Remember “Forgot Nation”

Have you ever heard “Kurdistan” or “Kurds?” Maybe yes and maybe no, because it is called “forgot nation.” But I guess more people remember this name than before because not so long months have passed since earthquake in Van, Turkish Kurdistan has been reported. You would have heard name of PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, Kurdistan Workers’ Party) or something. It depends on where you live, but usually you will find much less books about Kurdistan than ones about Palestine at the bookstore. But believe me, Kurdistan covers 392,000 km² and 30 million Kurds are living there. This land is as large as Germany or California, this nation is as many as Canadian. Kurdistan is located south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, north-western Iran and northern Syria.

They are also called “the largest stateless nation in the world.” In the middle ages, Kurdistan was semi-independent or independent states. The map drawn in 1721 shows borders of “Curdistan” provinces in Persia. Khalif indirectly influences these areas, but actually Kurdish emir ruled these areas and Kurds. Shortly, Kurds had their own countries in the past. In 1919, independence of Kurdish own state was mentioned at the Versailles Peace Conference. However, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, Treaty of Lausanne ignored their independence owing to contrary opinion of M. Kemal Ataturk. After that, the Kurdish delegation proposed an idea of independence once again at the San Francisco Peace Conference in 1945. As you know, it was ignored once again.

Also, Kurds have their own language, called Kurdish. Some Turkish people say Kurdish language is among dialects of Turkish dialects. Also some Iranian people say Kurdish language is among dialects of Persian language. However, Turkish language belongs to Altaic language while Kurdish language belongs to Iranian language, therefore it is obvious that this insight is politically-based propaganda. And indeed, Kurdish language is similar to Persian language, but it is different from Persian fundamentally. These logic are based Kurdish-oppressive policies by these countries.

In Turkey, to my horror, you would be arrested if you speak Kurdish language in the past. And even now, you cannot speak it in public space such as a library, office and park. This means that you cannot receive education by your own language. Moreover, you will be arrested if you have handkerchief colored by red, white and green (because these color are designed on Kurdish flag). You will be arrested if you attend any pro-Kurdish protests. You will be arrested if you express your opinion for Kurdish rights. In Iran, if you protest hard for Kurds, you occasionally will be executed. In Syria, you won’t be even entitled citizenship rights.

When we talk about Kurds, we cannot avoid this subject: Halabja massacre, also known as Bloody Friday. Kurdish city called Halabja is located northern Iraq, near border of Iran. In 16 May 1988, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein (then) ordered to kill civilians in Halabja because they cooperated with Iran. Iraqi forces used poison gas and it killed 3,200 to 5,000 people, and injured more than 10,000 people. Thousands died due to complications, diseases and birth defects in a few years after the attack. This is the largest poison gas attack in the world. Yes, it killed more than victims of poison gas in the World War I or II.

It will need one more book to give all the particulars of Halabja massacre, so regrettably, I must omit details. But I strongly hope you will examine this massacre, Kurds and Kurdistan because there are so many insights and theories. For instance, it is also said there are 20 million Kurds while there are 35 million. Please do not be passive but active. To search into something is easier to understand than to receive information on something.

Here is a question: Why cannot the largest stateless nation built their own state? It seems that “the largest” nation could have very strong power to be independent. They exactly have it, but they have few ways to use it. Turkey, Iran and Syria strictly oppress Kurds. That’s why Kurds cannot resist these countries without being jailed. If you have little fortune, you will be killed, as I said. Also, the fact that they are separated into four countries makes it difficult for them to gather up their power.

In addition, the opinions on PKK between Kurds oppose in each other. One is for PKK, the largest organization in Kurdistan, because it has very big support of many Kurds. The other is against PKK, listed terrorists by the United States, Europe Union and so on, because it is out of date. Indeed, PKK killed many people including civilians in Turkey. However, how many have Turkey killed Kurdish civilians? What did make PKK do that? Same question can refer Hamas. Why do rocket bombs fly from Gaza? Everything has the cause, nothing does not. The most unknown fact is the number of terrorists killed is always less than the number of oppression killed. For your information, here is concrete numbers: According to Turkey, PKK killed about 6,700 Turkish people while Turkey killed 30,000 Kurdish people in PKK-Turkey conflict.

PKK had ideology of revolutionary socialism, surely. However, former leader Abdullah Ocalan abandoned Marxism after his imprisonment. Now that this organization is the largest party in Kurdistan, so it is easy for Kurds to unite against oppression on the basis of PKK. Of course there may be many opinions against mine, I know. I hope this will be chance to debate what Kurds would do and to know what Kurds and Kurdistan is. Also I hope Japanese will have interests in these problems. If you search “Kurdistan” in Japanese on Google, it shows 128,000 results while “Palestine” does 3,380,000 results. It tells us very few Japanese source of Kurdish information is available in Japanese. We Japanese people should know more Kurdish knowledge.

In Japan, probably most of people have not heard name of “Kurdistan” or “Kurds,” I think. Earthquake in Van was reported just “earthquake in eastern Turkey” in Japan by most of the media although some media mentioned slow support by Turkey due to hate against PKK. Some media — known as NHK — interviewed a Kurdish man. Turkish government thought Kurds were indifferent to them, he said. I guess so too and would like to add this phrase that “but they think Kurdistan is not indifferent to them.” Kurdistan yields oil. It is said that it contains about 45 billion barrels of oil, that is the sixth largest reserve in the world. Turkey thinks Kurds are so annoying but loves money born by oil. How vulgar!

Thousands villages were destroyed, nearly 40,000 people were killed, But nevertheless most of people do not know that they exist. Tyrants hate voices because oppression can only survive through the silence. Please raise your voices against oppression, or the world won’t change without fail. If you would like to change the world, you should begin to change yourself above all else things, I think. Let us know, let us be such educated people that we can educate people.

Spas for your reading, biji Kurdistan!

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4 responses to “Remember “Forgot Nation”

  1. I am happy to see people concerned about the Kurdish case and helping us, Kurds, to have our rights. I must say Thank You for writing this, well done! and yes indeed the Kurdish case is not a known one although it is a very big one and Kurds were deprived from their rights as long as it can be remembered. Yes, there are few books, information, media coverage on what is happening and used to happen to Kurds. Well done and thank you again.

  2. Refreshing to see someone that isn’t even Kurdish have such great knowledge and interest in the Kurdish people and our history. Really enjoyed reading your article, Hiroaki. Well done.

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