GV Cross-post: Kurdistance:Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?

Coverage of the Kurdish blogosphere began on Global Voices in September of 2005, and since that time the Kurdish blogosphere has waxed and waned in its content. As I look at my feed-reader today, out of the 74 Kurdish blogs listed only 11 have updated their sites in the past two months, and even a smaller handful (3 or 4) have updated in the past week. Where did the conversation go? The answer is to places like Facebook and forums like Roj Bash Kurdistan and The Kurdistani Forum.

So how many Kurds are on Facebook? A sizable number in fact. Two Facebook groups (where membership is invitation only) sport fairly large numbers: How Many Kurds are on Facebook? has 1,367 members, and Support an Independent Kurdistan has 1,452 members. Of course this begs the question, with so many members on Facebook, how come more Kurds aren’t blogging? After his site was hacked multiple times From Holland to Kurdistan closed his blog to private readers only; and after similar persecution in Iran, Medya from MedyaDaily was forced to stop blogging. As one poster on the Facebook site I (heart) Kurdistan put it:

I want to tell you that I knew a lot of kurdish blogs, which were full of turkish idiots people ( I don’t mean that turkish are all idiots, but those ones were) who posted insults on those blogs, and it always became very violent, no discussion was possible, and the website host had to delete those blogs because of this violence !
So how can we have blogs from kurdish people when others enjoy breaking all hopes of sharing our culture !!?? All kind of people can go on Internet so fortunately other ways are possible to get stronger and respected !

And in response:

It’s sad about the blogs, and giving so easily up. People should not response to them and let them bark, and let the people know how they are. I’ve blocked/deleted countless many of such people who come and curse at the entire kurdish nation. Because they are not worth to waste my time to reply.

What can be done to counteract the quietening of voices in the Kurdish blogosphere? Facebook poster Rezan offers the following list:

10 simple things you can do right now for Kurdistan!
* 1. Create a blog about Kurds. The more blogs we have about Kurdistan and Kurdish culture the better.
* 2. Be active on Wikipedia, add articles, and be active in promoting Kurdish history and culture.
* 3. Create a group IRL in your city, that you meet each week to discuss politics. Be creative. Do not be afraid to discuss politics. We HAVE to learn to discuss our difference not our common. Find activities to do, like create a dance group, open a seminar at your university or school.
* 4. Create a website with photos from your Kurdistan trips. Power up Google Images with Kurdish and Kurdistan.
* 5. Promote Kurdish Language. Go to courses or ask for help from friends and schools to learn your mother language. If you are good at it, offer your help to those Kurdish youth that cannot speak Kurdish.
* 6. Write an article about Kurdistan to your local newspaper. Give your hope and dreams of a country of our own. Promote the greater Kurdistan.
* 7. Donate money in several Kurdish organizations. If you don’t have money, find sponsors from companies that could donate money for Kurdish youth non-political organizations.
* 8. Become active your local non-Kurdish political parties. Having Kurds in American or European political organizations has the most profound effect on foreign affairs.
* 9. Send a letter to your local politicians to include the Kurdish struggle in their events and discussions.
* 10. Be a role model for other Kurdish youth. Be active. Become productive. Promote Kurdistan and Kurdish culture. Make sure that follow your steps!

If you are interested in seeing more of the Kurds online, here are just a few of the Kurdish Facebook sites:
How Many Kurds are on Facebook?
Kerkuk-The Heart of Kurdistan
I (heart) Kurdistan
I am a Kurd
Friends of Kurdistan
Fundraising for Kurdish Rights
Asimilasyon bir insanlık suçudur…
Free Kurdistan
Happy is the one who says, “I’m a KURD”.
Support an Independent Kurdistan

Dead Links

Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going to remain silent.  Actually most of the time I just forget to post my articles from Global Voices here…so really it is airheadedness on my part.

There are alot of the links on this site which unfortunately lead to inactive blog sites.  In the next few weeks, I am going to clean them up and place them in active and inactive categories…I don’t want to junk the links entirely because I feel that it is important to keep the record of thought alive.

