Thank you Prime Minister, Sir John Major, Minister, your excellencies, my colleagues and all the speakers today.
I have the privilege of bringing our event to a close today, and it is an honour to join this most esteemed group of people sharing first-hand their memories of the events of 30 years ago.
30 years ago the U.K under Sir John Major’s leadership, refused to sit by in silence.
Refused to let the Kurdish people be silenced.
It is common for us to say never again and never forget.
And that should be true in this case
The actions of 30 years ago should serve as a memory that when we act according to our values, when we refuse to sit by, and when the international community is united in its efforts and certain of its ends, we can save lives.
By recognising our responsibilities to the Kurdish people, the international community saved tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives. It was a bright spot of humanitarian leadership in a decade too often filled with atrocities that went unprevented.
It was wonderful to hear such a variety of contributions.
The KRG High Representative and Our Consul General raised how we must support the Kurdish people to be masters of their own destinies and that we have many shared interests, from our security to the prosperity of Kurdistan and the region
The foreign minister spoke about the experiences of the Kurds who lived here in exile, and as we all know, it is not uncommon to hear a South London accent while visiting Kurdistan, and how the British people, not just the govt wanted to stand by the Kurdish people
My colleague Jason spoke of the pride of our servicemen in enforcing the no fly zone and safe haven whilst
It was moving to hear Captain Tom Hardy Forsyth bring to life the reality of what servicemen were confronted by on the ground
I wish to thank Gary Kent for bringing together today’s fantastic event with Ambassador Karwan, he rightfully raised that together we can support an even brighter future for Kurdistan.
And we heard from my colleague Nadhim Zahawi, of his recollections of fighting for justice for his people. He also spoke about how the Kurdish people made up the front line, protecting the world from Daesh. I was personally privileged to have worked with the Global Coalition Against Daesh and the Kurdish people, and it was my time in Erbil which introduced me to the beauty of the Kurdish culture.
Kurdistan provides an oasis of freedom and kindness to those in need. Safety to refugees of all creeds and Prime Minister Barzani discussed the ways in which Kurdistan opens its arms as a safe haven to others.
Finally, Sir John rightfully spoke about the beauty of Kurdistan, of Kurdistan in Spring time and the responsibilities we have to stand by our friends and allies.
He is right to do so, because too often when we speak of our Kurdish friends and allies, it is to speak of atrocities, of memories than will never be, and of conflict and facing threats as brothers and sisters in arms.
All of us know there is more to be done to stand by our Kurdish friends and allies, and indeed to protect them from those who seek to silence them. But for all of us here, Kurdistan and its people represent strength, beauty, and a joy and pride in a culture and nation that we want more people to know, experience and come to love.
I was but three years old when the events we discussed today took place, and I say this because it is vital that we educate our younger generations about the atrocities our friends have faced, and how we as a nation, if we remain true to our values, can marshall the int’l community and together save lives.
I thank you Sir John Major for all you did to enable the British people to hold our heads high, and for every family you saved and every memory that has been created in Kurdistan thanks to all you did.
It’s is a well known phrase, that sadly too often has been true: the Kurds have no friends but the mountains
But I say to the Kurdish people, I hope today demonstrates in some small way, that 30 years on, in the U.K. you will always have a friend.
A friend who is grateful for your friendship and who will stand with you.
May the Kurdish sun never set.
We thank you for your friendship, it is a blessing.