Washington D.C., Oct. 17, 2017–Early Sunday morning, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) dominated by Iranian-backed Shiite militias, began their assault on Kirkûk, in an unprovoked attack on Kurdistan.
Bakur | Başûr | Rojhelat | Rojava
Who Are The Kurds?
The Kurds are the largest stateless ethnic group on Earth. Composed of a diversity of religions, dialects, and ideologies, Kurds share a common history and home in Kurdistan. Kurdistan is the mountainous region that crosses the borders of present-day south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, western Iran, and northern Syria; each called Bakur, Başûr, Rojhelat, and Rojava, the Kurdish words for north, south, east, and west.
The Kurds have been persecuted and oppressed under all four nation-states that claim the land under their feet for generations. Kurds have been subjected to genocide and brutal repression, denied autonomy and even the freedom to be Kurdish, to speak the language or practice Kurdish culture.
The Ottoman empire dissolved in the early 20th century, on the losing side of the war alongside Germany in World War I, and was occupied and partitioned by the Allied powers after the war, which ultimately created the nation-states of Syria, Turkey, and Iraq, among others. The map of the region was completely redrawn and borders and states continued to change after World War II, all excluding a Kurdish government.
Kurdish nationalist movements and uprisings began in the late 19th century, under the Ottoman Empire, with a resurgence after its dissolution, and were met with two centuries of repression and denial of self-determination by Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Present day Kurdistan chiefly has two Kurdish governments, with two different approaches to Kurdish autonomy. Başûr has the Kurdistan Regional Government, a semi-autonomous regional government that’s part of Iraq, with a parliamentary government. The government in Rojava is the Federation of Northern Syria, a stateless democracy with a democratic confederal system of autonomous communities, with a pluralist social contract that includes the ethnic groups of Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Arameans, Turkmen, Armenians, and Chechens.
Kurds in Rojava and Başûr have suffered greatly from the rise of and occupation by DAESH (ISIS) and have been the key fighters on the ground defeating DAESH, liberating cities and towns. Enjoying support primarily from the US against common enemies, Saddam Hussein and DAESH, Kurds have enjoyed excellent and increasingly warm relations with the US and coalition forces. Though the same can’t be said for Kurds in Bakur, whose struggle for autonomy against the Turkish state has complicated relations with NATO allies, Washington and Ankara, with differences over common official opposition to Kurds resisting the Turkish state in Bakur and US support for Kurds in Rojava, who Ankara sees as the same.
The North American Kurdish Alliance works to strengthen the bonds between the peoples of North America and the Kurds in support of the rights of Kurds to live in freedom, security, and self-determination; through publicity, outreach, and working with officials and congresspersons.
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If my mother tongue is shaking the foundations of your state, it probably means that you built your state on my land.”
–Apê Musa (Musa Anter)
Kurdish writer, assassinated by the Turkish secret services in 1992.