GV Posting-Kurdistance: The Kirkuk Referendum

While the Kirkuk Referendum isn’t expected to take place until December 2007, it is creating waves within Kurdistan, Iraq and their neighbors. Why the flurry of activity now? The Iraq Study Report recommended that the referendum be delayed, citing the the area as a “powderkeg”. The Republic of Turkey wants the referendum delayed, and even the Iraqi government is considering the same. This panics the Kurdish officials in the region.

Kirkuk is interesting in itself. For one, it is rich, hosting a lucrative oil supply. Secondly, the area is mixed ethnically: Kurds and Turkmen. While the Turkmen population used to be higher (and more concentrated) evolving demographics show Kurds as the new majority. The referendum would have Kirkuk classify itself as wanting to be a part of Iraq major or part of the semi-independent Northern Iraq Kurdistan.

Regional players are very important in this conflict. Turkey is opposed to Kirkuk being part of the semi-independent Kurdistan, stating that they are only looking out for their Turkmen brethren. More potently, Kirkuk being formally a part of the semi-independent Kurdistan could possibly lead to an independent Kurdistan. This threatens Turkey in respect to control its Kurdish population and Kurdish rebel violence stemming from the PKK. Additionally, an independent Kurdistan would threaten to destabilize Iraq, Iran, Syria and well as Turkey. As you can see, there is alot riding on this referendum.

How do the Turkmen feel about this? As From Holland to Kurdistan reports:

In the last KRG Parliament session about Kerkuk, a Turkmen MP made a speech in the parliament. It showed the participation of Turkmen in the Kurdish region. This was shown on the Kurdish channel Kurdistan TV.

He said: “I will say this in Turkish so Turks understand this, we are Turkmen and not Turks”. He also said Turkey is doing more damage to the Turkmeni people then any good.

Also a Turkmen politician asked Turkey to stop interfering with their business, he said why is Turkey talking about Turkmeni rights after we got those rights and not when Saddam was oppressing us?”

Additionally the Iraq Solidarity Campaign reports that the Turkmen are wary of the Turks. For a more Turkish view on the Turkmen case of Kirkuk see here. In any event, the Turks are actively involved in Kirkuk as Kurdish Aspect illustrates:

Last week Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Iraq and said “Turkey will not sit idle if the Iraqi Kurds have control over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.” That brought strong criticism by a Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) spokesman who said “we have heard for some time meaningless statements by some Turkish officials with their implied threats and we want to remind them that the Ottoman empire had fallen a long time ago and Iraq is not part of Turkey,” told Voice of Iraq.

In my opinion, all these threats and warnings, in addition to wanting destabilizing of the Kurdish achievements in Iraq, Erdogan is trying to please the chauvinist nationalist and the military power to secure the presidential post in Turkey. The threats and changes in Erdogan’s views from the beginning of his term until now are directly tied to the upcoming election in Turkey.

No matter, what happens in Iraq with regards to article 140 it is up to the Iraqi people to decide on the future of Kirkuk and not Mr. Gul, Mr. Erdogan or the Turkish State.

Iraqi Kurdistan criticizes the findings of the Iraq Study Group:

hr report is ignoring the fact that the Iraqi constitution has adopted federalism and the people of Iraq want clearly a only weak central control from Baghdad. It is outrageous that this unfortunate report is obliging to Turkey , the very country which let America down at the time of need, by calling to postpone the article 140 of Iraqi permanent constitution which paves the way for a just solution for the issue of Kirkuk and other ethnicly cleansed cities of Iraqi Kurdistan. To alienate the Kurds, the only real fiends of America in Iraq, will bring Iraq definitely into civil war and paves the way for disintegration of Iraq, for no Kurdish leader, regardless of their degree of friendship to America, will dare to abandon the issue of Kirkuk.
Mr Baker and Mr Hamilton and their study group totally ignored the Kurdish factor in Iraq and taken them for granted. All the miserable wars of saddam started from his policies of Arabization and maltreatment of Kurdish citizens, and the Kurds will not allow any central government to persecute them again, and will certainly resist any foreign intervention, especially Turkish one, in Iraqi Kurdistan affairs.

