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Kurdistan

Islamic Arab Iraq? What about others?
Warning in a season of peace

December 21, 2004
iranian.com

The Iraqi Prime Minister has reportedly stated, "Iraq will remain an Islamic Arab state" (kurdistanobserver.com, Dec.19, 2004). I was initially disappointed by Mr. Allawi's statement, and then I thought he deserves an appreciation for his warning! I doubt that a well-educated leader such as Mr. Allawi, would prefer the rule of religion for all Iraqis. I assume he is just attentive to the wishes of some of his constituents.

While the majority of Arabs in Iraq might well desire an Islamic Arab state, to my knowledge and with due respect to Arabs and Muslims, the majority of Kurds do not identify themselves as Arabs, nor recognize Islam as the answer to the challenges they face in this era, even if many of them have integrated Islamic form of spirituality into their private life.

I hope that the Kurdish leaders in Iraq also pay attention to their constituents, who expressed their wish in a referendum signed by over 1.7 million people. Hopefully the Iraqi people do not have to go through the same horror that Iranian and Afghanis went through during the past few decades!

In the late 1970s the Kurds in Iran were poorly informed and not warned by Iranian leaders in Paris, Qom, and Tehran and regretfully participated in the Iranian revolution. Soon they noticed that a mildly ill monarchy has been transformed into a malignant religious republic, which had no mercy for those who were not conforming.

The new president of this republic, who a few years later had to flee back to Paris himself, had told his soldiers not to take their boots off until they have suppressed the Kurdish uprising for autonomy completely. Still it is difficult for many Kurds to forget scenes in which Kurdish cities and villages were being bombed and burning people in fire were screaming for help.

Needless to say that the horror was not necessarily related to Islam but to the ideology of Semi Arabic and Islamic clergy in Iran, who believe that Islam and Arabic culture are sacred, superior, and answer everyone's need.

The malignancy in Iran apparently started to spread to the rest of the world. At that time the Iranian Kurds neither had received a warning nor were supported by the international community; now that the Iraqi Kurdish leaders are fortunate to be warned by Mr. Allawi and are relatively supported by the one and the only superpower, it will be difficult to justify a possible mistake of not taking the warning seriously.

To my understanding the majority of the Kurds prefer a secular government, which guarantees self-determination and a right to choose between a federative state and few independent states. However, if Iraq were heading in the direction that Mr. Allawi is suggesting, I am wondering why should the Kurds not learn form the past and allow their history to repeat itself.

If the Kurdish identity and aspiration is ignored again, why should Kurdish leaders ignore this unique historic opportunity and not declare independence now? For now let's hope that Mr. Allawi is a professional politician with good intentions and is only making this statement to calm some of his constituents who might lack tolerance for freedom! If this is not the case, let's hope the Kurdish leadership mobilizes all the Kurds to participate in a movement of Gandhi's style for an ultimate liberation.

Above all let's hope for a peaceful transition in the Middle East especially in this season when many cultures celebrate victory of light over darkness in ceremonies such as Kwanzaa, Yalda, Hanukah, Christmas etc! Let's wish a happy holiday to all of those, who celebrate this season for humanistic and peaceful missions of their belief system and not to claim that their cultural norms are superior to others people's values!

About
Kamal H. Artin, MD, is from the Kurdish-American Education Society in Orange County, California.

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