Kurds, Iraqi elections and
Let's hope that all
Kurds in Iraq make a hand-written mark on their ballot for either
autonomy or independence
January 18 2005
As usual, disrupting regional unity and stability remains the
excuse to prevent the Kurds from having the option of determining
their destiny in the upcoming Iraqi election. Unity might suggest
a higher level of development in a democratic society where the
law guarantees equal rights; however, in autocratic societies of
the Middle East it is only an excuse for fear of loss of domination.
Kurds have been suppressed, tortured, bombed, displaced,
exiled, sold, and raped, yet they are expected to remain loyal
the identity of their oppressors for the sake of unity. Such
unity is either a sham or a forceful unification with an unstable
that sooner or later needs correction.
A forceful unification of people with different rights and privileges
has been the basis of current " stability" or status
quo in the Middle East! With all due respect and appreciation for
the contribution of many Turks, Persians and Arabs to our common
humanity, we witness that many Turkish, Persian and Arab ethnocentric
politicians minimize the importance of Kurdish language, culture
and identity and advise the Kurds to think globally; yet they become
hypocritical and their xenophobia reaches its peak, when they are
challenged to apply the same principle to their own identity.
might advise the Turks and Persians to forget their heritage and
join the 22 Arab countries in making Arabic their official language
for the sake of unity in the Middle East. One might advise the
Arabs that the era of "Islamic civilization" is over
and it is time to integrate English language and the values of
the contemporary "American civilization" into their
culture for the sake of global unity.
Needless to say, most of
these people rightfully would feel insulted and react with outrage
to such advisement. Yet these people expect the Kurds to be pleased
with having no choice but to become Turks, Persians, and Arabs
to have a role in the society or even to attend public schools.
Most Kurdish children first received parental love and affection
in their own language; yet by law, they have not been allowed
to learn Kurdish beyond home. Despite denial of this very basic
right, they are expected to give priority to unity and develop
love and affection for a country that dictates discriminatory
The history of many developed and independent nations reminds
us that cultural, social and economic development is almost impossible
without statehood. After recognition via statehood many nations
have changed their rebellious behavior of frustration to a behavior
of peaceful coexistence and cooperation.
Only a state could give
the Kurdish youth a sense of identity and pride and a full access
to an education in their own language. Only a state could prepare
a new generation of Kurds to negotiate as equal partners with
Turks, Arabs, and Persians in resolving their chronic ethnic conflict
with peaceful means. Only via statehood could the Kurds make
and become capable of building a stronger foundation for a future
voluntary union with whoever is convinced of equality and peaceful
A Kurdish state could contribute to the regional stability as
well. A Kurdish State could add to stability of Turkey by becoming
a buffer zone to prevent the influence of extreme Islam and theocracy
in this Semi-European country. A Kurdish state could be a reliable
and neutral intermediary between those Arabs who were previously
discriminated against, such as Shiite, and those who might be discriminated
against in the future, such as Sunnis.
Since culturally all Kurds
have much in common with other Iranian ethnic groups, a Kurdish
state could be an additional state to participate in protecting
and flourishing the rich Iranian heritage. A Kurdish state could
build new alliances with few other "unwanted nations" in
the region, such as Israel, Libya, and Palastine.
Since the Kurds
and Israelis are seen as strangers, Libyans are returning to
civilized world, and Palestinians finally elected a leader through
means, together they could build a unified block to stabilize
and balance the power equation in the region against defenders
ages! In order to fulfill those dreams, Kurds need at least
one state if not four!
Since the option of having a Kurdish federal or independent state
is not in the upcoming Iraqi ballot, let's hope that all
Kurds in Iraq ignore the ignorance of Kurdish semi-establishment
in Baghdad and make a hand-written mark on their ballot for either
autonomy or independence, even if their mark might not be considered
official by dominant forces yet!
Kamal H. Artin, MD, is from the Kurdish-American Education
Society in Orange County, California.