Back to 1800

Rahy Rahber

 By Rahi Rahber:

Yet again, history is repeating itself. Two lifelong friends are once more split apart by politics. Back in 1800, Thomas Jefferson challenged John Adams for the presidential seat. That campaign is labelled as one of the dirtiest presidential campaigns ever. Jefferson, being the former vice-president, used convincing media tactics that led him to defeat Adams. Keep in mind the ‘Callendar tactic’  – involving “an influential journalist of the time whose incendiary pamphlets had been secretly funded by Thomas Jefferson” (1): Today, Mustefa, the former vice-secretary of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, is walking down the same path. Although there is no absolute proof of any Callendar-like journalists, there are claims that Mustefa is playing a double-standards game, especially on the presidential-term extension. Will he succeed in defeating Talabani? Time will tell.

Adams and Jefferson played crucial roles in the American Revolution. The duo made history together with the help of their nation. Likewise, Talabani and Mustefa led a successful revolution that Kurdistan had never seen before. Of all the modern Kurdish revolutions, starting with the Bader Khan Pasha Revolt in 1842/1843, none has matched the successes of the PUK revolution. Meaning that Talabani and Mustefa, jointly, made history for their nation akin to Adams and Jefferson.

However, after 2009, accusations against each other went to a stage that none of us had seen before. The accusations took longer than I thought. This brought me back to two centuries earlier when the Adams side called Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father” (2). While, on the other side, Adams was described as a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman” (3).

Despite these cheerless and poignant slogans, the two later re-established their friendship. In fact, they died on the same day. Adams was unaware of Jefferson’s death and uttered his last words: “Thomas Jefferson survives” (3).

Now, Mustefa has released documents of the past, seen as taking the first steps towards election campaigning, while Talabani remains absent from the political arena due to a stroke. I am quite convinced that Talabani’s camp will not stand still and watch Mustefa playing his game. Yet, ever game has an end and the end of this game is narrowing. Adams and Jefferson lived on for two more decades and lived out the saying “time heals all wounds.” But, do Talabani and Mustefa have the time? Will they have a chance to become pals again? Once more, time will tell.

Works cited:

1. Ungar, Rick. “The Dirtiest Presidential Campaign Ever? Not Even Close!” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20     Aug. 2012. Web. 11 July 2013.

2. “Son of a Half-breed Indian Squaw (Quotation).” Thomas Jeffersons Monticello Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2013.  

3. Smith, Kerwin. “The Election of 1800: The Birth of Negative Campaigning in the U.S.” Mental Floss. N.p., 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 11 July 2013.  

4. “John Adams.” Thomas Jeffersons Monticello Blog RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2013.

Rahi Rahber is a final year sudent at AUIS University, studying international relations.

Copyright © 2013

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