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One step further
A Kurdish thought on 4th of July


July 4, 2005

Colonialism, the domination over the people and resources of a foreign land, is thought to be a policy of the past. Yet, today the only way to properly describe Kurdistan would be to label it as a colonially divided land.

With all due respect to many Arabs, Turks, and Persians who do not identify themselves with their governments, Kurds cannot remain their subordinated ethnic group forever. Kurds are learning form the history of liberated colonies, especially those who refused to belittle themselves by the humiliating and abusive British Kingdom in the late 18th century.

The idea that all people are created equal and entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness became a driving force for the American founding fathers, who found it not only a right, but a duty to separate themselves from the British colonial rule on July 4th, 1776.

By now, one would expect that all forms of colonialism would be abolished. However, in 2005 Kurds are still dreaming of liberty and equality. An obstacle for Kurdish independence has been its dependence on regional transitional friends but long-term foes. The division of Kurdistan, her lack of access to her own natural resources, dependence of Iraqi Kurds on Iran, Iranian Kurds on Iraq, and Turkish Kurds on Syria, are some examples of a very unfortunate and complicated situation that has handicapped the Kurdish liberation movement to unite and make any major progress.

Lack of international support as well, as a misunderstanding of the Kurdish cause by some progressive groups of dominant cultures who view the movement as primitive and tribal, has also added to this complication. A more important obstacle to Kurdish independence is fear from state terrorism. Despite repeated injuries on the Kurds, mentioning any ideas about separation and independence is still considered treason and answered with various form of violence including assassinations and capital punishment by the central governments that control Kurdistan.

Due to a persistent fear of experiencing traumatic and violent retaliations from some mindless generals, some Kurdish politicians still find submission or full assimilation and ignorance of their own identity and national rights as the right answer to the threatening behavior of state terrorism in Baghdad, Damascus, Ankara, and Tehran.

Despite all the obstacles it has faced, the Kurdish movement has always remained alive. Thanks to those who have never given up on the idea that the Kurdish cause is a just cause, thanks to freedom fighters who have dedicated everything including their life for the cause, thanks to the people of Southern Kurdistan for their patience, tolerance and maturity, thanks to the efforts of all progressive organizations especially the two major Kurdish Parties which finally united and nominated Mr. Masood Barzani as the president of Kurdish regional government to revitalize the legacy of his legendary father.

Thanks to those Iraqi Arabs who have been peaceful and supportive of Kurdish cause, and thanks to the international community under the leadership of the United Sates for a moderation in their policy, the semi independent Kurdish state has been functioning in a partnership with a majority of Iraqi Arabs. While this friendly atmosphere between the majorities of people in Iraq warrants unity, remaining united at this stage is a handicap for any further progress of both ethnic groups, as was the case for united colonies during the time of British colonialism.

Now Southern Kurdistan has reached a developmental level to move one step further, and despite all threats, declare its independence. This act would certainly strengthen the likelihood of liberation of other parts of Kurdistan. It is unlikely that the opponents to the Kurdish cause will be able to prevent such a progress; however, if they plan to attack Southern Kurdistan, it seems justifiable that all Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan sacrifice what they have, and participate in the ultimate liberation of their homeland.

Although this might be seen as a major risk, taking such a risk seems worthwhile, just as it was seen a worthwhile risk for the Americans to revolt against Britain two centuries ago. Initially if even solely one part of Kurdistan is liberated from the contemporary colonialism, she can become an active advocate of equality and liberty for other parts and for all ethnic groups in the Middle East. American independence was achieved partly through the support of the progressive French.

Kurdish liberation would similarly be easier to obtain, if the land of the brave and the progressive innovators remembers and expands the ideas of her founding fathers to the rest of the world that all people are created equal and entitled to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. It is for those very ideas that America deserves the wish from all free thinkers of the world, for a very happy birthday on the Fourth of July.

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

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