August 23, 2016

A Brief History of The Kurds + Vladimir Zhirinovsky about independent Kurdistan (English subs)

Aftermath of an ISIS attack on a Kurdish wedding in the city of Gaziantep in southeastern Turkey that left more than 50 people dead, most of them women and children. In all likelihood the attack was planned and executed by Erdogan's government which has a very close relationship with the terrorist group. Photo source: Getty.


An excerpt from, "The Kurdish Problem and Possible Solutions" By Stanislav Ivanov, New Eastern Outlook, May 28, 2013:
The Kurdish problem will probably be solved not at the global or regional level, but separately and by stages, in countries where Kurds live compactly and are in the minority. There is little likelihood that these states will split along ethnic lines or that the Kurdish areas secede. Hence a new country — Greater Kurdistan — probably will not come about for a long time to come. Of course, the Kurds themselves will never surrender this age-old dream or idea, but the preconditions for it do not yet exist.
The struggle of the Iraqi, Syrian, Turkish and Iranian Kurds for their national rights and freedoms is the internal problem of those states and does not directly affect Russia’s interests. As the Kurdish parties and movements in those countries are legalized, Russia may establish contacts with them along parliamentary, party, federal subject and municipal government, nongovernmental, and public organizational lines. Of course, the increasing role and importance of the 40 million Kurds and the dynamically developing Kurdish minorities in each country where they have compact populations must be given due consideration in Russia’s foreign policy and by its foreign policy departments.
Below is an excerpt from the 1992 book "No Friends but the Mountains: The Tragic History of the Kurds," by John Bulloch and Harvey Morris about the origins and history of the Kurdish people.
"It is a fallacy promoted by the host states that the Kurds are an essentially nomadic people. The nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes traditionally formed the dominant group in Kurdish society, but even before this century most Kurds were settled or else migrated seasonally from settled communities to the countryside to graze their flocks. With movement into the towns most Kurds have been detribalized.

Before the division of Kurdistan among five modern states, it was far from being a homogenous territory. Differences of dialect and custom as well as religion combined with tribal rivalries to ensure that the Kurdish nation remained divided. These contrasts have been heightened by the differing natures of the modern host states, which have still not prevented the Kurds from maintaining a sense of their Kurdishness even, as is the case of many Turkish Kurds, where they have lost the knowledge of their own language. Family and clan attachments cross national boundaries, and modern frontiers are considered little more than an unwanted inconvenience that should be disregarded whenever possible.

The host states have invariably kept their Kurdish provinces in a state of underdevelopment and impoverishment for fear of an increase in Kurdish power. There are few indigenous industries, apart from tobacco manufacture, to exploit local Kurdish resources. Local craftmanship, which was traditionally the preserve of Christians and Jews within the Kurdish towns and villages, has died out as a result of the emigration of these communities and the introduction of cheap manufactured items into Kurdistan. The isolation of Kurdish communities from each other has not been eradicated by the introduction of roads and communications since these tend to serve the needs of the modern national states. Thus, it is easier to travel from Turkish Kurdistan to Ankara or from Iraqi Kurdistan to Baghdad than it is to travel within Kurdistan itself.

But who are these people who so doggedly refuse to accept the verdict of history - that they have no separate place in the world? One negative result of state policies of assimilation and denial of Kurdish nationhood is that there has been relatively little modern research on the Kurds' ethnic and cultural origins. This means that there is no definitive answer to the question of their origins, except to say that an identifiable Kurdish people has inhabited the mountainous regions north of Mesopotamia for up to four millennia.

