3.23.2007

Waiting for Kurdistan

I love Christopher Hitchens' brilliant Letter from Kurdistan: Holiday in Iraq (VanityFair, April 2007) because of what it says about the resilience of the Kurdish people.

The Kurds are the largest nationality in the world without a state of their own. The King of Bahrain has, in effect, his own seat at the United Nations, but the 25 million or so Kurds do not. This is partly because they are cursed by geography, with their ancestral lands located at the point where the frontiers of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria converge.
Hitchens sees the terrific changes in Kurdish Iraq since George W.H. Bush imposed a no-fly zone over northern Iraq. Bush I did so in order to stop Saddam Hussein from continuing his mass murder of the Kurdish people. But Hitchens wonders what might have been had the U.S. honored its commitments to the Kurdish and the Iraqi people.

The thing that I've never understood--and never will--is why 25 million are denied nationhood by the world's community of nations. Based on what principle do nations such as the U.S., England, Russia, China, India and most others stand opposed to the emergence of Kurdistan?

None--other than a knee-jerk reaction to protect the status quo. But that status quo denies 25 million of their birthright to nationhood. Doesn't that matter?

Why on earth is it better to allow Syria, Iran, Iraq, Armenia and Turkey to the legitimate aspirations of the Kurdish people? It's not like any of these countries are especially good global citizens seeking to do right by the people whose lands they're squatting on.

While I'm glad to learn what Kurd can do with a measure of freedom in northern Iraq, I'd like to see civilized nations press for the emergence of a whole Kurdistan.

Is Kurdistan too much to hope for?

How much longer should the Kurds be made to wait?

Click here for Kurdistan - The Other Iraq.