Dr.Omar Al Barzanji
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq is currently
Holder of a Bachelor of Laws Degree issued by the University of Baghdad in 1984, of a certificate of Dutch language, of a certificate issued by the International Institute for Criminal Sciences in Italy for solving conflicts, investigating the truth, education and the other subjects related to transitional justice in Iraq. Holder of a Master degree in political and diplomatic sciences from the Open University for Islamic Civilization, of a Doctor’s degree in Political and Diplomatic Sciences. Member of the Lawyer’s Syndicate, according to the ID no. 9872, lecturer within the European Institute for Human Rights in France / Netherlands for both Arabic Language and Islamic History during 2002 and 2003, Ambassador within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, Head of the Human Rights Department from 2004 until 26th of January 2009, lecturer within the Foreign Service Institute for the sessions 24, 25, 26, with special sessions for Human Rights and Arabic, supervisor for many Iraqi diplomats’ graduating researches, Ambassador of Iraq to Romania from 25th of may 2013 up to 5th of march 2015. Ambassador of Iraq in Lebanon from 27th of January 2009 and up to 5th of January 2013, member of the Academic Council of the House of Wisdom Canadian Open University, awarded with the Lebanese National Order of the Cedar Medal by His Excellency the President of Lebanon Michel Sleiman on April 18th, 2013, awarded with the gold medal of UNESCO in Lebanon, having received almost 200 awards from different official authorities, cultural, etc. in Iraq, Lebanon, Malaysia and Romania, head of the Iraqi delegation on occasion of the meetings of the Commission of Arab Juridical Experts – the Arab Permanent Committee for Human Rights within the League of Arab States in 2004, head of the Iraqi delegation on occasion of the Conference about Human Rights in Islam in 2005, member of the Iraqi delegation at the meetings of the 60th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2005, head of the Iraqi delegation at the meetings of the Human Rights Committee, at the UN headquarters in Geneva, from the 1st and up to the 9th session. He speaks several languages, such as Arabic, Kurdish, English, Dutch, Persian and Turkish; On 19th of April 2014 he was granted the diploma for “Best Ambassador to Romania” by the Institute for International Relations and Economic Cooperation.
Iraq has a rich heritage when it comes to civilization, history, languages and nature, as well as great men in the course of its history, among which there is an erudite of Iraqi origins, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, a man of great conscience, with great faith and affection for his country Iraq, and for each one of its citizens, without discrimination from North to South, or from East to West, believing in it since the very moment he opened his eyes over its dust and earth, over its sun and its bitter cold, and carrying a message, in the deepest folds of his heart and on the tip of his tongue, which shows that all he cares for, all he wishes and yearns for is his country’s freedom, emancipation, independence and stability. He is an exceptional poet, a politician with an honorable combatant attitude, a great intellectual, Iraqi in his heart, Kurdish in his ways; a combination which best reflects Iraq. His Excellency the Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Romania, Dr. Omer Berzinji. We have conducted this interview with dr. Omar barazinji during his tenure as Ambassador of the Republic of Iraq to Romania.
There is no doubt that Iraq has sent to Romania the best of its diplomacy, H.E. Dr. Omer Berzinji, to fulfill his mission, and we’ve come to know this during his mission in Lebanon, when he has shown the real face of Iraq, by performing his mission in the best possible way. This is what he proved to the Lebanese officials, during his stay in Lebanon.
Mr. Ambassador, could you tell us about the Romanian-Iraqi relations and their main twists?
The Iraqi Romanian relations go back 56 years from now. In October 2013, we’ve celebrated the 55th anniversary of the Iraqi-Romanian relations and Romania has a permanent place in the minds of Iraqis, it has a deep-rooted history of culture and civilization, while Iraq is the cradle of civilizations. After the fall of the previous regime, in 2003, Iraq resumed its relations with the rest of the countries, among which Romania, and the first Iraqi Ambassador after the fall of the regime in Romania was H.E. Mr. Adel Murad, who reopened the Embassy after the interruption. He was followed by H.E. Mr. Muhammad Saeed Al-Shakarchi and then, on May 27th, 2013, I was named Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq to Romania. Since my arrival in Romania and until now, I have made great efforts in order to turn the relations’ wheel forward in an efficient way. Since my arrival to Romania, several agreements were signed between the Iraqi and Romanian ministries and many twinning agreements were ratified between Iraqi and Romanian provinces. The main events were the celebration of the 55th anniversary of Iraqi-Romanian relations and me being awarded with the certificate of “Best Ambassador to Romania for 2013” after only 7 months since the beginning of my mission in Romania. The award was granted to me in one of the main halls of the Parliament building, on behalf of the Institute for International Relations and Economic Cooperation and the Romanian Senate, in presence of the vice-president of the Romanian Senate and a large number of Parliament members, Ambassadors and diplomats. I had announced the Romanian and Iraqi media about this event and the news appeared in more languages, among which Romanian, English, Arabic and Kurdish.
