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Iraqi Kurdistan: Welcoming Separatism Cautiously
Recently the media has been talking about Iran as another potential war zone. Some might wonder what the role of the Kurds would be in such a situation. Foremost, I hope and assume that because of being the victims of genocide, war, and abuse, the Kurds wish that no one goes through their bitter experience!
A quarter century ago hopeful Iranian youth was receiving loaded messages from different political groups. The ruling monarchists and the oppressed clergies were calling each other the puppets of the west; they both were calling the left, the agent of the east, and the liberals, the agents of the wind. All were calling the oppressed but assertive Kurds, the betraying separatists and welcomed their suppression with all means. Above all every social, political, and economical misery was attributed to the influence of an external factor, America, ’the great Satan’. The ultimate winners were clergies who mobilized fundamentalists.
Under the influence of propaganda, some Iranians conformed to the power of force, some lost their lives, and some lost their hope and found refuge in addiction or in a foreign land.
Since then, the fundamentalists further stirred up the Middle East, spread their ideas to other countries, murdered many who had found refuge in the free world, and created a competition for violence to the point that one of its fractions destroyed the world trade center in a city that symbolizes freedom, tolerance, and prosperity! Surprisingly, ’the great Satan’ still trusts the fundamentalists in their new Mecca, the artificial Iraq, and follows their lead; at the same time she ignores the plight of the Kurds, who have been described by some of those fundamentalists as ’Satan worshipers’. A fraction of US leaders seem to follow their fears than their hopes. It seems as if the US is afraid of losing the support of some allies, who look at the Kurds the way the Nazis were looking at the Jews or the KKK were looking at the blacks.
Likely it is based on such fear that the current secretary of the state and her predecessor, who should know the history of second class citizens, assure the status of the dominant groups in the Middle East; they both seem to have one thing in common, ignoring the plight of the Kurds to the point of avoiding the words such as Kurds or Kurdistan in their vocabulary in the name of unity.
Since unity suggests a higher stage of development, any establishment considers separatism as taboo or something undesirable. There is not much indication that the third world is at such stage of development to value and respect equality yet. Considering the lack of conscience and development in the mind of many of the leaders of their counterparts, the Kurds should break the taboo and welcome separatism as the most appropriate alternative at this stage.
As an imbalanced unity can cause separatism, developed separate entities could unite as well. Since Iraqi Kurds have passed through the initial developmental stage of statehood and might not be betrayed by the US this time, they should claim their independence now and help other parts of Kurdistan to go through similar stages. For the Iranian Kurds, who have much in common with other Iranian ethic groups, the most appropriate peaceful step now is likely to keep a cautious balance between remaining within Iran and developing close ties with other Kurds until the public is ready to accept a democratic referendum for independence vs. federalism in Iran!