Bravo South Kurdistan. You ought to be commended for your efforts in this very critical stage to be part of the solution. You have been betrayed over and over by all of the dominant powers in your neighborhood, yet you are hopeful and keep working with them.
You have experienced humiliation, discrimination, abuse, murder of your freedom fighters, and bombing of your cities and villages with conventional and even chemical weapons, yet you are willing to go extra miles and hope that your opponents will turn civil and acknowledge your rights at some point.
You know the generals in the northern side of your border have done everything to eliminate your language, culture, and identity, yet you are willing to trade with them, hoping the European Union will bring them to their senses to modify their approach toward your existence as a nation.
You know the Bathist leaders on the western side of your borders ideologically and behaviorally are not much different than the one on your side of the border, yet you send delegates to them, hoping they have learned a lesson from the history of their cousin who was caught in a hole.
You know by whom and under what condition the dedicated leaders of your people on the eastern side of your borders were assassinated in Vienna and Berlin, yet you are willing to negotiate with the organizer of their brutal murders, hoping they will change their mind and leave you in peace!
You indicated your hope in a referendum signed by 1.7 million people, yet you remain cautious and allow your leaders to distance themselves from your wish, hoping to prevent aggravating your opponents. You know some of your members who now hold prominent positions suppress their inner feelings and ignore mentioning your name by advocating unity under any condition, hoping the public on the southern side of your current common country endorses them as non-separatist, as if separatism would be a crime!
Please don't take me wrong; unity with zero tolerance for inequality and discrimination, as might be the case in a healthy marriage, is a noble concept. Yet, you know one of your prominent female leaders who almost became a role model for a free thinking new generation women in Kurdistan gave up her own dignity by marrying a prominent married man, hoping to resolve a contemporary ethnic conflict with a tactic of dark ages!
Despite knowing your history and tactics of your opponents, despite the odds of being surrounded by aggressive neighbors, despite the critique from the ignorant world for being the loyal ally of the most powerful country, which is determined to stop the maladaptive behavior of tyrannies step by step with whatever it takes, you remain calm and cautious.
You are making progress, you are building instead of destroying, and you are educating your next generation for a better life for themselves and for all, and therefore you are our hope in all sides of your artificial borders. Bravo South Kurdistan! We hope you remain the advocate of freedom and peace in the region!
Kamal H. Artin, MD, is from the Kurdish-American Education Society in Orange County, California.