“I’m 62 years old, and I have been waiting for this day since I was 7,” said one voter. Khaki tunic, kefiah tied around the head, he comes out of the seat with the right index raised. That finger, stained with ink, is the distinctive trait of those who went to the polls and the icon of a day that many in these parts were expecting for “as a rebirth.”
“I endured everything. Independence is the only thing I was waiting for.”
Some have waited almost a century: A 96-year-old lady came down to Erbil from the mountains to participate in the referendum that asked the Kurdish people how they wanted to live. With knuckled hands clinging to a stick, grasping the arm of the daughter who accompanied her to give her answer.
She was born a year after the signing of the Treaty of Sèvres that included the promise — merely on paper — to create an independent Kurdish state. The Kurdish claims are rooted in the betrayal of that promise. On Monday, 3.5 million voters went to the polls.