by: Bahman A. Hassan
April 2011 was a special month for Kurdistan. Not because 10 people were killed and hundreds were wounded, but because people started to speak and voice the injustices. People were deceived by western institutions, meetings with US officials and nightclubs with Turkish girls. Kurdistan became a safe battle filled, where elites of tribe and political leaders have controlled everything, starting from oil contracts, mosques to educational institutions including universities. Anyone visited Kurdistan have believed that this region was exemplary a masterpiece of a group of revolutionary leaders.
In the spur of a moment, stability, democracy, and prosperity, all together faced a crushing challenge. After two months of continuous demonstrations, all these slogans became uncovered and people saw the essence of these fancies.
However, many belittled the consequences, now people discuss every topic, including the ones that for years have been forbidden. For more than 60 days people from all ranks came out to the streets and voiced what they needed. Nothing, in fact changed, except the April events wakened the political parties and showed the souls who are loaded with ideas into change.
AUIS fears of endangering its credibility; thus, the administration wanted to stop students and not to join Azadi Square. Soon AUIS withdrew and denied all the accusations that were in the local media. “We give students freedom to participate in any activity outside the university.” was the argument made after the local media accused AUIS of restricting students’ boundaries. This, perhaps, is part of what students have experienced in the “most liberal university” in the history of the region. Students at Azadi Square, were chanting, “Freedom, equality, and democracy.” few of the dogmas that AUIS is trying to teach its students. Perchance, I shall not reject these ideas, yet I rather want to ask, why AUIS couldn’t let these ideas to be practiced in reality?
I may be able to answer part of this question. According to the information that SET could attain, more than 50 percent of AUIS’s income comes from Kurdistan Regional Government, which its PM is the founder and head of AUIS’s Board of Trustees. People were calling for his resignation; this was not a jock that was to be heard around AUIS. The threat on the government was the threat on AUIS, and anyone could tell this form the face of AUIS faculty members. Closing this private university paid by KRG was almost becoming reality. Hence, the ironic restrictions by AUIS were understandable.
Luck or more better to say bullet was in favor of both AUIS and KRG. The demonstrations were resolved and suppressed when gun-power put into work. When the demonstrations resolved, participants, journalists and activists faced serious threats. Threats continued to prolong and even increased. This seems to be the case at AUIS as well. Recently, this blessed institution have involved in this filthy game.
When students organized their march and joined Azadi Square, many teachers have joined students. They supported what students supported and they showed their sympathy. Some of them participated in the demonstrations and wrote about what was happening to inform outsiders. For the sake of their safety we refuse to give their names. This never being what the administration wants; thus, now the university is putting pressure on them. They have been called in and asked not to interact with students because, “it is not in the favor of the university”.
Now, AUIS under the pressure of some pro-ruling students is putting pressure on the instructors who partook with the students in the demonstrations. This is an unfair game and AUIS must stop this.
Unfortunately, from the beginning AUIS suffered from personal preferences. Though, the university claims to have concert rules and unchangeable standards, this never being what we have experienced in reality. One not favored by the administration was always vulnerable to be dismissed. Lamentably, this image still exists.
The fight between neo-cons and conservatives, sex scandals and constant back clashes with those who left AUIS, can show the internal conflicts among AUIS faculty members. Thus, anyone upholding an idea smells different from the ones of Green Zone will not have a space at AUIS. Via an ironic hereditary system, the father and daughter, wife and husband and brother and sister, serve at AUIS. This doesn’t matter as long as they don’t smell a mixture of sweat and garlic, in other word as long as they are not “having” anything against the administration they will be “fine”.
AUIS does not have any right to put pressure of any of its students and teachers. The university is gravely suffering from the lack of “qualified instructors”, and with it will change nothing. Now many are on the go-list (SET will soon publish few of them), which will leave AUIS with nothing other than last moment-hiring, as it is the costume. It’s time for AUIS to stop teasing students and teacher and concentrate on the university needs as an educational institution not a political reckoning arena.