Friday, June 02, 2006

Kurds making a difference vis-à-vis the wrath of adversaries

May 31, 2006
By Eamad Mazouri

I, along with many other anxious observers have been following the column; both Onder Aytac and Emre Uslu are sharing in "The New Anatolian" daily.
What I found, is that many of their articles, while based on sheer imagination and irrational analysis, are also, startling and unsettling.
They shock many onlookers who righteously anticipate impartiality not only from the authors, but also from the moderate Anatolian English language daily, especially the articles titled "The Problems of Kurdish Intellectuals"; Segments I, II, III published May 3rd, 8th and 15th respectively.
In these three articles, the authors are trying desperately to portray themselves as credible, trustworthy and unbiased journalists in pursuit of the naked truth, nothing else, alluding to leave the false impression that they are employing merely scientific methodology and analysis in their research, trying from the goodness of the bottom of their bleeding hearts to steer away the Kurdish intellectuals from the wrong path of thinking, as they call it".
Any perceptive spectator can readily deduce from the content of these malevolent articles, the authors' real rationale in routing Kurdish intellectuals towards desperation, frustration and disenchantment with their legitimate cause not only in Turkey, but in Iraqi Kurdistan and beyond as well. In their futile attempt, and whereas endeavoring to present themselves not only as the true custodians of the Kurdish intellectuals' strategic thought, but also as the proper guardians of the Kurdish people's rights, they are lambasting on every Kurdish leader, organization and even condemning Kurdistan Regional Government and it's nascent democratic experience without sparing anything Kurdish out of this chaos and confusion they are trying in vain to create among the Kurds.
The Kurdish intellectuals on the other hand, should not be surprised or fall an easy prey to these chauvinistic views, poorly shrouded in neutrality coming from these two authors, especially if they have followed some of their previous writings, such as "Civil War and Kurds in Iraq" 7 March, 2006, where both are trying to provoke Arabs and Turkmen's denizens of Kirkuk city in an imaginary tale of a civil war of their own making.
If this is the way moderate and professional Turkish journalism reports the news, then I would have difficulty understanding how the partial making-news approach functions in this industry in contrast to that of the objective one, which I am sure the Turkish media in general is not immune from; If this is a sample of a moderate liberal thinking in today's Turkey, it would be troubling distinguishing that from the loathsome viewpoints and attitudes the Turkish Ultra-Nationalists express towards Kurds and their just plight on daily basis.
At any rate, let's take a closer look at some of the highlights that were underscored in all three phases of these unreliable and misleading articles.
Their whole concept is hovering around the globalization process, its impact on nation states, the power corporations are or will command and the relations between the two, washing it down all the way to the Kurdish great effort for freedom and liberty in relation to the Turkish state.
Any savoir-faire observer, with good grace, could smell the stench of the (Turkish Kurd-phobia) from the very start, the disease that decision makers in Turkey should cure themselves from if they need to have a new beginning to build a democratic society based on recognition instead of denial and forbearance instead of intolerance towards others.
In segment I of their article, both authors state and I quote "that the foremost problem that bedevils the Kurdish intellectuals (and for that matter the Turkish nationalists too)" here the readers need to notice the insertion of the latter sentence is only a pathetic attempt by the authors to vie for some credibility of course" is their inability to misread" I believe this is an error and should be inability to read" the globalization process." The article goes on "they argue" meaning Kurdish intellectuals" that since the globalization process undermines the autonomy of nation states, the Turkish State.. will also be weakened. "Hence "The declining autonomy of the state will enable the Kurdish people to establish an independent Kurdistan." In their views "here lies the problem." Why? They answer, because "states. will not be the sole actors but agents which regulate the global economy rules, and implement the rules to stabilize the territory." The article further states that "The purpose of this defined role of agency is to create an available environment within which the global economy can be maintained and order provided." According to their misleading message, therefore," .how the Kurdish intellectuals read globalization and hope to gain from it is simply a misreading of the nature of the process." Clearly, they are misreading the present and future as they have misread the past. They are trying to feed the Turkish public flawed information in an attempt to incite them against Kurdish population, instead of trying to explore some decent options on how to resolve this conflict as true intellectuals ought to do.
