Washington Kurdish Institute
February 9, 2017
The gruelling life of a Kurdish smuggler, a report by BBC world upsets the Iranian regime for revealing the daily painful life that Kurds are living under the Islamic Revolution. The report highlights the conditions of the Koblars (Border Porters) on the Iraqi-Iranian border.
The BBC reporter Jiyar Gol speaks of an elderly Kurdish man who talks about his daily wage, which is equivalent to $ 10-12 a day after a back-breaking work. The Kurdish man appears to have a swollen face due to a recent stroke he suffered, but he is unable to receive treatment because of the expensive cost that he can’t afford working as a porter.
After releasing the report, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported that the Iranian intelligence bureau called the elderly man and threatened him with revoking his work permit. The Kurdish man Khazer Askarzadeh told KHRN “I tried to explain to them [intelligence officers] that the BBC journalists filmed me on the soil of another country [Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq].”
“You have humiliated our country. We won’t give you back your card [work permit] because of this attitude of yours’.” An Iranian officer said to Askarzadeh. Kurdish Kolbars often have been the target of the regime’s guards.
Kolbar is a term referred to those who work as porters for smugglers on the border areas to carry heavy items such as TVs, heaters, cigarettes, tires, clothing, textiles, drinks, etc. on their back from Iraqi Kurdistan to Iranian Kurdistan and vice versa for a low wage. Border police, landmines, and rivers are the main causes of their death.
The Iranian regime continues the repressive policies on the Kurdish minority in the country. Hundreds of Kurdish political activists remain in the country’s prisons without trials while some desperately need urgent medical care. Kurdish youth are arrested for posting on social media. The regime guards also target animals in the Kurdish areas.
In 2016, 165 Kurds from political prisoners, border porters, civilians and members of opposition groups have been killed by shootings or execution. Due to the regime’s persecution, many inhumane stories aren’t reported against the minorities in the country.