Hiwakan calls for an end to Turkish involvement:

We are ready to do [alot] in UK at least in the event of any intervention, pressure and worse from Turkey to convince the UK government to back the TRUE right of the Kurds all around the world and specifically in Kirkuk where we fought the coalition forces against Saddam when the Turks didnt even allow them to use their land and were against the war on Saddam!
I am sure almost all European countries have enought southern Kurdistan Kurds together with their northen Kurdistani Kurds who are happy to express their opinion in different forms to force the governments to put pressure on Turkey to mind its own 20M Kurds and remind them again that Ottoman reign in OVER! That was your golden era and its most loyal nation was the Kurds… we HOPEFULLY have learned our lesson!
Lets see, who will win the battle for Kirkuk… in other words Kurdish Independence War!

Rasti warns about the consequences of Turkey intervening to the level they have threatened (occupation of Northern Iraq):

The best outcome of such an occupation would be the unification of the Kurdish people across all borders and the ensuing slaughter of Mehmetciks, but practically speaking, I don’t believe we are at the point of such a scheme being put into place. The US wants to maintain control of the energy resources of Iraq, including those of South Kurdistan, Mûsil, and Kerkuk. The US knows that if the Ankara regime occupies, it will not leave, thus jeopardizing the control over South Kurdistan’s energy resources. A Turkish occupation would most likely cause Iran to react in order to rebalance the regional power, possibly leading to a seizure–even if a soft one–of Southern Iraq and its energy resources. At the top domain level, we could be sure to see more regional involvement by the SCO, since Iran has observer status in that organization, causing problems for both Turkey and the US as they hope to consolidate their own power in the Central Asian republics.

This will not be the end of discussion on the Kirkuk referendum (and definitely not the end of GV posts on the subject). What we are witnessing is the beginning of a potentially explosive situation, or at least a case-study in political geography.

GV: The End of Saddam

Due to the annoying inability of wordpress to let me log on last week, I was unable to post the GV article I did here, but I will give a link for you. Kurdistance: the End of Saddam.

GV Article-Kurdistance-It’s Quiet Out Here

One of the hardest things about reporting on various blogospheres is the natural ebb and flow of people’s writings.  The past two weeks in the Kurdish blogosphere have been strangely quiet, the kind of quiet that is found before a great storm.

Hiwa from <em><a href=”http://hiwakan.blogspot.com/”>Hiwa Hopes</a></em> writes about the <a href=”http://hiwakan.blogspot.com/2006/11/corruption-in-kurdistan.html”>rampant corruption found in Northern Iraq/Southern Kurdistan.</a>  Vladimir on <em><a href=”http://vladimirkurdistan.blogspot.com/”>From Holland to Kurdistan</a></em> talks about the rise of <a href=”http://vladimirkurdistan.blogspot.com/2006/11/pro-kurdish-politician-is-favorite-in.html”>popularity in French politics of a pro-Kurdish politician</a>. <a href=”http://rastibini.blogspot.com/”><em>Rasti</em></a&gt; exposes the <a href=”http://rastibini.blogspot.com/2006/11/women-of-pkk.html”>roles of women in the PKK</a>. And <em><a href=”http://rojtv.blogspot.com/”>Save RojTV</a></em> celebrates its <a href=”http://rojtv.blogspot.com/2006/11/our-first-anniversary.html”>one year anniversary</a>.

Sorry for the slow week, however if you want to read an interesting dialouge on the nature of Kurdistan in the geographic sense, check out the comments on the last installment of <a href=”http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2006/11/16/kurdistance-picking-up-the-pieces/”>Kurdistance</a&gt;.

GV-10-11 Kurdistance Article

I choose to begin this week’s article with a disclaimer which is spawned in response to comments I received on last week’s edition of Kurdistance: the contents of my articles are not of my own opinion, but rather the opinions of the bloggers that I cover. I try to remain neutral and objective in my article reporting: I take no sides, I will not withhold information and I will not skew what was said by someone else. The bloggers that I cover are not objective and it is my job to show you what their point of view on current events is.

