There is a place in the world that bespeaks of indefinable chaos and difficulties. The very reason is that their lands are being seized by other people who never respected their rights to live in a peaceful way. They are not also given the opportunity participate in political processes due to their racial and ethnic profiles. The people living in the said place are often regarded as people without a state or stateless people. These people are called Kurds who are non-Arabs living in Arab countries. For so many years, the continuing struggle of the Kurds to keep the land that is rightfully theirs is overwhelming. Their ambition to fully participate in political processes is widespread. Under the cloak of self-determination and freedom, many Kurds are still fighting against the Arab people amidst the grueling political movements, insurgency, uprisings and rebellion as well as escape to find economic opportunities in other countries.
The first thing that should be done in this paper when we speak about Kurds is to define Kurdistan land, a place which has been beset by myriad persecutions. The next is laying down the role of Kurds and their parties to have independent state. It is in this stage that we will know the basic information about Kurds as a group of people in a very controversial place called Kurdistan land. Basically, there are four countries that are involved in the Kurds’ quest for independence and self-determination. These countries involve Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey wherein thousands of Kurds are living in the regions of the said countries. While the Arabs wanted to eliminate the presence of the Kurds and other non-Arabs in the said countries, many Kurds offered their lives to prevent the same plan. In all instances, economic and political development of these countries is being affected due to the continuous struggle of the Kurdish people.
Kurdistan land is the land of the people who are called Kurds. It is mostly a mountainous area which is found at the Western part of Asia continent. The sad comment about Kurdistan land is that it is geographically united and cohesive but it is politically divided into four countries (“What is Kurdistan?). Basically, the location of Kurdistan land is on the Southeast of Turkey, western side of Iran, North and Southeastern side of Iraq as well as North of Syria (“What is Kurdistan?). The approximated land mass of Kurdistan land is 530,000 square kilometers.
It is said that Kurdistan is a land wealthy in oil and mineral resources. However, it is no secret that it is also underdeveloped for so many years. Among the regions in the countries of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, the Kurdistan land is the least developed. The fact is that Kurds derive there earnings from shepherding as well as farming (“What is Kurdistan?). When it comes to water supply, Kurdistan land has remarkable amount of water resources. As such, it is called the heart of the region in water availability. Furthermore, its soil is productive and rain fall is plentiful.
There are major cities that are found in Kurdistan land. These cities include Kurdistan of Turkey having huge Kurdish populace consisting of Diyar Bakir, Mardin, Urfa, Badlis, Batman, Wan, Malatya, Marash, Jizeera,Mush, Erzinjan (Erzinacean) and Eruzurum (“What is Kurdistan?). The next city is Kurdistan of Iran which is composed of Kurmanshah, Khorramabad, Ilam, Qasri-Shirin, Senna, Mahabad, Bukan, Saqqiz and Orumiyah (“What is Kurdistan?). It also include Kurdistan of Iraq having Kirkuk,Sulaimaniyah,Arbil, Dohuk, Halabja, Khanaqin, Mandali and Sinjar as cities (“What is Kurdistan?). Aside from that, there is also Kurdistan of Syria with Qamishly, Hasakeh, daiyrik, A’ muda, Darabsiya, Ayn Diwar and Afin as cities belonging to it (“What is Kurdistan?).
The role of the Kurds and their parties to have an independent state is vital for its realization. The Kurds must show courage and determination in order to own the lands that has been taken away from them by settlers in Kurdistan land. Its political parties that have gained influence in the political arena must continue to wield power that might help in having an independent state. In Iraq for instance, the Kurds there are using different lines of defense that keep the borders secured (Totten, 2006, p. 1). The first line of defense is the implementation of the rule that none of the Kurds should ruin the peace within communities and the second defense is keeping away with troublemakers by killing those who wish to destroy the place (Totten, 2006, p. 1). Hence, it is general submission that the Kurds must protect its people first and foremost and then continue fighting for their rights within the regions that they are found.
The Kurds have also their right and their participation in the politics in countries like Iran, Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Modern debates and discussions on human rights include of the presentation that different communities, races and cultures as well as traditions deserve the right to be protected from destruction or decay, to exist, right to assimilate and be maintained. This move is also applicable to the Kurds living in the regions found in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. There has been a movement to recognize the rights of minorities that has been deprived of the rights that they deserve including the Kurds.
