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Mad in Mahabad
Recent uprising in the Eastern part of Kurdistan might be counterproductive if it loses peaceful character


August 3, 2005

Depending on the circumstances the peak of Kurdish movement has shifted from one to another part of Kurdistan. Uprisings under the leadership of Malik Mahmood, Mustafa Barzani, Simko, Ghazi Muhamad, Sheikh Said, and Ocalan are a few examples of such a shift.

The remarkably peaceful movement in Southern (Iraqi) Kurdistan during the past decade has been much more productive than previous movements. However, it has stimulated a few other counter productive uprisings in Eastern (Iranian), Northern (Turkish), and Western (Syrian) parts of Kurdistan, which have been brutally suppressed.

The purpose of this article is to argue that the recent uprising in the Eastern part of Kurdistan might also be counterproductive, if it loses its passive and peaceful character. After 11 months of the first self-ruled modern Kurdish state, the Republic of Mahabad was overthrown in 1946 and its leaders hang in public by shah's supporters.

A new movement came to existence under the leaderships of Kurdish organizations such as the Democratic Party of Kurdistan-Iran (PDKI) and Komala, as well as some semi Kurdish groups and religious personalities such as Sheikh Ezzadin and Ahmed Muftizdaeh in the 1970s. This movement was also shot down by religious fundamentalists in the early 1980s.

Due to their nobility or "naivety" two prominent PDKI leaders, Ghasemloo and Sharsafkandi, even tried to negotiate with the Iranian government. However, both were assassinated on the negotiation table in Vienna 1988 and in Berlin in 1992 respectively.

Recently Iranians elected as president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man allegedly involved in the assassination of Dr. Ghasemloo. The outlook of this president symbolizes simplicity and being financially disadvantaged, which might suggest that he would understand those who have been discriminated against. However, if the allegation is true, he might be too dangerous to world civilization.

To prevent a disaster, the best that could happen would be for this "revolutionary" president to make history by turning himself in to an international court and by doing so instantly free the Middle Eastern of a major menace! Although he wears no turban, the new president is still among the leaders of an extreme ideology which happens to be Islamic fundamentalism with a tendency to appreciate death more than life.

This ideology accepts only one form of truth, god, and prophecy with absolute certainty. The leaders of such an extreme ideology promise their followers that a good life is possible only in heaven via martyrdom and by the killing of non-believers. Similar worldviews including colonialism, and extremist Judaism, Christianity, National-Socialism, and Communism have failed to achieve what Islamic fundamentalism hopes to achieve.

The extremists of any ideology tend to claim that their religion, class, or kind are either better or chosen by a higher power to rescue their own kind or even mankind. No one with a free mind buys these claims any more! The followers of this current extreme ideology seem to be too rigid to understand the value of human life as evident by their terrorist behavior: beheadings, suicide bombings, hangings in public, and callous assassinations.

The story of Shoan Qaderi, who was killed, hung from the back of a vehicle, and dragged in the streets of Mahabad recently is a clear example of this necrophilic culture and use of terror. What happened to Qaderi, for whatever reason, suggests that Eastern Kurdistan is under the control of extremists with a very deviant mind set.

Clearly demanding any natural rights in Iran is a dangerous challenge and might be suppressed very brutally with bloodshed. It is worse than fighting with a stick against creatures infected with rabies. I am wondering how one could reason with or neutralize the behavior of such extremists except with a coordinated international force or with passivity.

Since the coordinated international force is fighting in two other fronts now and being criticized by Chamberlain like politicians, only a passive Ghandi-style movement seems to be the option for liberation of Iran in general and Eastern part of Kurdistan in particular.

What is the role of Eastern Kurdistan under current circumstances?

Although the condition might be intolerable for any free mind, I hope the people there remain passive and patient, educate self and others, protect their Kurdish identity, use pen instead of weapon, and focus primarily on promoting the success of the Southern part of Kurdistan at this stage. In the South not only 98% of the Kurds welcomed a free Kurdistan, but also many progressive Arabs have recognized that both nations should have equal rights.

Only in the southern part of their land are Kurds allowed to read, write, and speak in their own language in public schools and offices. This part has a better chance to reach the ultimate liberation first. Once this part is free, and the masses of their neighboring ethnic groups recognize that Kurds are no threat to them, they might welcome Kurdish hand of friendship and demands for equality.

Let's hope the masses reach such a developmental level so no dictators can brainwash them to kill themselves and others in order to end up in heaven. Let's hope the fundamentalists recognize that many living individuals and societies are already in heaven by believing in liberty, justice, equality and prosperity. Let's hope for a white, orange, pink, or green revolution but not a red or bloody one in the Middle East!

Kamal H. Artin, MD, is a member of the Kurdish American Education Society, California.

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