The first historical reference to the forefathers of the Kurds (although even this is disputed) appears in Xenophon's Anabasis, the contemporary account of the epic journey of the Greek 10,000 as they fled the Persian empire in 401 BC after the defeat of Cyrus, and of their encounters with the barbarians. As they head north from Mesopotamia to the Black Sea, Xenophon and his fellow Greeks enter the territory of the Carduchi, or Kardoukhoi. After twenty-four centuries the identity of these ancient barbarians may still be obscure, but their name and their location - north of modern-day Mosul - link them to today's Kurds, as does their attitude to central authority. 'These people,' according to Xenophon, 'lived in the mountains and were very war-like and not subject to the [Persian] king. Indeed a royal army of 120,000 had once invaded their country, and not a man of them had got back, because of the terrible conditions on the ground they had to go through.' The Greeks fought their way through the territory of the Carduchi in seven days, but Xenophon acknowledged that they suffered more against these proto-Kurds than they had against the armies of the Persian empire.

Xenophon tells us little about the Carduchi beyond their war-like qualities and their skill with the bow. Although the Greeks spoke to them through interpreters, there is no description of the language they spoke. 

The language of the modern Kurds is closely related to Persian, and belongs to the north-western Iranian group alongside the languages of Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Tajikistan. According to Herodotus, the Greek historian, Kurdish and Persian were mutually comprehensible in ancient times. By extension Kurdish is related to Sanskrit and to many of the languages of modern Europe, including English. The relationship can be seen in many basic words: erd ('earth'), new ('new'), bru ('eyebrow'), ruber ('river'), dlop ('drop of water').

The modern Kurdish dialects are in some cases mutually incomprehensible, with wide variations in both vocabulary and grammar. The two main dialect groups are Kurmanji, spoken in Turkey and north-western Iraq and as far as Lake Orumiyeh in Iran, and Sorani, spoken in southern Iraqi Kurdistan and south-western Iranian Kurdistan. A separate dialect, Zaza, is spoken among many Turkish Kurds, existing alongisde Kurmanji, while the Shia Kurds of southern Iranian Kurdistan speak dialects which are closer to modern Persian than they are to the languages of their fellow Kurds. The lack of a unified language has been used as an argument for claiming that the Kurds are not one nation; but the dialects are essentially as close as, say, Portuguese and Spanish, and closer than the languages of modern China or of nineteenth-century Italy.

From linguistic and classical historical evidence, it has generally been concluded that the Kurds are descended from the ancient Medes, an Iranian people who moved down from central Asia and settled in the twelfth century BC in the Zagros mountains and around Lake Orumiyeh in what is now Azerbaijan. The Medes conquered the Assyrian empire and the great cities of Nimrod and Niniveh, near present-day Mosul, but they were in turn defeated by the Persians. The Kurds themselves have traditionally favoured the theory of their Median ancestry - Meda is a name given to girl children.
Before the coming of Islam in the seventh century AD, the people of Kurdistan predominantly followed the Zoroastrian religion of their Persian neighbours, although there are still cultural echoes in Kurdish folklore and customs of earlier pre-Aryan pagan beliefs

The Kurds were relatively slow to adopt the new religion which emerged from the Arabian peninsula in the seventh century and swept into the Levant, central Asia and across north Africa to southern Europe. The Kurds' first contact with the Muslim armies was in 637, when the invaders captured Tikrit, 100 miles north of Baghdad, on the fringes of Kurdish territory. Two years later Kurds fought on the side of the Persian governor of Ahwaz, as the fading Zoroastrian empire struggled ineffectively to hold back the tide of the new religion. The Arabs established their first foothold in Kurdistan itself in 643, after defeating the Kurdish armies at a bloody battle in what is now the Iraqi province of Suleimaniyeh.

The Kurds fought more vigorously than most against the domination of the Arabs, taking part in numerous uprisings. This may reflect competition for grazing land between the Kurds and the Arabs of the plains, which long pre-dated the coming of Islam. The close tribal structure of Kurdish society and the natural isolation of their mountain homeland may also have been factors in their resistance to the new religion. That they eventually succumbed to it may have more to do, as it did elsewhere, with the fact that Muslims escaped the tax on unbelievers than with any particularly strong adherence to the spiritual tenets of the new religion. 