The concept of self-determination for the Kurds dates back to the constant struggle to own the lands that was seized away from them by the Arab people. The acquisition of human rights among the Kurds involves a lot of struggles since they were displaced from the lands that they rightfully owned. However, due to powerful interventions by the Arabs they were forced to flee away from their lands and properties in horrible and terrifying situations. For the Kurds, it is obvious that they are in a continuous struggle to regain their right to self-determination as a primary and basic right as humans. The core of the struggle of Kurds is the right to live freely in the Kurdistan land. In essence, there has been a pursuit for self-determination as a right between the Kurds and the Arabs, of which it is considered the heart of all political conflict between the two groups of people. Hence, the right to self determination, the right to live, as well as protection as humans should be accorded to the Kurdistan people.
In Turkey, the basic rights of the Kurds have been denied for a very long time. They are not given the proper representation to express their own culture and tradition as a group of people. There are examples that reflect the said situation in Turkey involving the Kurds. At present, the people in Turkey are faced with the dilemma on the headscarf ban which would surely affect the political rights of the Kurds. There has been pressure on the part of the Turks to agree on the tenet that Kurdish people hold the same inalienable rights just like them (Mizell, 2008, p. 1). It cannot be denied that the attitude of Turks heightened to the extent that Kurdish people were denied of their rights to be educated, to exercise their religion, to participate in political activities, as well as pursuit of happiness (Mizell, 2008, p. 1).
In Syria, the lives of many Kurds are in constant danger. According to Refugees International, there is an estimate of 300,000 stateless Kurds that are living in Syria. During a 1962 census, all Kurds are subjected to denationalization (“Buried Alive: Stateless Kurds in Syria”). These people live in the borders of Syria and are experiencing endless turmoil due to the fact that they are considered stateless by the government of Syria. Stateless Kurds are considered non-existent due to lack of nationality and identity documents (“Buried Alive: Stateless Kurds in Syria”). As a result, the Kurdish people in Syria are also denied of their rights to be employed, to education, political participation as well as basic civil rights like marriage. Due to this condition, the Kurdish people tried to change their lives. Some of them find chances to go abroad and look for better opportunities. But in times that some Kurdish people are caught abroad, they would be sent home and punished (“Buried Alive: Stateless Kurds in Syria”). There are also groups of Kurds in Syria who are surreptitiously organizing movements for their eventual recognition as people that deserve the right to be part of the state. However, if any of the Kurds that are found or discovered forming a secret organization, they would be imprisoned and tortured to death (“Buried Alive: Stateless Kurds in Syria”).
Aside from that, political leaders in Syria are always making a promise that they would solve the problem and fix the statelessness issue among the Kurds in the country. Like President Al-Assad, he promised to resolve the issue involving the Kurdish people (“Buried Alive: Stateless Kurds in Syria”). With that, there are also recommendations and suggestions that the Kurd in Syria must be save from such tremendous difficulties. The Syrian government must establish a clear policy aimed to resolve the statelessness issue. There should also be support given for the development of civil organizations that would aid in having a good communication and understanding among the Syrian Arabs and Kurdish people (“Buried Alive: Stateless Kurds in Syria”).
In Iran, the Kurds are also experiencing tremendous trials as a group of people. There are reports that for more than twenty years, political conflict between the government of Iran and the Kurdish political movements is predominant n the Western area of the country (Hicks, 2000, p. 1). The active political party of the Kurdish people in Iran is named the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran which continued to rally for the freedom and human rights of the Kurds in Iran. However, the most pressing problem of the Kurds in Iran is the difficulty in exercising their own religion being Sunni Muslims. Some Kurds are exiled to other countries if they continued to follow Sunni religious teachings (Hicks, 2000, p. 1). The people in Iran who are not Kurds practiced Shi’a clergy as a religion. They vowed to eradicate Sunni Muslims in the country for they wanted to dominate at all costs. There are many Kurds who are forced to practice Shi’a clergy being under the condition of death or torture if inability to follow emerges as a choice. Hence, the political participation of the Kurdish people in Iran is shunned by the fact that religious freedom must be withheld from them.
For the last country which is Iraq, the situation of Kurdish people is somewhat different from that of Iran in terms of foundation. During the time of Saddam Hussien, the Kurdish people is widely unrepresented in terms of political participation. The Kurds are even repressed at those times that Saddam Hussien ruled Iraq. It has been said that in myriad ways, the Kurdish people had become subjects of discrimination, persecution and violation of their basic rights (Katzman and Prados, 2005, p. 1). But a present time, the situation is much better than before. The regions in Iraq that are inhabited by the Kurdish people are finally free from insurgent activities such that reconstruction is in progress. The Kurdish people are also thriving politically all the way through current national elections, rallying behind concerns that the Kurds might make use of their innovative political force to serve up their individual interests at the cost of a integrated Iraq (Katzman and Prados, 2005, p. 1). Therefore, there is more hope for the Kurds in Iraq compared to those who are found in Turkey, Syria and Iran.