Naturally, they don't forget to refer to the very {evil} source of this misreading. They claim that "The biggest source of this misreading is the situation in northern Iraq." Explaining that" globalization pushes nation states toward democracy" but "if democracy won't sustain the stability of a strategically important state, then the international corporations would support family dictatorships".
By narrating this whole fabricated and unsubstantiated story, the authors finally come to this amusing conclusion, to quote them" .Due to the oil.
importance of Iraqi Kurdistan region. the international corporations are forced to work with Massoud Barzani dictatorship." as if Mr. Barzani was created yesterday by international corporations and he is not the upshot of decades of oppression, sufferings and constant struggle of the Kurdish people and their continuous legendary leadership. Kurds don't think they need Turks to judge their leaders whom they have chosen over a long odyssey of struggle and sufferings.
In this comic article, the two authors who combined their efforts to absurdly entertain their readers, wind up saying "The Kurdish intelligentsia is misreading the process, and they will be eventually disappointed when they finally realize that they got nothing of what they have hoped for."
As it cannot escape our attention, the authors are building this entire fictitious scenario of globalization process to convey to the Kurdish intellectuals a couple of messages.
First, they are seeking an independent state. Second, this is an impossible dream, without even providing them with any other viable option.
I would like to make a few clear statements here. On the first hand, the Kurds are not a minority and they do not see themselves in that light, but rather a divided nation against its will. This vulnerable nation, like any other nation, and much smaller ones, and according to UN chapters, international laws and treaties and every decent norm have the right to determine its own fate. That includes having a homeland. Whereas Kurds in other parts of Kurdistan are coerced into involuntary unions with the respective states of Turkey, Iran and Syria and deprived of their rights, especially those concerning the true participation in the political process, in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdish people have spoken through their parliament since 1992 and decided that the best available option for them is to enter into a voluntary union with Iraqi Arabs and minorities within a framework of a democratic federation. As a realistic approach, this option while allowing them to enjoy most of their rights, it provides them with the protection of a sovereign state. The safeguard they need to breathe freely, build and prosper.
Obviously, Turkish nationalists and those who think like them are not buying this legitimate argument despite the repeated assurances from the Kurdish leadership.
In phase II of their article, the authors are focusing on Kurdish intellectuals efforts to draw attention from the international community to their just cause in order to gain sympathy and support in their quest for a homeland. Surprisingly, they admit that this strategy is effective and has been successful. However, they claim, despite that, the Kurdish argument in this regard is riddled with three flaws:
1) "Kurdish intellectuals don't seem to understand that states do not act based on Romantic fantasies in the international arena. They act as rational actors which calculate the cost and benefits. Moreover, once regional states initiate democratic rules, such as Turkey and hopefully Iraq in the future, the Kurdish intellectuals' claim (of, and I am using their own terminology, living under tyrannical governments, being victimized, suppressed and deceived)loses its base in the international arena".
Once again, they are trying to portray the Kurdish objective as no more than an unachievable dream or fantasia. At the same time insinuating that Kurds have not been deprived, victimized and subjected to ethnic cleansing. According to them, the Kurds' entire tragedy is no more than fabrication woven and staged by Kurdish intellectuals on behest of foreign powers. They describe Turkey as full fledged democracy while Iraq might catch up, forgetting that Iraq today and even at its current circumstances is more democratic than Turkey in every field, especially in political participation, representation, minority rights, and freedom of expression.
It is worth mentioning that regional governments have finally realized the impact of the contribution of the Kurdish intellectuals in influencing the world public opinion regarding Kurds and Kurdistan and they are devising ways to counter that. It wasn't long ago, that I came across an article on a Syrian site written in Arabic that tried to convey the same message as these two are trying, but in a different way or more straight forward. The given article was focused on many articles written by various Kurdish writers, among them one of my own "The Kurds: The Orphans of the World", specifically those written in English, implying that Kurds are merely emulating Jews by exaggerating their tragedies (in their views the whole thing is as fabricated as Holocausts) to make the world feel guilty and earn their sympathy. This is the second time I come across such writings by Kurds' adversaries, which basically means, Kurds are on the right path and they are actually making a change, therefore they should continue to do so.
2) "The victimization argument has been overused to the point that it has lost some of its value for the international community. The victimization argument has been used too many times since the Holocaust. For example, even in the worst cases, like Chechnya in Russia, East Turkistan in China, or Kashmir in India, the international community tends not hear the victimized communities' screams."