Now with that out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Both From Holland to Kurdistan and Rasti discuss this week the increase of political activism that can be found on YouTube. The debate has begun in response to an audio file posted of comedian/activist Mark Thomas talking about stories of Turkish torture against the Kurds of Turkey. As later explained by the fellow who originally posted the file on YouTube, his posting of this information was an attempt to bring the ideals of pacisim and political activism to a larger audience. Based on the amount of comments that this posting has resulted in, the young gentleman deemed this a good start for promoting the protection of human rights by increasing the scope of exposure.

Rasti had this to say about Mark Thomas’s work:

There’s more on all this in an interview with Mark Thomas. Although there is no date on the interview, it is in reference to the campaign. If you read the interview, you will get a frame of reference for the audio, and an idea of what life has been like for Kurds under Turkish occupation–the same thing that makes self-confessed pacifist, Mark Thomas, “enraged.”

I don’t suffer from the disease of pacifism, and the reality always enrages me. For Thomas to admit that he could have killed the “golfers” (his term for the Turkish security forces), then he was seriously affected by the reality of the people of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan.

Let’s continue on with the theme of activism, but this time adding education into the mix. Pearls of Iraq announced this week the beginning of a children’s book drive sponsered by Kurdistan Save the Children and the University of Sulaimaniya. Please check out her link if you want to participate.

Onnik Krikorian from Oneworld Multimedia has again revisited the topic the Yezidi Kurds in Armenia this time covering more of the aspects of the difficulties in minority language instruction. Books presented for use in these minority communities have been printed in Cyrillic script whereas the common print used is Latin. The books were refused and as Onnik shows us, no one really wants to take responsibility.

Hiwa writes about a recent verbal attack from the Palestinian President against the Kurdish peshmerga and comments about how current events with the world worried about nuclear proliferation might lead to a withdrawl in Iraq.

Save RojTV talks about how Turkish General Buyukanit is not happy about freedom of expression in Turkey. And Mizgin from Rasti writes about the error of referring to Kurds as “good” or “bad”.

GV Post-9/27 Kurdistance

Onnik Krikorian from Oneworld Multimedia has written a series of wonderful articles about the Yezidis, ethnic Kurds, who live in Georgia and Armenia. Traditionally, information gathered about the Yezidis focus on those that live in Southern Kurdistan/Northern Iraq, which makes Onnik’s article an incredibly valuable cultural resource.

Rasti writes this week about the “spin” in the Turkish media about the prowess of the Turkish Military:

This spin on alleged Turkish military prowess is only going to work on the ignorant. Think about it; when was the last time the TSK was involved in a real war? That would be Korea. Since then, the only military prowess exercised by the TSK has been against unarmed Kurdish civilians under Turkish occupation, or against a few thousand Kurdish gerîlas, or against unarmed Cypriot civilians in Turkish-occupied Cyprus. The TSK specializes in fighting civilians, but there’s no way it’s going to get into a real fight. That’s why the pashas are only going to send 800 to 1,000 Mehmetciks to Lebanon–out of an 800,000 strong army, second largest in NATO–and, since everything has hotted up in Afghanistan, that’s why the pashas are balking at sending more Mehmetciks for that “peacekeeping” mission.

Hiwa from Hiwa Hopes notes the increase of Kurds living in Northern Kurdistan/Southeast Turkey heading to Southern Kurdistan/Northern Iraq to enroll in Kurdish Universities.

The Is-Ought Problem gives a detailed explanation behind the recent decision of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to fly the Kurdish flag instead of the Iraqi flag:

As a result, the decision not to fly the flag of Iraq, but instead to fly only the flag of the Kurdistan Regional Government is much more than a statement of national independence. It is a statement of cultural autonomy and rejuvenation. A statement of religious tolerance and pluralism. It is, more than anything, an affirmation that Kurdistan is, and shall remain, different.

Bit of a shorter week I’m afraid, see you next time!