Apart from this, I constantly participated to all the political, diplomatic, cultural, social and scientific celebrations. Among other activities, I held numerous meetings with my colleagues the Arab ambassadors, with the members of the Iraqi community, with Iraqi students and so on.
What is your involvement in the civil and legal problems concerning the Iraqis in Romania? What is the role played by the Embassy in these matters?
We act according to the context and the laws, defending the Iraqis’ rights and making sure, during all our meetings, that the laws and customs are observed.
From your point of view, which is the main objective which creates a permanent connection between the communities and the peoples in this area?
It is appropriate that I start my answer by mentioning a verse of the Holy Qur’an, saying: “We have created you man and woman and we have made you into peoples and tribes, so that you come to know that the most noble of you is the most pious”. According to what is shown in this verse, we know why God the Almighty divided us into peoples and tribes (for us to know each other), and we support the positive assimilation of communities by the Romanian people, and we encourage the cooperation for good purposes and in the service of men and countries and for scientific development and rebuilding the earth.
Could you tell us about your diplomatic mission and your trip to Lebanon?
How could I talk in brief about the 4 years and a half spent in Lebanon, the dear country that I won’t forget for as long as I live? Yes, four years and a half being in touch with the beauty of Lebanon, with its confessions, with its earth and water, with its mountains and valleys, with its politics and culture, taking part in its literary, religious and public conferences. Every day I receive news about Lebanon, of which, on the last day of my mission, on January 5th, 2013, I have said a word I am very satisfied with…
“My dear Lebanon, my parting with you tastes bitter. I came to you with a mission and I leave you being in love with you, now that I know the secret of your scholars and great men, and if I could hug your mountains and sea, your pastures and most beautiful valleys I would be charmed. I wanted to know which of your seasons was the most beautiful and I was dazzled to find out that all times of year in here are unequaled. Each time I glanced at something of yours, everything smiled at me, while we are only sons of man and only our faces can smile…will I be able to stand the separation from you, after all this love and all the impressions and yearning I left with? May God protect you from all evil and troubles, you, the most beautiful country created by God, you, Iraq’s twin, how bitter is the parting…know that we, the same as you, have pastures and mountains, we have the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates, and the wondrous beauties of Kurdistan, and in the South the Marshlands, the almond trees and the tall palm trees.”
Your Excellency, March is the month of goodness and love, the month we celebrate Women’s Day, but what does it represent for the Kurdish people?
It is the month of spring, of beauty, of vegetation, of waters and life, the month of birds and all living creatures, and the greatest gift for Kurds, especially, is Nowruz, which is equivalent to a National Day for the Kurdish people, and is celebrated every year on 21st of March. Nowruz means “the new day”, as it is a celebration with a special meaning, related to the defeat of the unjust king Dahak, more than 27 centuries ago. Nevertheless, the former regime, which was a corrupt and unjust one, turned our spring into a sea of blood, stained by the most abominable crimes against the Kurdish people, within the so-called Al-Anfal Campaign, and by throwing chemical bombs over Halabja, and so on; also, 8000 members of the Barzani family were killed on the same occasion.
As for the woman and Women’s Day, she is a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and she represents half of the society and the mother of the other half. She is a synonym to offering, affection, mercy and kindness, and she is the one who brings life, so how could we exist or live without her? She deserves all our respect and appreciation. The Kurdish woman is brave, she knows her rights very well and she doesn’t give up. She has her own place in the Parliament and the Government and in all the other organizations, and this is, mainly, the description of all Iraqi women as well.
One last word?
I wish to visit Lebanon when the time comes and to meet all my dear ones living there. Lebanon cannot be forgotten.