Here, the authors basically are claiming that Holocaust, genocides, ethnic cleansing and the use of WMD, are no longer enough to catch the attention of the international community. That, dictatorships and corrupt governments are free to massacre and deprive people without slightest chance of any intervention, simply because the world is worn-out as a result of a steady increase of such events. Therefore, the destitute victims of such atrocities should bring their futile screams to an end; the world is not hearing their shouts and has turned a blind eye to their wretchedness.
"The Kurdish people, especially those in Turkey, are almost "perfect" when compared to those mentioned above."
We can leave the world through its human rights organizations to be the judge of that based on the facts on the ground and especially those in charge of Turkey's accession talks to EU, and their periodical evaluations.
(There is a distressing paragraph, I would like also to quote)" They (Kurdish Intellectuals) should also realize that in Middle Eastern culture, however wrong it may be, as a matter of fact problems are solved within family. Whenever one calls on outside help, they are treated as if they've committed an act of betrayal. Thus tinkering with the international intervention game could only help to increase the hatred of other ethnic groups. Therefore, it's highly likely that Kurds would be considered as betrayers."
I believe this particular paragraph leaves no room for any doubt concerning what the authors are maliciously referring to here. It is crystal clear, that they not only are referring to the Armenian Genocide by the Ottomans during the WWI, but they are justifying that, at the same time, forewarning Kurds as well that the same fate is waiting them as they would be considered traitors, if they persist on demanding their legitimate rights. When one finds such disturbing mentality in today's Turkey, he/she is compelled to wonder not only about its prospect to join EU, but also about the whole democratic reform process.
3) "The tyrannical reign of Massoud Barzani in the de facto Kurdish state in northern Iraq weakens Kurdish intellectuals' argument. The Kurds in northern Iraq don't live under a better democratic regime than the Kurds in Turkey."
Here, let's make room for a neutral individual, a well known scholar and academician to respond to these baseless accusations. In "Informed Comment" under "Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion, published Tuesday, May 09, 2006 "Mr. Juan Cole, a Professor of History at the University of Michigan says; "The New Anatolian article on "western romantic liberal" support for Kurdish independence was quite chilling. It pretty clearly states that if the Kurds appeal to the West for protection (against Turkey, Iran, Syria or perhaps a central government in Iraq), they will be considered as betraying their neighbors, and under the doctrine of self-interest, the neighboring states can feel justified to punish them just short of a Bosnia or Darfur-style campaign of ethnic cleansing, because then, and only then, will the West respond. Onder Aytac is probably right about that, but this kind of mindset explains why the Turkish government is so hated by its own Kurdish population. I spend a lot of time in SE Turkey, and although many people oppose the excesses of the PKK, the undercurrent of anger and cynicism toward the Turkish government is far greater." he further states" However, what Rubin (He means Michael Rubin) and Aytac Both neglect to mention is that Kamel Sayed Qadir was rapidly released from prison after his "conviction". To call Barzani's KDP the equivalent of a "fascist regime", as some have done, is perhaps hyperbole. I see a lot more similarities with Jordan, to be honest. In Jordan, you mess with the King's financial interests and tribal patronage network at your peril.
However, in both Jordan and Kurdistan, there is a relatively wide latitude for criticism within certain bounds, and considerable press freedom.
Certainly Iraqi Kurdistan has a far more open press and civil society than across the border in SE Turkey, or Ankara for that matter, which makes Aytac's article a bit ironic".
While Mr. Cole lent some criticism regardless of its nature to the Kurdish Administration, he continues furthermore to say that" I'm not a "Western romantic liberal" who sees KRG with unvarnished admiration. However, I would gladly settle for a similar degree of personal freedom and human services in any of the neighboring countries. I'm neutral on eventual independence, although Turkey would do well to look at the situation of Kosovo when thinking about the future of Iraqi Kurdistan. There is no more hope of forcing the Kurds back into a nation dominated by Muqtada al-Sadr (who seems to be gradually winning out over SCIRI) than there is of forcing the Kosovars back into Yugoslavia. Turkey and the West are better advised to take no extreme actions, and invest while pretending that Kurdistan doesn't exist. Give the Kurds another 15 years of ambiguous self-rule, and maybe they will work it out."
