Kurdish Melancholy By Husayn Al-Kurdi

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Posted by Tony from 63-93-70-181.lsan.dial.netzero.com ( on Wednesday, January 22, 2003 at 11:31PM :



The Dromedary is a cheerful bird: I cannot say the same about the Kurd.
--Hilaire Belloc

In need you get to know both your friends and your enemies. The Kurds have no friends.
--Kurdish proverbs

I am a kurd who has the misfortune of wanting to liberate his country at a period in history when the USA has made it its firm policy to disallow Kurdish self-determination. Kurds serve well as puppets, victims, pawns, dependents, terrorists, malcontents, smugglers, refugees, immigrants, "terrorists," or, to use the CIA terms, "assets." But when it comes to national recognition of thirty million people who have resided in their present homeland for thousands of years, the State Department is adamantly opposed. Kurds who fight for their freedom are the "bad" Kurds, the "terrorists," while Kurds who sell their services, and often their country in the process, are favored by the superpower. The Rome to end all Romes has arrived, and with it all those most despicable elements who rush out to greet the conquering hero and assume a servile position towards him. I have the misfortune of living in the midst of a concentration of such Kurds, the "Iraqi Kurds" who have been gathered in the San Diego area. Remember the "hang around the fort" Indians in the movies, the sad-looking ones who were always hanging around the U.S. Cavalry, waiting for scraps or some kind of assignment in assisting their patrons in hunting down or otherwise defeating their own people? What we have in San Diego are a bunch of "hang around the fort" Kurds who seek to ingratiate themselves with the proprietors of the global system.

On Monday, October 16th, such Kurds gathered at the Federal Building in San Diego. Their demand was essentially for the United States to remove Saddam Hussein and place some of them and their associates in power in Iraq. Their partners in the "Iraqi Democratic Front" are a long-discredited group of exiles with reputations as the playthings of foreign governments. The Iraqi Communist Party is among the most vociferous in its insistence on supporting U.S. policies toward Iraq, entailing the continuing destruction of the Iraqi people because of the sanctions imposed upon them. Kurdish brawn is sought to apply the dictates of the ICP's "brain." Left or Right, hardly anyone misses an opportunity to use the Kurds to further their own ambitions.

The U.S. policy has been to keep Kurdish and Iraqi "assets" on tap as an irritant to Saddam, but with no intention to install them in power in Baghdad. The Iraqi Kurdistan Front serves as a puppet government of the U.S. and Turkey in the Kurdish area north of Iraq which was taken over by the U.S. and its allies after the defeat of Iraq in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. This Front is led by two main parties, the KDP (Kurdistan Workers Party), which has been fighting a war of national liberation against Turkey for over a decade. More than one-half of Kurdistan's population and land mass are under Turkish occupation, with the rest divided between Iran, Iraq, and Syria. In the course of this century alone, over one million Kurds have perished as a result of Turkish state policies. At the same time, Turkey was also directly responsible for the deaths of 1 1/2 million Armenians. The U.S. government, doing the bidding of the minuscule coven of white European-American males which continues to run the world in keeping with the motto (enunciated by Adam Smith) which posits "All for ourselves and nothing for others," continue to support Turkey as a force which may be mobilized to put down indigenous revolts by Kurds, Arabs, and others.

All "disorders" which threaten the "stability" of the region must be met with the necessary repression. "Stability" involves the systematic plundering of the region's oil and other resources. The threat of Russian communism, less of an actual threat than an ever-useful excuse to bolster murderous puppet dictatorships all over the world, has been replaced by what is identified in official U.S. documents as "Ultra-Nationalism." This term refers to the unacceptable emergence of people struggling to attain their freedom. The Henry Kissingers fear the specter of "thousands of countries" forming themselves and claiming their right to self-determination, a right long enshrined in international law but honored more in its breach than in its recognition. States such as the USA, Indonesia, India, and Iran are literally "prison houses of nations," containing within them a multiplicity of oppressed peoples. "Islamic Fundamentalism" is dreaded insofar as it may (in any given instance) fall into the undesirable "ultra-nationalist" category by interfering with the New World Order and the "peaceful" plunder of the world's resources to the point of ("other" people's) mass extermination.

