Kurdistan Region President delivers a speech at the reception of Dr. Najmadin Karim’s body

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region, November 6, 2020

In an official ceremony held at the Erbil International Airport to receive the body of the late Dr. Najmadin Karim, the former governor of Kirkuk, Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani delivered a speech honoring Dr. Karim’s legacy. Kurdistan Region senior officials, dignitaries and family members of the late governor were present. Dr. Karim’s body was flown from the United States to the Kurdistan Region where he will be, temporarily, laid to rest in Pirmam sub-district.
Below is the text of the speech:

Honorable Guests,
My fellow Kurdistanis:

Today, we receive and honor the body of an accomplished personality and a true champion of Kurdistan, Dr. Najmadin Karim. We pay tribute to him with great sorrow, but also with utmost pride. Dr. Najmadin Karim lived with dignity, and every one of us can remember him as a man of great dignity. Today, we proudly receive and honor his body.

Dr. Karim was a brave and dauntless man. A bravery he had inherited from his Kirkuki and Garmiyani origin. And it was his courage that eventually led him to take historic positions throughout his life and career.

Dr. Karim became a member of the Kurdistan Students Union well before completing the medical school in Iraq. After graduating and without hesitation, the late doctor became a Peshmerga and joined the September Revolution of 1961; serving as a physician. After a short period of time, he was able to gain the trust of Mustafa Barzani, the leader of the Revolution. In the wake of the setback of the revolution, Dr. Karim participated in the preparations for the Gulan Revolution of 1976. And when Mustafa Barzani fell ill, Dr. Karim accompanied him as a physician to the United States.

In the United States, Dr. Karim completed his higher education in medicine and became a board certified specialist in Neurosurgery. He had a high standing within academia as well and made use of his position as a renowned surgeon to reach out and find supporters for the Kurdish cause. He tried to garner ever-greater support for the legitimate rights of the people of Kurdistan. Dr. Karim won lots of friends for the Kurdish Cause and continuously assisted the visiting delegations from Kurdistan to reach out and meet with US officials. Through his uninterrupted strive for Kurdistan, he also developed lasting friendships and ties with political groups and parties from other parts of greater Kurdistan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2009, Dr. Karim returned to Kurdistan and became a politburo member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. He was a trusted confidant of the late Mam Jalal Talabani and served President Mam Jalal compassionately.

Dr. Karim was in love with Kirkuk. He would often say that for him, Kirkuk was like his heart. When he took office as Kirkuk governor in April 2011, he served Kirkuk wholeheartedly. He was never tired of working for Kirkuk and the Kirkukis. Under his leadership, Kirkuk Governorate witnessed a quantum boom in development and service projects. Nearly 600 schools were built; there were no longer crowded schools, some with three shift attendance. Almost 30 medical centers were built and %70 of the streets in Kirkuk’s inner-city were reconstructed. In addition, the Azadi Hospital was thoroughly renovated, and a large modern hospital was built in Hawija town. The Slemani-Kirkuk-Baghdad roads were reconstructed, the Kirkuk- Erbil road was rebuilt into dual carriageway and the Khasajay Dam was constructed. Every year nearly 400 projects were implemented in Kirkuk.

Dr. Karim served all communities in Kirkuk regardless of ethnicity. At the same time, he knew that Kirkuk is the central issue in the disagreements with Iraq, which is why he strived to resolve the disagreements with outmost devotion in close coordination with President Masoud Barzani and President Jalal Talabani.

In many of these projects in Kirkuk, which were completed with our support from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Dr. Karim would come and speak with us about them and he would insist passionately to get our support in implementing the projects there. He tried ardently to solve Kirkuk’s issues. He knew Kirkuk was the main and fundamental problem between the Iraqi government and the KRG. Unfortunately, since Iraqi parties have not been committed to the implementation of the article 140 of the constitution, this problem is still pending and has greatly damaged all of Iraq.

As we stand before the body of Dr. Karim today, once again we reiterate that the question of Kirkuk and the disputed territories must be resolved peacefully, with dialogue and on the basis of the Iraqi constitution. The longer this issue is delayed, the more complicated the problem becomes. Once again we call for talks, based on the constitution, to resolve these issues.

Dear attendees,
Dr. Najmadin Karim left us after a life full of good work and accomplishments. Once again, I offer my and the Kurdistan Region Presidency’s condolences and sympathies to the family, relatives and the beloved people of Kirkuk and to all the people of Kurdistan.
According to Dr. Karim’s will, he will be laid to rest in Erbil temporarily and we hope that his wish to return his body to Kirkuk is realized in the near future. Hopefully the circumstances become conducive so that we be able to return Dr. Karim’s body to Kirkuk.
Thank you all for attending.





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