Kurdistan Region President leads mourners in receiving the body of the late Erbil Governor

- 19 November 2020

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, November 19, 2020

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani attended a state ceremony organized in Erbil International Airport to receive the body of the Governor of Erbil, Dr. Firsat Sofi. A large number of government officials, dignitaries, diplomats, representatives of all the Kurdistan Region communities attended the ceremony. President Nechirvan Barzani delivered a speech eulogizing the late governor. Below is the text of the speech:

Honorable guests,
Family and relatives of the late Dr. Firsat Sofi,
Honorable people of Erbil,
My fellow Kurdistanis,

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we, today, receive the body of Dr. Firsat Sofi, the Governor of Erbil. Dr. Firsat’s life was short, but was full of work and achievements. Dr. Firsat bid farewell to us far too early and passed away young, but left us an ideal image of an accomplished figure full of life. He was the embodiment of proficiency, honesty, patriotism, and devotion.

Dr. Firsat’s passionate will to share people’s grieves and pains and his relentless efforts to improve the management of public services, made him a beloved public figure for all of us.
Yesterday, President Masoud Barzani wrote: “I lost a son.”
Kurdistan’s public figures, communities, Erbil-based Consul Generals, and diplomats have all remembered Dr. Firsat with respect and dignity. Many people in Erbil and across Kurdistan described him as a shining star in the sky of Erbil. Anyone who has earned the love and approval of people, who cares about his people and homeland, is also loved by the Almighty God and is granted His mercy and blessings.

Honorable guests,
During the September Revolution of the 1960s, the family and relatives of Dr. Firsat lived in the Peshmerga-controlled liberated areas of Kurdistan. The Gazna village near Choman sub-district was an important shelter for the families of the Peshmerga. The people of the village supported the revolution and the Peshmerga. The family of Dr. Firsat were part of the Revolution and supported it massively. This is also the reason that their village, along with thousands of other villages in Kurdistan, was leveled to the ground by the Ba’ath regime with its inhabitants forcefully settled in concentration camps in the then Diyna sub-district.

Dr. Firsat was born and raised in such a patriot family. His passion for reading helped him to acquire vast knowledge at a very young age, which is why he so swiftly rose through the ranks of the Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (KDP) Students’ Union. Due to his proficiency, seriousness, and devotion in all his assigned missions, Dr. Firsat was entrusted evermore.

When he ran for the Kurdistan Parliament, he became a member with great margins and votes, and while in the parliament, Dr. Firsat won the trust of even greater numbers of people, particularly because of his vast knowledge in law. He had a great role in leading the discussions and writing of the laws that were issued in the Kurdistan Parliament in the past. And also because of his closeness to the public and the underprivileged segments of society, Dr. Firsat realized the shortcomings more accurately and tried consistently to support greater reforms and offset inadequacies in administrative affairs, which made him even more beloved among the people of Kurdistan.

His maintained good relations with Kurdistan Region’s political parties, his efforts to ease tensions among them, and his ability to communicate with people made him an obvious candidate to take the office of the governor in the capital of the Kurdistan Region. Unfortunately, his term in office was extremely short, otherwise, the people of Erbil and Kurdistan would have witnessed greater contributions by Dr. Firsat’s to public services.

Dr. Firsat was appointed on October 16, 2019, after receiving a presidential decree. On the first day of taking office, he started working actively. He led many projects energetically and paid equal attention to both inner-city quarters and the deprived areas in the suburbs, remote towns, and villages. He always tried to prioritize the underprivileged areas for services and used to tell me that the shortages of funds and resources hindered him from better serving Erbil and Kurdistan.

Dr. Firsat was once tested positive for coronavirus and recovered. But he got infected again and as of October 19th, he took a sick leave, as he was unable to continue working. Unfortunately, he passed away yesterday morning after battling COVID-19 for a month.

Honorable guests,
I would like to thank you all for attending this ceremony. I thank the people of Erbil and all of Kurdistan for their affinity and empathy. I thank all the diplomats and foreign representatives present here with us for and appreciate their sympathy with the people of Kurdistan. I thank all the political parties of Kurdistan and Iraq for participating in this ceremony. I would especially like to thank H.E Prime Minister Mustafa Al- Kadhimi for sending his representative to be present with us. I very much appreciate his participation.

Dr. Firsat’s name will forever remain in the memory of the people of Kurdistan and Erbil as a highly competent and devoted person. We pray that His Almighty God bestows mercy upon his soul and grant comfort and patience to his mother, wife, children, brothers, relatives, and all of us.

Once again thank you very much for attending this ceremony. Your sympathy and presence are greatly appreciated.
Farewell Dr. Firsat.