Beyond Referendum

By Dr. Rashid Karadaghi:

Few issues have split the Kurdish house like the proposed referendum, which is planned for late September of this year in South Kurdistan. This article is not about endorsing or opposing the referendum because a referendum is the most basic right of any oppressed nation like the Kurds. Thus, no Kurd, including myself, can ever be opposed to a referendum since it is the legitimate right of our people.

Rather, the article will try to look beyond the referendum as such and explore the eternal predicament of being a Kurd, living on a land for thousands of years claimed not only by its rightful owners and inhabitants, the Kurds, but by neighbors-turned-occupiers-and-enemies whose inhumanity makes one wonder how they could be part of the human race. Being a Kurd has been more than difficult throughout history mostly because of geography and partly because of division from within. Both of these factors are playing a role regarding the uncertainty of the proposed referendum.

Throughout their history, the Kurdish people have been struggling and dying for a chance to be free from occupation and become masters of their own destiny. They have paid a heavier price than most oppressed people to win their freedom, including repeated massive chemical bombardments and genocide. However, so far these sacrifices and struggle have not borne fruit, and the little taste of freedom that the Kurds have enjoyed in the last few years in South Kurdistan is hanging by a thread.

The irony is that now that there is a mechanism for taking the first step towards the independence which all Kurds have been dreaming about and fighting for, a large number of the Kurds have serious doubts about the timing of it for a variety of reasons. But this is not the subject of this article. What is the subject of this article, however, is the strong opposition to the referendum by just about every country that counts and by every international organization, notably the United Nations and the European Union. Such unanimity of opinion is seldom seen on any issue except for this one.

If history is any guide, we can be sure that this rare unanimous opposition by various countries and organizations is not just to this referendum but will be to any referendum at any time in the future because it may lead to the Kurds’ gaining their one-hundred-year-overdue national rights —- and that is what the world cannot allow and must not be!

Somehow, the same countries and organizations that have been supporting other people seeking their freedom from oppression just cannot understand why the Kurds want to be free, too. The world is turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to the plight of the Kurds. But what is most disheartening and hardest to comprehend is the position of the Western democracies which advocate freedom and democracy not only for themselves but for the rest of the world, yet when it comes to the Kurds they side with the occupiers, not the freedom-seekers. There is nothing sacred about the imposed-by-force-borders that are choking up forty-five million Kurds, and there is everything wrong with supporting one of the biggest crimes against humanity ever perpetrated. Supporting the Kurds is not breaking-up countries with legitimate borders but ending an unnatural and inhuman situation that should never have been. We all know how the current borders were drawn after the First World War. How can any democratic country support the continuation of that crime and that insanity?

Referendums have taken place in many countries to determine whether a particular ethnic group or region wants to remain in the country it is part of now or form its own independent state. These referendums have taken place in many countries without outside interference and largely in a peaceful and civilized manner and both sides have accepted the outcome regardless of how close it may have been. But when it comes to the Kurds, even the possible becomes impossible. Not only does Iraq, the country directly affected, reject even the thought of the Kurds’ finally getting what is rightfully theirs, but the world as a whole stands firmly against the Kurds. It sure looks like the curse of history!

The alliance between the Western democracies —- the presumed champions of freedom and liberty and human rights everywhere in the world and the only hope of the oppressed peoples of the world for deliverance —- and the occupiers of Kurdistan is undeniable proof that, indeed, when all is said and done and despite all the protestations otherwise, the Kurds have no friends. Somehow, there is nothing that the Kurds can do that would win support for their legitimate cause. The curse of history continues! All the sacrifices that the Kurds have made in the fight against ISIS on behalf of the world (1745 Peshmerga fighters have been killed and five times as many wounded so far and the war isn’t even over yet) did not help the Kurdish quest for freedom one bit. So much for gaining good will! So much for the admirations for the braveries of the Kurdish Peshmergas! Such is the ways of this world!

Dr Rashid Karadaghi is the author of The Azadi English-Kurdish Dictionary, the most comprehensive English-Kurdish dictionary ever published. A retired teacher and translator living in the USA, he writes many articles on the Kurdish issue.

3 Responses to Beyond Referendum
  1. adithya
    July 18, 2017 | 08:54

    Its quite heartening to see Kurdistan’s efforts in obtaining independence. I think the way kurds stood up for building the nation is beyond commendation and needs to be model for any war ravaged regions. With or without referendum Kurdish spirit is resilient enough that it cannot be engulfed or suppressed .

    from India

  2. yassir fekaiki
    July 20, 2017 | 17:37

    my suspicion is that the call for referendum is a commercial requirement to provide undisputed legal authority for the KRG to execute massive Oil and Gas contracts that have been ear marked and are in the pipeline to Rosneft and other Multi National companies. Basically the Russians may not Invest unless the Kurds have Baghdad’s full legal acceptance or by the kurds being their own legal independent state duly recognised by the international community.

  3. yassir fekaiki
    July 20, 2017 | 17:38

    Including Kirkuk

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