The blame game
Anti -US stance is only music to the ears of those who prefer status quo and reign of brutal tyrants in the Middle East
May 2, 2006
Intellectuals might differ from the general public by their sensitivity and ability to analyze mishaps from the past and make recommendations to create a better future; their minds might be free from the basic worries of the general public. Being ahead of their time, free minded intellectuals are hopeful to serve the society by discussing matters that the majority of people might not be ready to touch. Politically they have clashes with resistant establishments and criticize them harshly. As an example when Thomas Jefferson, the prototype of an American intellectual was preparing the declaration of independence in the 1770s, many Americans still were not ready to question why the colonies should be under the rule of a British King.
Kurdish intellectuals have always questioned the legitimacy of the rule of ethnically biased and mighty looking Sultans, Kings, Ayatollahs, and alike over their ancestral land, yet the majority of people in Kurdistan have not afforded to ask such questions. For the first time in modern history and thanks to the support of the US and its allies, the Southern part of Kurdistan has functioned almost as an independent country for over a decade. Now many Kurds in all sides of their divided land hope the major decisions on their destiny are made in Hawler instead of Baghdad, Teheran, Ankara, and Damascus. It is no wonder that for the past few years the usual secret meetings of foreign ministers from those capitals have not included the one from Baghdad who happens to be a Kurd!
Since Southern Kurdistan is becoming an establishment, its leaders and supporters have become the target of usual criticism by intellectuals. However, at times, such criticism has gone too far, similar to expecting a baby to walk before she or he learns to crawl. As an example a respectable Kurdish intellectual blamed a US leader for the unpredictable chaos in Baghdad and compared him to a fascist, although the criticized leader for whatever reason had been courageous enough to end the reign of a malicious dictator such as Saddam. I can not support everything that the US stands for, but an anti US attitude to the extent of calling its leaders fascists and ignoring the true fascists in the Middle East is as biased as the attitude of Stalin or Ayatollahs.
Clearly not everything that shines in the US is golden nor are the US leaders any saints; however, compared to some Western leaders who might have traits of self centeredness and narcissism, most Middle Eastern tyrants have psychopathic traits. Needless to say, narcissists are much less harmful than psychopaths. If the Middle Eastern dictators had access to the power that US leaders have, they would have long wiped out anybody who did not follow their orders. Obviously there are not many American refugees in the Middle East, but there are millions of Middle Easterners who have become proud Americans. The anti-US stance is only music to the ears of those who prefer status quo and reign of brutal tyrants in the Middle East.
I do not think the Kurdish intellectuals whose main goal is to push the establishments to improve the life of people have any malicious intention. Some might only need an appreciation for their services, some might need a reminder that critique alone does not lead to change but participation and providing a reasonable alternative does so; some might need the advise that an extreme anti US attitude could harm Kurds instead of helping them, some might need a guidance that if they can not act like American Thomas Jefferson to move society forward, at least they should not advocate ideas that bring Kurdistan one step backward.
One does not need to be an intellectual to recognize the achievements of Southern Kurdistan and the need for further improvement. Even a Kurdish shepherd can recognize that Southern Kurdistan is better off now than under Saddam or that the Kurds in other parts of Kurdistan dream to have the freedom that Southern Kurds now enjoy
Intellectuals at least should recognize that the sons and daughters of those Kurds who experienced all forms of humiliation and inequality for decades can not behave like noble laureates and philanthropists in one decade of semi self rule. What these people have achieved in the neighborhood of very aggressive regimes is the best they have been able to achieve so far; let's not ruin their achievements, but build on it for a better future for all. Let's wish people in Southern Kurdistan more success and thank the US and its allies for their help in this critical stage. Progress comes by constructive criticism.
Dr. Kamal H Artin is a member of Kurdish American Education Society (www.kaes.us), and the Kurdish National Congress; however, his views do not necessarily reflect the views of all members.