Besides taking part in military campaigns alongside Turkish forces against Kurdish freedom fighters, the KDP/PUK front terrorizes Kurds in what is most inappropriately called the "Safe Haven," with scores of disappearances and political murders along with torture, rapes and the usual range of human rights violations associated with gangster-type elements. While the U.S.-imposed sanctions immiserate Kurds in the "Safe Haven," they continue to have the desired genocidal effect on the poorest layers of Iraqi society.

Figures close to both the "Safe Haven" condominium and the Saddam Hussein circle are known to have enriched themselves enormously as a result of control over what little does get in, in the way of basic necessities for the people. Thugs hold sway in the "Safe Haven," just as they have for years in Baghdad. If Saddam hadn't invaded and occupied Kuwait, he would be continuing to receive Western support, particularly in his onslaught against the Kurds. The USA was his prime source of support as he was prodded into the disastrous and stupid 8-year war with Iran at the behest of the USA and the Gulf feudal kingdoms.

The local "hang around the fort" Kurds in San Diego managed to muster a few Shi'ite women, prominent in their black chadors, and even some adherents of the Assyrian Kingdom, who seek to be paid for services rendered to the British Empire in John Bull's genocidal exploits in Iraq earlier in this century. Two or three white Americans, probably wives or girlfriends of Kurds, were there as well. They waved American flags and called for "Democracy" and "Death to Saddam Hussein." The man with the bull horn at the demonstration was a person I recognized as a leftist "Iraqi Kurd" who had moved into the "Cavalry" camp after residing in America for over two decades. The Americanization of Taleeb Zangana is emblematic of the problem. It is connected directly to the problem in Kurdistan, where the "Uncle Tom" Kurds over there help put down their own people, while battening on their misfortune.

Passers-by were nonplused by the group at the Federal Building. Maybe they thought it was a sequel to the Sally Field movie about the Iranian who runs away to Iran with his child and in which Field is accosted by authorities on the street for not wearing her chador properly. One old guy grumbled that "They want other people to do their job for them." Quite rightly-freedom is never granted or given; it must always be fought for. No people can or should owe its freedom to any other. The Kurdish people suffer from a small clique of professional betrayers who have always sold out their people's interests for a pittance. Millions have died as a result in this century alone, at the hands of a variety of occupying state regimes.

The "Iraqi Kurds" are obsessed with Saddam Hussein. Anybody or anything is preferable in their eyes-even a U.S. occupation of Iraq. They cannot bring themselves to condemn the sanctions against Iraq, which hurt both the Kurdish and the Iraqi people. They are nothing more than abject puppets of a Turkish regime whose persecution of Kurds knows no bounds. Veer Beading-who operates the Kurdish Museum in Brooklyn and is the widow of a Kurd, summarized the situation most succinctly when she stated that "Protected by the allies, the Kurds of Iraq will be the buffer to keep 25 million Kurds divided." She made this assessment just as the "Safe Haven" was being set up. Since then, these "Kurds of Iraq" have played the part foretold by her to the hilt, from the terrorizing of political opponents in the Safe Haven and participation in Turkish assaults against Kurdish liberation forces to the charade at the Federal Building in downtown San Diego. There is a Kurdish name for quislings and traitors: they are called "Jash," literally meaning "donkeys." The San Diego "Iraqi Kurdish" community is essentially a "Jash" community.

I have received numerous death threats from this quarter, prompted by my support for Kurdish liberation and opposition to U.S. policies towards Iraq. These are no doubt to be taken seriously. One of their number is currently serving a ten-year sentence for attempted murder. Jemal Kassem was found guilty of hiring a hit-man to shoot at a personal and political rival. The rival lost a leg as a result. It remains unclear just who Kassem, local leader of the KDP, and the would-be victim in the incident, known as Abu'Awf, really represent. One thing is clearly known: Abu'Awf was an FBI informer and operative in the Kurdish community in North America for over a decade. Kassem shot the wrong man, so he has to do the time. It is fine to "clean up" on leftists and other oppositionists, something Mr. Kassem's KDP has relished doing for over thirty years, all in the service of the CIA. But you don't go after the FBI's people. As with Saddam and Kuwait, Kassem overstepped his bounds in the attack on his rival.

