumstances of those years will forever live in my memory. Witnessing the destruction of your village, been left homeless, believing that your father was dead for many years and seeing the bodies of scores of relatives executed by Saddam or killed in battle are not memories that simply vanish.

My father was confined to been disabled from a young age after been severely wounded as a Peshmerga. His mobility, health and sense of enjoyment in life were never the same. But it’s a sacrifice that he and thousands of other Peshmerga have made.

He often tells me the tales of battle of the Peshmerga forces. The tales are harrowing enough to listen to let alone for someone actually in the heat of battle under fierce gun-fire, knowing that with every battle they may pay the ultimate price and never see their families again.

2014 will be year that will serve in the memory of all Kurds much like the massacre of Halabja in 1988 or the Kurdish uprising in 1991. It’s a war that no Kurd asked for and most Kurds never imagined will return to their much scarred and blood-soaked lands.

Kurdistan was an island of peace and stability, far from the destruction and sectarian violence in Iraq or later in Syria. IS may have broken more mothers hearts but not the valor and determination of the Kurds. There are armies much stronger and tougher than IS that failed to break down the will and spirit of the Kurds and IS will be defeated.

As we enter 2015, we hope and pray for a peaceful dawn in Kurdistan and that dark forces such as IS will be swiftly broken and forever purged from these lands.

Our great gratitude, appreciation and debt will forever linger for the brave Peshmerga that sacrifice so much to protect these lands.

First Published: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: Various Misc.