United States of Kurdistan: Kurds need an independent state
By S. Sulevani
Posted Sunday July 15, 2001 - 01:39:38 PM EDT

A 'United States of Kurdistan' is the goal that the majority of Kurds are looking for.

Immediately, this raises questions that need answers, such as: - - Is asking for an independent Kurdish state intended as a provocation by the Kurdish side? No, it is simply a fair demand. - Is it realistic for Kurdistan to be an independent state? Yes, because it has been justified for other nations to become free and independent states so it must be valid for the Kurds too. - When? Some time in the future, and hopefully the near future.

At last there is hot debate on the future of Kurdistan, and especially the status of Kurdistan as an independent state. Following discussions on the web and other mass media channels we can conclude that the Kurdish people are awakened, know what they want, and that the Kurdish political parties can no longer ignore this reality.

A nation's brainpower comes from its intellectuals so it is time for rational Kurdish thinkers and scholars to take responsibility and play their given roles. They must enlighten the Kurdish populace about their civil and political rights, and guide Kurdish politicians in their mission. An increasing number of writings by intellectuals are appearing in Kurdish and other mass media channels. These people state their points directly without flattering our leaders. They take the side of the people, though it is difficult to criticise those that rule. The intellectuals are single minded in their duty to talk publicly about this issue, and to find a just and lasting solution for the Kurds.

Mr. Ahmed Z. Okcuoglu, the well-known lawyer and intellectual, said, "We want to have our own state, we want independence". In Kurdish, "Em dewlete dixwazin, em serxwebûne dixwazin" (1). These words translate into what the majority of Kurds want and cheer for.

Many Kurdish people, and their supporters, work day and night for the goal of a free and independent Kurdistan. Hats off to those who toil to make the Kurdish dream come true. I am not a dreamer if I work for the simple and vital right that is our nation. It is not a new fancy, but an old wish passed from the great Kurdish lyricist Ahmede Xane to Hacî Qader Koyî to today's Kurdish intellectuals and freedom lovers, all who want this dream to come true.

Those who demand an independent Kurdish state are not asking the impossible, nor are they naive in their demand. In an article written on this topic, Mr. M. Izady stated, "I found myself in August of 1992 among the select audience in the company of Barzani, Talabani & Co. Following their customary heaping of abuses on the head of Saddam Hussein, they called for more aid for Iraqi Kurds-even those not present. They spoke, and the gathering was opened for questions. As it was August of 1992, I asked what seemed to me the most obvious question: "Why aren't you too declaring independence? Don't you see this is the time; this is the window of opportunity that Kurds have waited for since they missed the last one in 1919." Talabani said, "It is not politically realistic". Barzani, looking around to Western friends, said, "Ask them". My composure unravelling, I said, "There are new countries declaring their independence every day. There are three* right on your own borders. George Bush couldn't afford to let the Kurds be slaughtered. And if he did, what could any one do to Iraqi Kurds that hasn't already been done in the past five years alone. Don't you see that declaring independence will give you international standing, will give you a voice in the UN, will qualify you for international aid, will render an attack on you a violation of international law? Autonomy has no legal or international protection. Don't you see, there are countries that would immediately recognize you, from Scandinavia to the Caucasus, from Greece to Cyprus to Yugoslavia and the world…Hurry, you are missing the once in several lifetimes' chance for your people.

There is not much time left. Hurry, hurry…" But, the Kurdish leaders were in no hurry to declare independence for their stricken people. Instead they hurried to avoid offending foreign friends" (2).

I believe Mr. Izady knew what he was saying, unlike most of our Kurdish leaders, who have no idea what is going on, have no strategy, and when suddenly in a position to lead a nation were not competent enough to do so. What is done is done, and we cannot go back to the days after the Gulf War when circumstances brought a golden opportunity to the Kurdish people. We blame our occupiers for our failure, which maybe true, but it is not the whole truth. Firstly, we should blame our own malfunctions.

The Kurds, and especially the intellectuals, hold the Kurdish leadership responsible for every breakdown. A great deal of criticism is deserved, because they make the decisions and deal, as they like, with our oppressors without consulting the people.

However, it may not be right to blame the leaders entirely. In fairness, many Kurdish intellectuals are as guilty as them. If they were honest in their critique, which they should be as intellectuals, they would be frank in highlighting the mistakes made by our leaders and their parties in opposition to our nation. If they did not flatter and follow the deviations of the leaders then we would be in a better position now. These so-called 'intellectuals' damage the Kurdish cause more than they can imagine.

Thanks to God that people who demand independence for Kurdistan are increasing and those who oppose it become less. We witness Kurdish intellectuals who dare to talk and question the mistakes of the Kurdish political leadership. They try to present the real picture and accustom people with the idea of an independent Kurdish state as a possible reality at grassroots level. I am not an expert in the field, but believe this subject does not need experts. It is not difficult to understand that the Kurds like every other nation want freedom and want back what belongs to them. I doubt if there is any Kurd in the world who deep in his or her heart does not support such a thought. If you have your own land, your own language, a national flag, a national anthem and most of all the desire to be free, then no one can deny you the right to a state, as every other nation has.

The Kurds envisage Kurdistan as a united nation, a view witnessed clearly everyday, especially on the web. Even those who were sceptical are getting used to the idea of an independent Kurdistan. The only way solve the Kurdish case is to let the people decide their future in a free and democratic referendum. I agree with Mr. Karadaghi R, who recently wrote: "False and absurd claims aside, the States of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria lack any historical, legal, or other right to continue holding the Kurdish people captive and keeping their country, Kurdistan, occupied" (3).

Leading figures in Kurdish society, and particularly those in the Diaspora, have started serious discussions, especially on the Internet, about Kurdish issues. Paltalk** is popularly used by Kurds within the Diaspora and in Kurdistan. There are different voice chat rooms in which Kurds from all over Kurdistan communicate in lively, diverse seminars. Intellectuals and politicians from various parties participate in conferences that practice direct democracy and learning from each other in a new and helpful move forward. Unfortunately there are Kurdish intellectuals who hinder the positive development of the Kurdish mind. They are trying, directly and indirectly, to shut the mouths of those who discuss and criticise the negative elements in our society, particularly our politicians. But, there is something positive about every critic, even the destructive ones. If people cannot compare, they have no chance to see which is better, and people are clever enough to distinguish the good from the bad.

To ask for an independent Kurdish state does not mean you are nationalist or fascist.

What is wrong in asking to have the same rights as Turks, Persians or Arabs? It is a just and a fair demand. If you agree with opinion that wants less than is deserved, you are naive. These individuals and parties will soon realize they cannot prevent the Kurdish people from achieving its goal, a United States of Kurdistan, even if they thrive for a while.

* The three new republics are: Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. ** Both intellectuals and politicians are active in doing seminars, for instance, Dr. Buxari Abdulla, Dr. Fuad Mausom, Hushyar Zebari, Sardar Pishdari and others.

Notes: 1. Ahemd Z. Okcuoglu. Berbang 118, p. 24.

2. M. Izady. Kurdish Life, No. 15, Summer 1995, 'The Sphinx's Beard', Notes on Kurdish Political Naivete, p.11 3. Rashid Karadaghi. Kurdish Media 07/07/2001, 'The Emperor has no Clothes on'.