LA W AN
In the year 1945 Reza Shah, who was the power in Iran, ruled the country with an Iron-fist repression and the people of Iran demanded reforms.
In the times under the Reza Shah’s regime, the Kurds in Iran were oppressed and persecuted by the Iranian powers, which has continued until the present day. They were not allowed to speak Kurdish in schools or in other public places.
Especially the Kurdish villages were under strict supervision and were controlled by the Iranian military. All political parties’ activities and desires for a Kurdish autonomy and political influence were strictly prohibited. In short terms the Kurdish population was imprisoned outside the walls.
After World War II, the history of the Kurds changed, when Iran became occupied by the Allied forces in 1941, the Kurdish part remained as “nobody’s land“. The people saw an opportunity in it and began to organize themselves to form an independent Kurdish state for the first time in history. With time it wakes a stronger national feeling among the Kurdish people and more and more are beginning to engage in the political activities. This led to the foundation of Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) on August 16, 1945 with Qazi Muhammad as the first leader.
This party, which was the first Kurdish party in Iran, attracted a large number of young people who desired to introduce democracy and a self-governed Kurdistan, with enormous support from Qazi Muhammad and the PDKI, those young people were organized in a youth union organization that was the first Kurdish youth union organization in history. The organization officially founded in 1946 in the city of Mahabad and it’s called “Yeketi Lawani Hizbi Democrati Kurdistani Iran“, meaning “democratic youth union of Iranian Kurdistan“
On 22 January 1946, Qazi Muhammad declared Republic of Kurdistan, of which he formally became president. The Republic of Kurdistan lasted less than a year: after the USSR retreated from the area, the Imperial Iranian army first reclaimed Iranian Azerbaijan, followed by Mahabad on 15 December 1946. After the fall of the Republic of Kurdistan, President Qazi Mohammed and his colleagues were captured by the Iranian regime.
On March 30, 1947, he and two of his closest colleagues were executed in the same place that the year before he had declared in the Republic, and they were left hanging for more than two days.
During the Republic of Kurdistan which lasted for barely a year, Lawan (democratic youth union of Iranian Kurdistan) had a remarkable role until the fall of the Republic of Kurdistan, they stood side by side with PDKI, and they marked their active participation in the form of various cultural and political activities to strengthen the Kurdish self-governed. With PDKI’s support and help, Lawan become an exclusive organization in the various Kurdish cities in a short period of time. Before the fall of the Republic of Kurdistan, Lawan had managed to establish a free school for the Kurdish children so that they were given the opportunity to learn their own language. Among other things, they offered an offer to their members who were giving a scholarship to students so that they could study in abroad.
After the fall of the Kurdish Republic, many of Lawan’s members and followers were killed, arrested and imprisoned by the Iranian regime. The organization got a serious back fall after this event, the remaining members had to fight for their cause in secret as before the republic. After this heroism, the Kurdish people gathered again, the party that Qazi Muhammad had formed had now become the only way to a new Kurdish ruled state in Iran, after some time many of Lawan’s members joined PDKI’s guerrilla forces, and became Peshmerga.
In 1979, Shah had to flee and the religious leader Khomeini came to power after the Iranian Revolution, he declared Iran to be an Islamic republic who should be ruled after the Quran (sharia laws). His military forces imprisoned both liberals and democrats and communists.
During the revolution, Lawan utilized the political fights during the revolt, Lawan committee traveled to the different Kurdish cities and villages to establish new division of the democratic youth union, Lawan urged the Kurdish youth to attend the Revolution, The result was that they participated actively and with great involvement. They had been tired of with the situation that the Kurds were in and had enough of being oppressed by the Shah, now they had the opportunity to influence the political situation.
for almost three years after the revolution, Lawan’s members worked freely without fear of being arrested or killed, In those three years, they became bigger and bigger, since they did not have to work hidden, they could easily reach Kurdish youths and spread their message among people, a message of allowing the Kurds to gain autonomy in their territories, About the freedom to establish political and cultural organizations. The message was that within the Kurdish areas the administration language should be Kurdish, women and men should have equal rights, they would simply give the Kurdish children and youth a bright future, these messages and goals were just part of what Lawan fought for.
It did not take long to discover that the new Islamic regime was as dictatorial and power-hungry as the previous regime. Once again all political and cultural activities that fought for the Kurds rights were covered and hidden, many Kurds that suspected of political activity were imprisoned, tortured and executed. Some of Kurdish villages were destroyed and the population deported, the Kurdish areas were for long time closed to international press and foreign human rights organizations.
In September 1979, PDKI decided to go on war against the Iranian regime after the Islamic regime declared the “holy war“ against the Kurdish population. For many years, PDKI fought in the villages but eventually they had to flee to neighboring Iraq to continue the armed struggle against oppression and injustice. Most of Lawan’s members merge with PDKI and fought in the same way as PDKI members.
During the war many young boys and girls were killed, youths who believed in a principle of democracy were killed because they had a dream of belonging to their own country, They were imprisoned and tortured because they would be create their future, they had to flee their own motherlands because of they would fight for the Kurdish people’s struggle against repression.
Today Lawan as an organization scattered over the whole world, the Lawan’s headquarters is in Koya, southern Kurdistan. Lawan has committee in Europe, Canada, USA and Australia. Now Lawan activities has become very broad and versatile. But now their messages and goals are more cultural than political.
Lawan had a historic year for the first time held his first annual meeting (congress) on December 26, 2000 in Kurdistan. The departments of the various countries had sent their representatives to participate and decide on matters relating to Lawan. Now a yearly meeting is held every second years in Kurdistan, where a leader is chosen.
Ever since the foundation of Lawan in 1946, they fought for the Kurdish people’s rights, freedom, democracy and autonomy in Iran. Lawan believes that we, like all other nations, have the right to have our own country.