By Evin Cheikosman:
As many of us are already aware, on May 11th the Iranian consulate released an absurd statement about Iran’s perspective regarding the history of Iranian-Kurdish relations. It came as a shock for many Kurds who, without question, regard themselves as a legitimate people with a long, rich history. In the statement, Kurds are referred to as “ethnic minorities in Iraq, Turkey, and Syria,” while mentioning Iran as “their true great house and motherland.” The Kurdish Republic of Mahabad was deemed as the “short-lived Communist government,” and the Kurdish language was belittled to a dialect; stating: “Kurdish is not a language, but a dialect of the many Persian languages, which has been created through mixing Arabic, Turkish, and Persian languages.”
So to summarize, Iran is basically saying that Kurds would not exist if it were not for the coming to existence of Iran. This, of course, is rather ridiculous given the fact that, according to various historical references, Kurds’ lineage dates back as far as 2400 BC, where they occupied the same lands as they do today. The first encounter of Persians wasn’t until 2000 BC in central Asia. Thus Kurds lived far early on in history than the Persians did. Given, their history is very interlinked. The Persians were closely associated with the Medes (Kurds’ ancestors), and both encountered the Elamites, thereafter absorbing the Elamite culture. So together, then Persians and Medes embraced the Mesopotamian culture, but they both were different people when they met and neither equated to the birth of the other. Therefore, for Iran today to claim such allegations as that Iran is the Kurd’s true homeland and Kurds are an “Iranian people” is simply false. Both people’s histories are linked in many ways, but claiming that one is subordinate or “indebted” in some way to the other is called manipulating historical facts for one’s own benefit.
It is rather uncomplicated to manipulate, eradicate, and deny the history of a people. Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq have been doing this to Kurds for millennias. And, given the recent statement by the Iranian consulate, such injustice and foul play still goes on. For this reason it is simple for countries like Iran, which has put so much effort into manipulating and eradicating Kurdish history, to claim to be the “all creator” of and “motherland” for Kurds without a sliver of retaliation from its neighbors because they do the same thing!
On another note, however, retaliation did come from the Kurdistan Region’s Department of Foreign Relations (DFR). The DFR summoned Iran’s acting consul general, Mohsen Bawafa, in Erbil to answer for the Iranian consulate’s statement. Bawafa’s explanation was plain and simply this: “[t]hese are not the policies or the stance of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” But, how could that be so? How could a governmental institution claim such sensitive historical allegations against a people, and then go back, on contradiction, to say that all allegations do not represent the state’s stance in relation to such matters?
No matter what Iran claims is and is not history, Kurds exist. Iran, you can manipulate a people’s history and deny them their human right to exist, but you cannot manipulate their memories, the factual stories brought down from generations before, you cannot manipulate Kurds into thinking that they are lesser than you, and you cannot force Kurds to submit to this injustice.
Evin Cheikosman is a Kurd living in Los Angeles, CA, A recent graduate in International Politics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, she has studied abroad in Berlin, Germany and will soon be traveling to Zhuhai, China on a teaching assignment. Thereafter she will be pursuing a masters degree in foreign affairs. During her free time, Evin posts facts and opinions concerning Kurdish politics on her blog: Minority Politico