Local refugee from Northern Iraq speaks out about unrest

Local refugee from Northern Iraq speaks out about unrest

Angelina Perez

Amarillo, TX- Political uprisings are taking over parts of the Middle East, and one Kurdistan refugee from Amarillo is speaking out about the changes needed in his home country.

Doctor Twana Othman came to the U.S. about a year ago but says his family and friends are still in Kurdistan.

He says the demonstrations started because the people of Kurdistan want to gain the basic human rights they lack.

Two people were killed when soldiers opened fire during a protest to end food and power shortages in Northern Iraq.

Just days later, demonstrators demanded an apology for the deaths, including the killing of a 15-year-old boy, Rezwan Ali.  

Othman says the death of this boy, only adds fuel to the fire.

"Everybody's angry about it, why you kill that kid, he's just 15-years-old," said Othman.

Along with protestors, media outlets are also being attacked.

It was reported Saturday morning, fifty armed men went to the headquarters of Northern Iraq's first independent television station, NRT, fired shots, then set the building on fire.  

Othman says it has not been confirmed but he believes the government played a part in the attack.  

"They say we don't know who did that, but it's really obvious, you cannot have 50 armed people go there and burn that TV station, and before that the manager of the TV station got so many phone calls, threatening them to stop what they are doing," added Othman.

Even with the attacks made against the media and protesters, Othman says why he continues to  speak out... "I'm doing it for my country, for my people, for my poor people. "

Othman says with the pressure added on local media,  people are following the Egyptians lead and using social media.  

"People saw what is going on in Tunisia, what's happened in Egypt and people communicate through Facebook asking, why we don't do it in Kurdistan because we have the same problem, like what the Egyptian people have," said Othman.

Othman  hopes changes will be made in Kurdistan so he can visit his home and see his people living more peacefully.

"I want to go back home, I mean everybody that came here, they want to go back home and live between the family and between friends, but you see that kind of act from the government which is really nasty and kill people that are asking for basic service and basic human rights," added Othman.

Othman says the Kurdish government makes it look like they are running a democracy but he says it is not democratic to kill protestors on the street.