A New Country Is Born

By Dr. Rashid Karadaghi:

The people of Kurdistan have spoken and they have spoken loud and clear. On September 25, they voted overwhelmingly to start the process of separating from Iraq and building their own democratic, pluralistic, independent country. In one of the most civilized, violence-free exercises of a people’s right anywhere in the world, the people of Kurdistan voted in a referendum by an overwhelming majority of 92% for an independent Kurdistan.

It was such a beautifully festive sight to see. Men and women, young and old standing in line to go into the voting booth and cast their vote for freedom for the first time in their lives. I heard dozens of people interviewed stating that it was like being born on that day. What a joy! What a feeling! A people being denied everything they should be entitled to now making the choice to finally be free!

Close to three million eligible voters cast their ballots and not a single incident of violence. It made me so proud. It is hard to imagine any of the people standing in the hundreds of lines that I saw on television committing any violence. Was this the turmoil and instability that the forces of darkness in Iraq and the neighboring countries were talking about if the referendum took place? So, where would the instability and turmoil come from unless created by those forces of evil and darkness?

The Kurdish people want out of Iraq, the country that has given them nothing but blood and tears for a hundred years. They have never wanted to be in ever since they were forced to do so without their consent. Anyone who blames them for their vote should walk in their shoes for a mile and see how it feels to live in a country that has no mercy, let alone love, for you, a country that has committed every conceivable atrocity, including chemical bombardment and genocide against your people, a country that has destroyed or burnt down your home in thousands villages and even some towns (including my ancestral home in the town of Karadagh which was reduced to dust) as if you were the enemy, not citizens of the same country deserving protection.

Ever since its creation in the aftermath of the First World War through the redrawing of the borders by the two arch villains the British Sykes and the French Picot without any consideration for the inhabitants and their feeling and loyalties, resulting in the inclusion of a fourth of the Kurdish people and their land within its borders, Iraq has treated them either as second-class citizens, under the occasional, relatively benign Iraqi regimes, or like enemies to be destroyed, at various periods of Iraq’s bloody history culminating in Saddam’s brutal reign of terror, which buried alive or disappeared a quarter of a million innocent Kurds for no reason other than being a Kurd.

Instead of issuing threats and ultimatums, Iraqi leaders should ask the Kurdish people for forgiveness for the genocide that successive Iraqi governments, notably under the Ba’ath party and Saddam, have committed against them. Instead of their belligerent behavior and their threats, Iraqi leaders should be thankful for the huge sacrifices that the Peshmerga have made defending the Iraqi people against ISIS and for the Kurdistan Region’s hosting of over a million and a half Iraqi refugees fleeing ISIS. By calling for severe punitive measures against the people of Kurdistan, Iraqi leaders are proving the Kurdish people right for not wanting to remain part of that failed country.

Kurdish leaders have expressed their eagerness to start a process of negotiation with their Iraqi counterparts as equals to resolve all the outstanding issues between the two sides. Unfortunately, so far the Iraqi side’s response to the offer has been jingoistic and indicative of a total ignorance of what the Kurdish people have been through for a hundred years. We hope that the Iraqi leaders behave responsibly and rationally and never forget that generally Kurds have no problems with Arabs as a people; their problem has been with the successive Iraqi regimes. The disastrous experience of the last hundred years is solid proof that the two cannot live under the same roof. So, the question is whether the two nations should be at each other’s throat or be two friendly neighbors. The Kurds hope that Iraqi leaders choose the second option.

What the people of Kurdistan want is what 193 other nations have: independence. The referendum of September 25 is a strong affirmation of this demand. If Iraqi Arabs can come up with one good reason as to why they should be running the affairs of Kurdistan instead of the Kurds themselves, then they should be allowed to do so. In a civilized world, when 92% of a people vote in favor of something, they usually get their wish unless they are taking away another people’s right — which does not apply here.

Iraq and its two immediate neighbors, Turkey and Iran, falsely claim that an independent Kurdistan would create instability in the region. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Kurdish independence would make the region more stable if the neighbors let it because a Kurdish state would be at least more democratic than the other regimes. Besides, when has the region been stable? These are scare tactics, which, unfortunately, even some of the Western democracies have fallen for. It is time for this lie to be exposed, for it is an excuse to continue to colonize Kurdistan and keep its people from developing and reaching their full potential as a free, democratic, and peaceful people.

At this crucial moment, the people of Kurdistan count on the United States, the European countries, and the rest of the Western democracies and all the progressive forces in the world to help with the birth of this new country in any way they can and welcome it into the community of nations. Let there be no doubt that the people of Kurdistan are determined and aspire to establishing a country modeled on the Western values of democracy, pluralism, and the rule of law. The people of Kurdistan have waited long enough and have certainly earned this support.

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.

4 Responses to A New Country Is Born
  1. Howard D Rowland
    September 29, 2017 | 21:10

    I totally agree with everything that Dr. Karadaghi said, and definitely hope for the best for the Kurds both in Iraq, as well as in Syria, Turkey, Iran, and elsewhere. Let’s not forget: They are the ones who, both men and women, really fought against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and most deserve to have a say about their future and their autonomy and/or independence. We Americans should all fully support them.

  2. Michael McGinn
    September 30, 2017 | 09:05

    This is a brave beginning for the Kurdish People previously arbitrarily incorporated into Iraq by British and French colonial governments. The time has come for the insideous and careless manipulation of human populations for the economic exploitation of colonial powers to be undone. As with Rojava in what was Syria the Kurdish People in what was Iraq have spoken.International governments owe it to the Kurds to listen and accept their decision on their future. By creating a peaceful, democratic and pluralistic state,the Kurdish People bring a much needed civilising and pacifying influence to counter the violent and oppressive extremes of the regimes in Turkey Iran and Syria. Now Iraq, with its recently changed government must do everything in its power to form a respectful and supportive relationship with its new neighbours. We are hopefully seeing the beginnings of healthy systems of governance in this troubled part of the world. The time has come for the Kurdish Peoples erroneously incorporated into Iraq Syria Turkey and Iran to unite as a People and by building on this referendum and the superb achievements of the people of Rojava, combine in order to create a peaceful, democratic, secular and egalitarian future. How could any national leader claiming sanity argue with such a goal.

  3. Jan Best de Vries
    October 1, 2017 | 08:52

    The real problem with western countries in all their own representative democracies is that they never said goodbye to their colonial pasts and will not allow that other peoples get the same independent states which the western countries once forbade to them in their colonial period.

  4. Razwan
    October 7, 2017 | 08:46

    I totaly agree

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