The Kurds have also staged revolution against the Iranian, Syrian, Iraqi and Turkey regimes for the past decades. The role of each country to fight Kurds revolution emerged as a basic reason for the continuing struggle of the Kurdish people. The uprising in Iran between the Kurds and the Iranian government has been ignored specifically by the media (Lessells, 2005, p. 1). The reason behind this fact is the lack of independent media in Iran to verify all facts and figures regarding the revolution in the country. There are many Kurdish youth in Iran that are staging demonstrations and when being caught by the Iranian authorities, they would be killed or shot to death of which the media could not verify the facts (Lessells, 2005, p. 1). As a result, some Kurdish people attack buildings and public places in retaliation of what the police and military authorities had done to their friends and families that are involved in the uprising.
In Iraq and Turkey, major uprisings or revolution between their governments and the Kurdish government also exist. However, changes for the Kurds in Iraq existed when Saddam Hussien was no longer the leader of the country. Many Kurds are given the chance to live freely and participate in political activities in Iraq specifically in the Northern region. At present time, the Kurds are in progress in terms of economic and political development. In other words, the situation of the Kurdish people in Iraq is much better than those who are found in Iran wherein dictatorship shunned their rights to self-determination and the right to be a member of the Iranian state.
In Turkey, there is also a revolution involving the Kurdish people. First and foremost, there is an existing party for the Kurds in Turkey and that is called the Kurdistan Worker’s Party. The said group is responsible for the movements aimed in attaining respect for the political and civil rights of the Kurds from the hands of the Turkey regime. There was a time that the said organization offered to lay down their weapons of war if the Turkish regime implements a policy to end the crackdown on its insurgents. In addition, the party also demanded in return that Ankara must guarantee the rights of the Kurdish people. The real score is that the Kurds found in Iran, Turkey and Syria are being left behind in terms of political and economic development compared to the Kurds in Iraq (Lessells, 2005, p. 1). Therefore, what the international community must do is to take heed of the valiant cry of the Kurds found in the aforementioned countries wherein for such a long time are denied of their right to live a decent life. The Kurdish minority in Syria are still victims of the violence showed by the Syrian Arabs that is why massive uprising in the country continued to escalate. In connection, the role of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey in the Kurdish revolution provided great impact to the suffering of the said minority group. Economic and political development proves to be difficult to reach when continued uprisings exist in the regions where the Kurds are found.
With all the given information, how can we possibly solve the problem and give the Kurds their right to participate in the political process in Iraq? In general, the only way to solve the problem is to allow the Kurdish people to freely and fully participate in political activities so that they can gain the possibility of self-determination and economic development. The political leaders of countries like Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria must end the hatred and discrimination against the Kurds so that peace and harmony would reign in the future. The political leaders of these countries must not break their promises to end the turmoil in the Kurdish lands. Basically, the political and economic development of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq would be greatly affected due to the uprisings in the regions wherein Kurds are found and thriving. The Arabs in these countries must return the lands that belongs to the Kurds in a civil and political manner so as to end the suffering of the Kurdish minority group and that economic development could be speedily processed.
Aside from that, it is also necessary to revitalize peaceful co-existence among the Arabs and the Kurdish people in all of the countries wherein they are both found. But if this solution is not feasible and possible, better solutions like giving the Kurds a chance to be part of the state where they belong as human beings. Economic integration can also play a part in resolving the perennial problems of the Kurds such that they must see to it that they were able to invest substantial amount of financial value on the properties owned by the Arabs for them to have security in the lives.
In case of Iraq, there is a better future for the Kurds in the said country. What is primordial is giving them right to participate in the political processes in Iraq. The fall of Saddam Hussien in the year 2003 made the Kurds foresee and better future. That was the start of a new life that they could freely participate in the political activities of the country. There were three Kurdish leaders that are active in politics of Iraq. Basically, the widespread and elevated Kurdish political contribution is noticeable the first time in the history of Iraq that the Kurds had entered state-run politics in Baghdad on an identical balance with Iraq’s Arab mainstream (Katzman and Prados, 2005, p. 1). Thus, the best way to end the uprising among the Kurds and the Arab people is to let the minority group participate in the local and national elections.
