Sunday, March 22
Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, has wished a ‘Happy Newroz’ on the day of an event to mark the festival in Finsbury Park.
Newroz predates all of the major religious festivals and means ‘new sun’ or ‘new day’. Particularly pertinent in this eclipse year, it heralds the start of the New Year for Kurds, and the feast of the Blacksmith Kawa: the traditional legend that forms the basis for the celebrations. Jean, who is also a patron of the ‘Peace in Kurdistan’ group, said in a speech today:
“I wish you a real peace process in Turkey.
“I hope for the end of the brutal conflict with Daesh, where the Kurdish people have bravely defended their values and independence.
“I hope you will vote for equality and justice across the planet in May.
“I wish you peace and happiness in your homes.
Because of the suppression of Kurd’s right to self-define, many started to leave Iraq and Turkey in the early 1990s. This means that Kurds in this country celebrating Newroz are not just marking a date – but a political occasion that reflects their own struggle for freedom.
The legend of Kawa and Newroz was set, as all great legends are, ‘a long time ago’ between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. Today, a cement ramp on a stretch of the Tigris serves as an official border crossing between Syria and Iraq. The Peshkhabour crossing sees friends and families torn apart while this conflict goes on, and an estimated 100 refugees cross into Iraq’s Kurdistan region each day. Around the same number of refugees resettled from Syria in the UK in the last year.