When thinking about ‘villages’ what should come to your mind is greenery, refreshened scenery, cows, goats, horses but most certainly not bumpy roads and pollution. Ironically enough, in Kurdistan the only villages we pay attention to are known as ‘American villages’ and ‘English villages’ while forgetting our own villages. In 2012, Alliance For Kurdish Rights published a series of pictures highlighting how villages were neglected and were in dire need of governmental assistance. The villages highlighted were Kani Shwardi, Mam Chokhan, Baxcha and Darband.
Recently, I spoke to Rebin Fatah who works at the city but often travels to his own village to visit family and friends. In his village there are two oil companies operating, known as “Developing Taqtaq Oil Company (TTOPCO). Turkey’s Genel Energy and the Canadian Adax Petroleum have so far created their companies offices, and built oil pipelines. As a result, Rebin says they have occupied more than 400 acres of land in the village.
These two companies have given little regard or thought to the lives of villagers that have consequently become disrupted. One disruption includes the five security checkpoints set up, and the destruction of roads due to the impact oil trucks have on it. Rebin says the villagers are frustrated and have “protested on several occasions” but “promises were made, which were never upheld”. Consequently, these oil companies have become a burden on these villagers and ruined their quality of living.
Some of the problems caused by these oil companies include the dumping of oil remnants without usage of scientific measures. Rebin explained, “Oil is produced in large quantities in this area, and transported to Turkey through trucks and pipelines, official statements show that the pipeline exports 150,000 barrels per day”. Despite the benefit of oil production Rebin believes his village has been neglected, “The people here are forced to use unhealthy ways of uncovering water, and despite Taqtaq oil being one of the biggest producers of oil in Kurdistan, the villagers are not compensated for having to bare the consequences”.