Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Read in Farsi

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My Nation

By Soraya Fallah
As a Kurdish woman, my nation’s faith occupies my thoughts constantly. I always follow news, read about and talk about it in my family, a nation who has more than 2 thousands years of history without any international borders. More than 40 million people don’t have self-determination, which is in based of International law. By the United Nation’s manifest they have the right to have it, but we human beings want everything for ourselves not for the other. A hundred years ago powers, used of their ability by promising them to help to get self determination, but finally what happened was, a small changes, and nothing farther.
The Kurds are the largest minority in the Middle East without a country of their own. Forty million strong, they live in an area some call Kurdistan, which spreads across six countries: Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The Kurds were left dispersed and divided after World War I, even though the treaty that carved up the Ottoman Empire at the end of the war called for the creation of an autonomous Kurdish state. But the Kurds have continued to press for their rights in demonstrations like this one last year in Turkey, which was met with fierce repression, and also with arms, as shown here in Iraq. In 1988, entire villages of Kurds were driven from their homes in Iraq when the government of Saddam Hussein used poison gas as part of a large offensive against Kurdish separatists. Thousands were killed and maimed, including children among these refugees who had fled to Turkey.

Arbaba, highest mountain in Eastern Kurdistan located in Baneh

When I try to introduce my nation, identity and history to my child, he is wondering where the land is on the map. Many people even don’t know what we are, they think maybe we made it up, or it is a new name for a part of USSR. But we are part of many countries. He still does not know why it has been divided between countries. “Are there any Chances for cousins to see each other after 80 years, who even don’t understand each others languages” is always his question. Obviously it will be big problem for million of people who were under the authority of other nation’s government to keep their own language, culture and folklore. Many of children don’t know who they are, because they have not been accepted as an ethnic and one Nation. One time he said when he told his friend that he is Kurdish; his friend answered “Is it any kind of candy or what?” He became frustrated.
During the war he was happy hearing Kurdish name from media. He is asking me if it is correct to be under umbrella and authority of another powerful country or not. I said if it doesn’t destroy the other Nation’s civilization, why not?

A picture from Kirkuk/city of oil in Southern Kurdistan
According to the information Professor M.R. Izadi gave us: The vast Kurdish homeland consists of about 200,000 square miles of territory. Its area is roughly equal to that of France, or of the states of California and New York combined. Kurdistan straddles the mountainous northern boundaries of the Middle East, separating the region from the former Soviet Union. It resembles an inverted letter V, with the joint pointing in the direction of the Caucasus and the arms toward the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. The geopolitics of Kurdistan has effectively precluded the formation of
an independent Kurdish state in this century. Currently stretching over seven inter-national boundaries (and detached pockets in two more states), Kurdistan resembles an arching shield of highlands, which separated the Middle East from the advance defense lines of the Soviet Union in the Caucasus for 74 eventful years. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, coupled with the receding power of Russia, an unclear future looms on the northern horizons of the Middle East, with Kurdistan continuing to serve as a buffer zone.

Kurdish Language:
Kurdish is a member of the Indo-Iranian language group which is a branch of the Indo-European family, the largest language family in the world. Kurdish (like Persian) is grouped under the Western Iranian branch of Indo European languages.

| |
Indian Iranian
| ________|___________
| | |
| | |
Sanskrit Western Eastern
____|____ ____|____
| | | |
Old Persian Median Scythian Avestan
(Figure from S. Karimi( 1989) Phd Dissertation)

Kurdish population:
Today Kurds are the fourth largest ethnic group in the greater Middle East, after the Arabs, Persians and Turks. Their largest concentrations are now respectively in Turkey (approx. 52% of all Kurds), Iran (25.5%), Iraq (16.%), Syria (5%) and the CIS (1.5%). Barring a catastrophe, Kurds will become the third most populous ethnic group in the Middle East by the year 2000, displacing the Turks. Furthermore, if present demographic trends hold, as is likely, in less than fifty years Kurds will also replace the Turks as the largest ethnic group in Turkey itself.
Kurds are estimated from 20-40 Millions. A percentage of these are native speakers. The following, based on Hassanpour(1992) shows the estimated number of Kurds in year 2000 projected from Kurdish Nationalist references:
Country Population (M.) Kurds M.(% of total)
Iraq[c] 23.753 6.65 (28%)
Turkey[a] 67.748 15.58 (23%)
Iran[b] 74.644 11.94 (16%)
Syria[d] 17.328 1.90 (11%)
USSR[e] 0.73
Total 36.800 million