I believe this is the best response to their reference to Iraqi Kurdistan and KRG and it would suffice our purpose here.
In segment III of their article, these two stooges talk about an irony, claiming that "Despite the fact that Kurdish Intellectuals shape the Kurdish nationalism mostly in reaction to Turkish nationalism, they at the same time imitate Turkish nationalism as a model for Kurdish nationalism."
They shamelessly continue to admit to atrocities committed when building the new Turkey by Attaturk "In fact it is true that the early republican's elites attempted to engineer Turkish nationalism as the glue to keep the multi-ethnic community of the Anatolians together. To a large extent it was a successful project in that more than 30 different ethnic communities of Anatolia today define themselves as Turks. However, this attempt failed to bring the Kurdish community into the boundaries of the designed civic nationalism."
Here, the authors and to a great extent are trying to explore the reasons behind this imitation while failing to give any for the failure of Turkey to Turkify the Kurds when it succeeded with other Anatolian minorities. In their abortive attempt, they fail to come up with any, while mentioning the Nuri Dersimi manifesto called “Discourse to Kurdish Youth" which they claim is an imitation of Attaturk's "Discourse to Turkish Youth." We have no choice but to re-print it here for readers to do the comparison themselves:
"O young Kurd! O son of a brave nation that has for centuries despised
Usurpation! Listen to me! From the Indian Ocean to the Caucasus, in
The high mountains and sunny valleys of Asia Minor and Central Asia,
The light of humanity has brightened the proud foreheads of the
Sublime race that gave birth to you, at its very dawn. Your history is
The history of an unending legend .You are a child of a nation that ha
Fought tirelessly for centuries to live in honor and freedom. Thousands
Of offerings made to the Goddess of Liberty seek a grave; they ask us
To build a memorial in their honor. This memorial is a free independent Kurdistan."
As they reach the conclusion of their iniquitous article, they cannot help but to lash out one more time on Iraqi Kurdistan and its leaders." When the moves and rhetoric of Iraqi Kurdish leaders Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani are analyzed together, it can be clearly seen that they try to follow the path of the early Turkish republican elites. For example, in Turkey, in order to show him the nation's respect, Atwater's pictures are present in all government buildings. This Turkish vision of showing respect was imitated by the Kurds in northern Iraq in a funny way." The problem here is not just the ironic position of the Kurdish intellectuals.
They fail to offer an alternative to promote nationalism other than imitating the Turkish model of nationalism. The Kurdish intellectuals seem unaware of the fact that conditions have changed since the Turks successfully implemented Turkish nationalism. What they are trying to advocate today under the name of Kurdish nationalism are outdated arguments that were valid when nationalism was rising. In the era of globalization, advocating ethnic nationalism is running against the current or like selling Ayran (a yogurt drink) in nightclubs."
What kind of a double standard and hypocrisy is this? I cannot understand why and how the presence of Attaturk's images everywhere in Turkey is considered a sign of respect, while that of the Kurdish leaders is a peccadillo and only a "funny" imitation of the Turks, forgetting that the phenomenon is world-wide spread, and everywhere is considered the expression of respect and admiration by the people for their leaders, unless the authors think the experience was originally invented in Turkey and then imported to the rest of the world as it is the case with the most recent silly squabble between Turkey and Greece on who was the original inventor of Baklawa.
The authors claim to have studied the history of their country. However, they fail to remember that even the Turkish nationalism was theorized by Kurds such as the Ziya Gokalp who came from Amed city, who is deemed by majority of Kurds as a turn-coat, or should we let the Wikipedia Encyclopedia tell us who he was? It goes that Ziya Gökalp" was a prominent Turkish ideologue of Pan-Turkism or Turanism. His origin is Kurdish. But he said there is no difference between Kurdish and Turkish people and they are one nation". A concept that can only be described as absurd and ridiculous as the time has shown to both Turks and Kurds alike.
It is obvious that these contemptible writings do not serve the country of Turkey in her attempt to free itself from the complicated past and build a real democracy where all the ethnic and religious elements are recognized.
And they definitely do not help to seal the gap between Kurds and Turks in their search to find a better tomorrow peacefully for their new generations.

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