As elsewhere the Muslim armies cemented new alliances by intermarriage; the mother of the last Ommayed caliph, Merwan Hakim, was a Kurd. Even so, the more isolated Kurdish tribes held out against the newcomers and were mounting raids on Muslim territory as late as the thirteenth century. This spirit of independence and resistance to Arab domination is reflected in another legend from Kurdish folklore. It tells how, when the Prophet called on the princes of the world to embrace the new religion, all hurried to submit to him. Oguz Khan, the prince of Turkestan, sent a Kurd, Zemin, to represent him. The Prophet was said to have been so impressed by this giant of a man with piercing eyes that he asked about his origins. On learning that Zemin was a Kurd, Mohamed prayed to God that such a terrifying people should never unite as a single nation.

Once converted, the majority of the Kurdish tribes became the most vigorous and devoted defenders of the new faith, although the spiritual element of their religious fervour was always open to question; as the Turkish proverb puts it: 'Compared to an infidel, the Kurd is a good Muslim.' Their war-like abilities, which over the centuries had been variously harnessed to the service of the Roman, Byzantine and Sassanid empires, were now dedicated to the service of Islam. (John Bulloch and Harvey Morris. "No Friends but the Mountains: The Tragic History of the Kurds." 1992. Oxford University Press: Oxford. Pg. 54-60).
Below are excerpts from Christiane Bird's 2005 book, "A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan."
"Many things were different in Iranian Kurdistan as compared to Iraqi Kurdistan. The place felt more settled, less raw. In Iran, there were few signs of recent war and many signs of a long-functioning, sophisticated society at work--one into which many Kurds, numbering about 6.5 million out of a total population of 68 million, were comparatively better integrated. For all the problems that the Kurds have had with the Iranian government--almost as many as the Iraqi Kurds have had with their government--they have much in common with their compatriot Persians. Kurds and Persians share a similar language, a similar tolerance, a similar independence of spirit, and a similar outlook toward the Arabs, who conquered both their lands in the name of Islam in A.D. 637

Iranian Kurdistan is not as isolated from the rest of Iran as the Iraqi safe haven was from the rest of Iraq, and many parts contain not just Kurds but large concentrations of other ethnic groups. Between a half million and a million Iranian Kurds also live in Tehran, where they go about their business much like any other Iranians, often unable to speak Kurdish, and often more concerned with issues that affect all Iranians--economics, for one--rather than just the Kurds.

Indeed, a major difference between Iran and Iraq, as well as between Iran and Turkey, is its considerably more heterogeneous population. Iran is only about half ethnic Persian, and holds many major minority groups--including Azeri Turks, Baluchis, Qashqais, Turcomans, Arabs, and Kurds. In contrast, in both Iraq and Turkey, the Kurds are the only sizable minority and make up a much larger proportion of their respective country's total population--about 23 percent in Iraq and 20 percent in Turkey, as compared to 10 percent in Iran. The Iranian government has therefore immediately cracked down on the separatist movements of all its minority groups, as the autonomy of any one group could lead to the breakup of the entire state. The sort of semiautonomy offered to the Iraqi Kurds in 1970 has not occured in Iran. Conversely, the Iranian government has seldom felt quite as threatened by its Kurds as has its neighbors, and in recent decades has offered Kurds more cultural rights--though not political ones--than has Iraq or Turkey." (Christiane Bird. A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan. 2005. Random House, Inc: New York. Pg. 263-264).
Video Title: Vladimir Zhirinovsky about independent Kurdistan (English subs). Source: Zahinho. Date Published: November 30, 2015. Description:
In this video from 2002, Zhirinovsky speaks about the creation of independent state of Kurdistan. It really amazes me how everyone remembered Kurds all the sudden. They've been suffering for so long, but no one gave a shit. You see that Zhirinovsky is talking about this for 20+ years, but nobody listened. Anyway, I guess the world works this way. And this is a great opportunity for Kurds to gain independence, that they should take advantage of.

Took place on: 18/10/2002