Population of Kurds in 2000 ---

Based on the experience of other nations, two types of independence are possible for Kurdistan:
A Pan-Kurdish State. A near all-inclusive, pan Kurdish state, is the most elusive of all options, not just for external reasons, but internal as well. This option foresees the dismemberment of four Middle Eastern states, including its two most populous and powerful ones: Iran and Turkey. Middle Eastern societies are far from that level of social maturity that allows for the Quebecers or the Slovaks to divorce Canada and Czechoslovakia by simply voting for it. None of the states administering portions of Kurdistan are about to allow such a luxury to the Kurds or any other group living under their jurisdiction any time soon. In view of the effectiveness of modern weaponry (impact of some of them were well tasted by the Iraqi Kurds in the last decade), a protracted bloody war between the Kurds and these states will surely result in destroying more than would ever survive to become part of that pan-Kurdish state. Short of a cataclysm of the magnitude of the WWI and the break up of the all local states' structure, one cannot see how else the Kurds can extract all their people and territories from these states.
Many Kurdistans: But why should there be the only one Kurdistan, small or large? Let us not forget that in the very neighborhood of Kurdistan there are now over a score of Arabic-speaking and three Persian-speaking states. Farther a field, there are four German-speaking, a score or so Spanish and a dozen English-speaking states. Each groups of these countries have much in common historically and culturally in addition to the

element of language. National identity takes more than just a common language or a common culture to translate into a unitary state.
None of the above-mentioned states are rushing to unify under a single flag. Such a feat requires either brute force or a plain and immediate profit to compel the average person opting for it. Lacking these, the prospect of a unified, pan-Kurdish state emanating solely from a common Kurdish national identity is as unlikely as a pan-Arab, pan-German or a pan-Persian state. In case of Kurdistan, even now when there are no immediate prospect of independence, the various Kurdish political parties are often compelled to settle their differences through open warfare (see Recent History and Political Parties). How realistic is to expect that these same groups put their differences aside for the sake of a unified greater Kurdistan when and if such a prospect present itself? What would prevent the far-flung, heterogeneous Kurdistan not go the way of all these other nations given as examples above, splitting into many "Kurdistans"?

Woman in Denmark and Kurdistan

Women in Kurdistan and Denmark
By Soraya Fallah

Women’s right, suffrage, conflicts and abuse are all important topics that are
being discussed every day in different parts of the world. The situation of women is one of the most important issues today as it has always been one way or another.
As a result of the many bad conditions in which women go through in different parts of the world, there are feminist and supportive organizations that fight in order to gain the basic powers such as freedom, equality, and victory over violence and abuse. Denmark, the country I’m a citizen of, and Iran, the country I was born in, are so far apart when it comes to the situation of women. They can simply not be compared with each other! Denmark is an unusual, unique country that can be admired. Some of the significant things are the extreme equality between the two genders, the long history of women’s rights in Denmark, the accepted freedom of action and appearance among the people for women.
The issue of discrimination between male and female is basically old news.
Women are equally active, educated and involved in social life as men are. They are able to do anything they desire; their sex is not an obstacle standing in their way. Women are able to make decisions about their marriage, physical appearance and their own future. In Denmark the word equality is beyond the letters that are put together to form a word. This press has a meaning that is defined very clearly among people.
The woman’s movement began 140 years ago in Denmark. It is one of the firs counters to give the right to vote to women. However, in Parliament there is a small quantity of women with high positions. The one odd and ironic subject in Denmark is the issue of violence women use against men. Despite the high level women conditions are in Denmark, Queen Margaret is the first in the Royal Family lf Denmark to take that position in 1000 years.
Women are highly respected, as a common joke between the people say.
In Denmark it’s first Women, then Pets and children, and men come last! Their social condition would be better if they did not accept traditional customs, which have become a norm in the society. Though they have equality by law, research show that there is some discrimination concerning salary in the works place. Women are fighting and are very active to prevent these unfair incidents.
In Denmark, unlike other countries, women do not feel like the second gender, and are not put down by anyone for being a female. This country can be admired and look at as a fair world should be like.
I wish for a sisterhood society full of freedom and equality for women around the world, particularly in Iran and my land, Kurdistan.