Palestine and Kurdistan: Similarity and Challenges

In current issues in the Middle East, Palestine and Kurdistan can be categorised in the most significant keywords. The State of Palestine is recognised as a state by more than 130 countries including the West such as Iceland and Sweden as the United Nations provided that the year 2014 was “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”. Meanwhile, in Kurdistan, so-called “Islamic State (ISIS)” has expanded its lands among Iraq and Syria and established a literally terrorist state. As ISIS invades Kurdish populated areas in the both countries, Peshmerga, an Iraqi Kurdish army, YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia, PKK, a Turkish Kurdish organisation and KDP-I, an Iranian Kurdish group, are fighting against ISIS and putting up a good fight.

In both Palestinian and Kurdish topics, women are often featured in the media. When Palestinian boy was arrested by Israeli forces, his mother, aunt and little sister rescued him from soldiers in West Bank in August 2015. This incident was widely reported by major media, titled “the power of Palestinian women”. In the meantime, YPG has an additional military organisation called YPJ, which is formed by only women. The fact that Kurdish female soldiers of YPJ (and PKK) flourish in the battlefields interests the Western media, which are responsive to feminism, and raises awareness of Kurdish female soldier works for more than 50 year among the world at last.

There are still the certain numbers of people who have images as women in the Middle East are helpless against war and trembling from fears; they cannot even walk outside due to “sexist” Islamic doctrine. These opinions are rarely true, but they are not so weak as you think. As Palestinian society has the relatively secular climate compared to other Arab countries; Kurdistan, especially Syrian Kurdistan is more secular than Palestine, people in these areas live more strongly than we think. Palestine has Leila Khaled and Kurdistan has Leyla Qasim.

Kurds were historically persecuted for political, social and cultural aspects under Arab and Turkish regimes, which eventually led Kurds to make a friendly relations with Israel as both Kurds and Jews has been treated as foreign objects by Arabs—Iraqi Kurdistan provides approximately 80 per cent of oil in Israel in 2015. Thus, Kurds have complexed feeling for Palestinians even though both of them underwent hardship. However, it is clear that these peoples have a lot in common; not in political side but in cultural sides, they can deeply sympathise with women’s roles and humanitarian topics. There should be a compromise between them in the near future.

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