Dear members of the Kurdish American Education Society,
I would like to thank you for your vote of trust and confidence and asking me to preside over the KAES. Kak Ardishir Kalhor, one of the founders and the leaving president, has done a remarkable job during the past few years in leading this organization. Consistent with the objectives of KAES to educate our fellow Kurdish, American, and Kurdish-American citizens about the Kurdish struggle for basic human rights, he has brought our issues to the attention of many people on local, national, and international level.
Kak Adreshir's knowledge of, and dedication to Kurdish issues is very much admirable. Despite his many other responsibilities, he has promised to be around and share his expertise with us for making further progress in KAES. As the new president of KAES, I would like to share my views on Kurdish issues with you.
As the largest stateless ethnic group we have remained a minority in four Islamic countries and witnessed various kinds of abuse of human rights, betrayal, and deception despite public slogans of our opponents that we are equal brothers and sisters. Some of us have been courageous and fought back with various means.
Some of us have accepted the status of powerless victims and remained silent at home. Some of us have been privileged and escaped to the free world as refugees and immigrants. As Kurdish American we are among the latter who chose flight instead of fight; considering our choice, we are in debt to people in Kurdistan for allowing us to still claim our identity despite having left them for our individual survival or goals.
We are also in debt to the people in the free world in general and in the United States in particular for welcoming us as free people who deserve equal rights without any expectation aside from being tolerant citizens.
Although it is difficult to talk about Kurdish issues and remain non-political, we rather remain non-partisan as members of an educational society. We continue to extend the hand of friendship to people from various parts of the world including from those countries whose regimes have violated our natural rights. We understand we have much in common with Turks, Arabs and Persians.
While we recognize the identity of these ethnic groups, and appreciate the beauty in their language and culture, we expect no less toward Kurdish identity, language, and culture from them. Their governments have used us against each other with Islamic and ethnic “brotherly” slogans and betrayed us after they have achieved their objectives over and over. However, since our cause has been just, our movement has never died despite its downfalls. Our involvement in KAES is a contribution to our just movement!
As an educational society the goal of KAES is not to change the world but to take small steps with clear achievable objectives. We have tremendous respect for progressive activists in the free world; they are rightfully concerned about various issues of the developed world that might be luxurious issues for a developing world at this time. People in the developing world in general and in Kurdistan in particular can not resolve any world issues if they are deprived from basic human rights.
The educational objective of KAES is clear and limited to obtaining and spreading information about the struggle of the Kurds in securing their own survival and the survival of their national heritage. Our tools for such objectives might range from arranging educational and cultural events to holding conferences and festivals and publishing news and articles. Our goal is to bring Kurdish issues to the attention of the public and policy makers.
Our history teaches us that the regimes of our so called “brothers and sisters” in the Middle East are not reliable. Unfortunately the gentle approach of “Old Europe” was not working in a region where gentleness is considered as weakness. For the first time our opponents are making small concessions because of the pressure of our “mightier” ally, the US; I hope she remains our alley forever.
There are rumors that we might eventually have other potential allies such as Israel, Libya, and some European countries that would support our right for self-determination if it reaches to the level of decision making in the United Nations.
I am optimistic that since our cause is just, sooner or later the Kurdish people will taste freedom in their ancestral home like any other nation. Let's hope that as KAES members we do our share to help our people reach their dream of a free and peaceful Kurdistan! Once there, we are free and with peace in mind can participate in finding solutions for other challenges that the mankind is facing!
Kamal Artin, Kurdish American Education Society, Orange County, California