Since the Kurdish people in Iraq are given a chance to participate in the political process of the country, its leaders are becoming aware of how to promote peace and harmony in return of the freedom they gained from the time of Saddam Hussien’s demise. Kurdish officials made mention that the Kurds would negate in its participation in the counter insurgents activities or operations which is publicized to stay away from inflaming Arab feeling in opposition to the Kurds (Katzman and Prados, 2005, p. 1).
At present, there were movements that led to the active participation of the Kurds in the political processes in Iraq. An Interim Constitution awaits the Kurdish people as it could give them protection from whatever discrimination in the future. The said transitional administrative law is useful for the Kurds as it is a channel for the transition process that they needed to gain self-determination. At least, there are provisions in the Interim constitution that had given the Kurds the autonomy that had long waited.
Moreover, we will discuss the dispute involving Kirkuk, Iraq. The place Kirkuk is also spelled as Kerkuk, Karkuk and even Karkouk (“Kirkuk, Iraq”). The place is also a strategic location such that it was considered as a battleground for three major empires composed of Assyria, Babylon, and Media that controlled the area for so many times (“Kirkuk, Iraq”). In the year 1927, it was discovered that hear Kirkuk was a huge oil field (“Kirkuk, Iraq”). There were oil facilities established in the area that have also been sabotaged at the time there were uprisings between Iraqi armed forces and the Kurdish people (“Kirkuk, Iraq”). Later on, the Saddam Hussien administration took control of the oil fields in Karkuk. However, the Saddam Hussien failed to maintain the area into proper condition such that lack of reservoir management practices caused the damage of the oil fields.
The attacks between the Kurdish people and the Iraqi government started when the latter staged a sweeping campaign of what is called Arabization (“Kirkuk, Iraq”). In other words, there was an ethnic cleansing the occurred wherein non-Arab tribes like the Kurds are being killed to emphasize the said project to “Arabize” the country. As a result, almost 600,000 Kurds were forced to leave their places (“Kirkuk, Iraq”). In that move, the Iraqi government allowed the Arabs to replace the Kurds in the areas that they owned in an effort to diminish the political participation of the latter in the country. The Kurds were suppressed and discriminated for that matter as their lands are taken away from them by the Arabs. The Iraqi authorities even seized the assets and properties of the non-Arabs specifically the Kurds in an event that they refused to go along with their plans to dominate the Kirkuk area. Hence, many Kurds are suffering from the brutal hands of the Iraqi authorities until such time that Iraq invasion proves to be successful.
Furthermore, it is a good idea to know and discuss the role of Iraqi government to solve the dispute between non-Arabs and the Arabs in Iraq. The Iraqi government must continue to allow the Kurds to participate in local and national elections so that they could exercise their democratic political choices. The willingness of the Kurdish political leaders to have a peaceful and organized society for the benefit of all Iraqi people including the Kurds must be recognized at all times. The promises of the political leaders in Iraq to change the lives of the Kurdish people after the demise of Saddam Hussien must remain forceful and influential so as not to breed another series of civil wars. As such, the practice of democratic governance is a good start for the Kurds in Iraq.
Thus, the practice of peaceful co-existence between the Kurds including other non-Arabs and the Arabs must be cultivated by the Iraqi government so that in the future, there will be no civil war. The transition period for the Kurdish people to emerge as a recognized minority group must be evaluated in order to become a successful endeavor for the sake of peace in Iraq. It cannot be denied that a peaceful country results to a progressive economic condition which would benefit all people.
Finally, since the Kurds in Iraq are luckier than their brothers and sisters in Turkey, Iran, and Syria, there is a need to grab the opportunity for them to flourish and gain the right to self determination in Iraq with the support of the government. Discrimination and violence must be set aside so that economic progress would reign in Iraq. The Kurds deserve to live a life that is normal just like the people in other countries. Therefore; the role of the Iraqi government in the freedom for the Kurdish people in Iraq is vital for its realization and indispensable as a key to a successful transition period from chaos up to peace and harmony.
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Katzman, K. ; Prados, A. Global Security Website. (2005 March 14). The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq. Retrieved January 8, 2008, from http://www.globalsecurity.org/
Mizell, A. Kurd Media Website. (2008 March 2).Inalienable right versus the headscarf. Retrieved January 8, 2008, from http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id
Nashville Kurds Website. (2008). What is Kurdistan? Retrieved January 7, 2008, from http://nashvillekurds.com/history.html.
Totten, M. Reason Online Website. (2006 September). The Kurds Go Their Own Way. Retrieved January 7, 2008, from http://www.reason.com/news/show/36905.html.