Meanwhile, back at the "fort" in San Diego, the erstwhile "Marxist-Leninist" Taleeb Zangana tries to help his new-found party, the PUK, improve their image and ingratiate themselves with the superpower. Their leader, Jalal Talabani, is universally hailed as "Everybody's Agent." He has gone after Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, Turkey, the United States and a dozen more states in search of support. He is commonly referred to by Kurds as "the man with many orifices."

Meanwhile, the all-out ethnic cleansing of the Kurds is being actively carried out by Turkey with U.S. backing and approval. 20,000 have been killed in the past ten years. Scholars, journalists, and intellectuals are favored targets. Kurdistan is rich in oil, water, and gas. If left alone, it could become the breadbasket for the Middle East, rich in wheat, barley and other crops. Although desirable for almost all Kurds and virtually everyone else in the area, such a scenario, predicated as it must be on Kurdish self-determination, is anathema to Uncle Sam.

It is Turkey's turn to wreak destruction on Kurdistan. Iraq and Iran conducted their extensive operations in Kurdistan earlier in the century. Through it all, the Kurds endure. They increase in number and continue to inhabit their proud and ancient homeland. They lose a million people here and there, but their total disappearance is far from an accomplished fact, if not an outright impossibility. Colonialization of people and nations is an anachronism said to be unsuited to the modern age. There is no recognized justification in international law for occupying other people's land and imposing external control over their lives against their will. The right to self-determination belongs to all, including the Kurds.

Kurds are living UNDER Turkey and the other occupying states. It is as Malcolm X said about his people-Plymouth Rock landed on THEM. Mexicans under U.S. occupation for nearly 150 years can claim that they did not cross the "border," but the "border" crossed them. Four states have "crossed" Kurdish frontiers as uninvited guests, continuing to wear out their welcome in every imaginable manner.

It is long past time for the New York Times and other American press hacks to look up the dictionary definition of "Imperialism" and strain themselves to figure out just what state entity may qualify as the leading exemplar of the term today. The American Imperialist Emperor with no clothes remains out of sight and out of mind of the

American people. Fortunately, popular liberation movements do not take place in the corridors of Washington or the UN, but in fierce struggles on the home grounds of the object of emancipation. The Zapatistas in Mexico have reminded the world of this verity, as have those Kurds who have taken up the true cause of Kurdish liberation, as distinct from the puppet Kurds who help the Turkish/U.S. "cavalry" in the ongoing destruction of the popular Kurdish resistance.

A state Department official said of the Kurds in 1991 that "They're nice people, and they're cute, but they're really just bandits. They spend as much time fighting each other as they do fighting the central authority. They're losers." I don't think that the Kurdish people will be losers in the long run, but I do perceive the "hang around the fort" Kurds in the same manner that I behold those Indians who gave their services to General Custer as despicable traitors who have lost their very souls. They remind me of the absentee Irish gentry who sold out their country but remonstrated that they were "glad they had a country to sell." Therein lies the false patriotism and the actual treachery of the "Jash" Kurds. And therein lies the melancholy nature of THIS Kurdish bird, who seeks to fly in full freedom with my people in our own country, enjoying the self-determination which must be the right of all peoples and nations.

Husayn Al-Kurdi is a writer, journalist and film-maker who covers issues related to the oppression of human groupings and liberation and justice struggles worldwide. He has been very active in Kurdish affairs in the last decade, serving as spokesperson and external affairs director for the Kurdish Cultural Center of North America, which is located in Chula Vista, California. Al-Kurdi is President of News International and Senior Editor for News International Press Service.

-- Tony
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