I’m Kurdish, if I’m not political then what am I?


By Veene Sulaivany:

It goes without saying that, as Kurds, we are a highly politicized people. What I mean by this is, we are born into politics and become married to it at a very young age. How can we not be this way? And, in particular, how can those who have been and continue to be victims of oppressive regimes be any different?

Before we even memorize Ey Reqib (the Kurdish National Anthem) we are taught party slogans and partisan lyrics. Before we are even introduced to the likes of Ehmede Xani and CigerXwin, we are bombarded with images of Apo and Barzani. Why? Because we are a politicized people and this is our greatest hamartia. We value what our leader’s value; we hear and regurgitate the speech of those in power. And we become reluctant and blinded by our partisanship to believe that our Kurdish leaders would ever cause us harm (harm in the sense of disunity).

But, dear Kurdish people, we are being harmed and by those wolves in sheep’s clothing. The most progressive step we can take as a nation is to abandon identities that segregate and divide us. “Parti”, “Yeketi”, “PKK”, “PYD”, “PJAK”, these are nothing but acronyms and party titles that should never take precedence over our Kurdish identity.

For those who will challenge the previous statement, consider this. Those parties come about with the sole purpose of resurrecting the Kurdish people from their deep sleep and loosening the chains of the oppressive regimes, correct? So why is it that we continue to follow them after we have been awakened, or are we caught in fantasy?  Is it not time for us as a people to forge our path rather than blindingly follow the Shepard?

Let’s examine the situation of Bakuri/Northern Kurdistan. After the fall of the Ottomans, deep seated prejudice was planted into Turkish bureaucratic, social, legal, and economic institutions (not to say that this wasn’t there present previously, but it became more explicit). Kurd’s fell victim to assimilation policies that were aimed at erasing the Kurdish identity, and these policies were successful. Then along came Abdullah Ocalan determined to undo decades of Turkification. Wonderful, great, and we thank you Apo, but you are Kurd and we are Kurds, so why have some of us become Apoci?

That’s one example. Let’s turn our focus to Basuri/Southern Kurdistan. Here the situation takes a turn, I’ll explain. In the South, for the longest while there were two dominant parties, KDP and PUK. Although before them, noble Kurdish leaders led uprisings, the legacy of these two parties has lasted and become a staple of the political culture of the South. Due to several reasons (all of which I’ll skip) Masoud Barzani (leader of KDP) and Jalal Talabani (leader of the PUK) participated in the most unnecessary civil war of Kurdish history. This led to a divide in Southern Kurdistan, with cities claiming either faction to represent them. So we have Kurdish cities who are Parti and we have Kurdish cities who are Yeketi.

And then we have Rojhilati/Eastern Kurdistan. Here again we have two opposing Kurdish factions that don’t get along, PDKI and Komala (although there are several splinter parties, we’ll focus on these two). On the basis of ideological disagreement, these two factions caused animosity between the already segregated and isolated Kurds of the East. But regardless of this, Kurds would be defiant in asserting themselves as supporters of either group.

If all this was not enough, there is Rojavi/Western Kurdistan. As of recently the KNC and UWK have become active in their pursuit of rights and self-determination for Kurds. And the activism of the PKK in the region has caused some division amongst the Kurdish population. So unity evades them, and the preference to remain loyal to their political faction takes precedence.

Yes I have simplified the Kurdish struggle in this article and I do realize that once you’ve read this you would like to denounce me as a Kurd, but realize that I am attacking the institution of political parties and politics. I prefer to be a Kurd of Kurdistan before a supporter of any Kurdish political party. So before you raise your voice and disregard my message, read more deeply into my words and try to understand the meaning of what I’m trying to say. I want all Kurds to denounce party loyalty and reclaim their identity as a united Kurdish nation.

If it’s not clear by now: Political identity has further segregated us as a people and, at this stage in our history, it is time for us to demand unity.

Veene Sulaivany is a graduate of Public Policy and Management from York University (Toronto, Canada). She currently lives abroad, with plans to move back to her hometown of Zaxo, Kurdistan.

Copyright © 2012 Kurdistantribune.com


5 Responses to I’m Kurdish, if I’m not political then what am I?
  1. Salem
    May 27, 2012 | 20:09

    I agree with you and all your points. I am currently living in the USA and am thinking about taking my family and moving back to Kurdistan, Iraq. The problem is that I am afraid of facing situations there where I will be treated like a second class citizen since I don’t have connections with party leaders or others that are in power. I am waiting until I feel that all the Kurds have equal rights and that no one is above the law.

    • author
      May 27, 2012 | 22:54

      please do not ever refer to it as Kurdistan, Iraq! It is occupied southern Kurdistan, there is nothing Iraqi about it.

  2. LibertyWalk
    May 30, 2012 | 09:26

    Excellent article

  3. Karzan
    August 29, 2012 | 18:59

    Very well written, keep it up!

  4. Renas
    August 31, 2012 | 03:02

    Dear Veene,
    What a intresting article! I do agree with you in several points. I think the reason why we are seen as a politize people (from our own view) is also because of our families influense at us. For example if our parents are KDPi, we bacame naturally KDP, without questing it. We are afraid of changes and afraid that we would “pay” back if you change the side. It´s not so normal in our country to change your parti such as its for example in USA. A person who do that is regarded as tratior and its not so easy to go back to the first party. The civilwar between Parti and Yeketi have left deep wounds between the kurdish people from both sides (but also the “difrences between KDP and PUK people”, the first one are mostly behdinis and the other soranis. Therfore many people dont even care about what politic the parties run, instead caring about what people who run the politic. It´s almost the same thing in the other three part of Kurdistan.

    But yeah, our ethnicity as kurds should go before everything.

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