Kurds: the Hobbits of the Middle East
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Kurds: the Hobbits of the Middle East

Today I will write in the best English I know, for Kurdistan. Why I am so concerned with the Kurds? Because in Greece and also later in the Netherlands I had many Kurdish friends and they feel like Greeks to me. In fact they are partially Greek or we are partially Kurdish, since about 2000 years ago the territory of the Kurds spread in the North until the borders of the Black Sea. Then most of them went more South, but quite a lot stayed there, became Christians and joined the Greeks. So Greeks and Kurds are really family and Kurds adapt themselves to Greece without being noticed or even felt als foreigners, just like Armenians. So the invasion into Northern Syria by Erdoǵans troops feels like genocide to my own people. I feel not less than obliged to do what I can and that means I will write about them. Here and now, in English.

When ISIS terrified the Kurds in Northern Syria, I was very ill myself and also too worried to be able to do anything. Now I won’t let that happen again. When I heard Erdoǵan would actually go into the Kurdish territory of Northern Syria and kill many thousands of people – that is a genocide! – I woke up and will stand up now. And I hope you as a reader will share my article. Not for my ego, but for this beautiful country where Erdoǵan has already infiltrated and is killing the population NOW. US president Trump actually gave the man permission to ravage the land by withdrawing his own 50 troops that were still there. He also said in a speech that the Kurds didn’t help in WWII (not true: they attacked Nazi Turkey) and so now the USA doesn’t need to help them.  I think that is the most horrible thing a person can do, so let me tell you a bit more about the Kurds.

The Kurds are about 40 million people – maybe even more – living in four occupied pieces of their country. Roughly ancient Mesopotamia is their land. Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey all hold a piece of it and call the Kurds, who of course fight for their freedom like anyone would do in such a situation, ‘terrorists’ and ‘rebels’. But did you know these people have been living in that same area for 10,000 years? Yes, the first people in the whole Middle East from the Mediterranean until India who settled in one place instead of living like nomads, were the Kurds! Pottery and other things have been found to prove this. I have a book on the Kurds by Dr. Mehrdad Izady that tells their whole story. The Kurds have their own language: Kurmancî or Kurdish. They have more vernaculars like Zazakî (Dîmîlî) and Soranî, but even the Greeks in such a small country have different vernaculars like Pontian, Cretan and Cypriotic. Or the Dutch who have Flemish, Frisian and Limburgian. The fact that the Kurds have these vernaculars has been violently used against them: they live in four countries, speak three languages and ‘never’ had a free country, so why should we give them ‘a’ country now? It is just not true and since there are only Kurdish schools in Northern Iraq, of course not everyone can properly speak Kurmancî if they live in an area where another dialect is spoken. Even in the Netherlands where education is at such a high level, many people can’t speak proper Dutch.

koerdistan-dansKurds are very warm and friendly people who love telling jokes, making music, dancing, cooking and listening to poetry. They have equal rights for men and women, they have a great shamanistic religion called Yezidî and love kids. Most have been forced to become Muslims, but their hearts beat Yezidî. The Kurds who still practice their religion are very highly respected and I don’t know if you remember IS men kidnapping Yezidî women and violently abusing them as sex slaves. I love how they all sit together in a room, eat and drink tea or coffee and listen to each other. Such polite and nice people. How can anyone in the world think they don’t deserve a piece of land to live in and govern by themselves?? Their country is about as big as France and full of mostly green mountains, oil and water. They are the Hobbits of the Middle East and courageous like the Irish.

Imagine your country is occupied and you live in a horrible dictatorship like Iran or Turkey, where you don’t even have the right to exist as long as you keep on saying you’re a Kurd. Wouldn’t you use any possible way to fight for your nation? Wouldn’t you end up exploding a building now and then if writing, talking and protesting only got your people into more trouble? If your people were kept poor, uneducated and were tortured and threatened by the occupier’s army all the time? That is what the Kurdish liberation front PKK does and I really, really hate terror, but sometimes you have to become a terrorist in order to stop the terror used against you.

I tell you this: the only reason why the Kurds don’t get their country back, is because all the ‘Iraqi’ oil is theirs and most of the water in the Middle East as well. Their natural resources are being stolen by foreign forces who want to control the Switzerland of the Middle East, as they call Kurdistan.

 

Turkish president Recep Erdoǵan has sent his army to Northern Syria, where a relatively small Kurdish population lives, that can’t properly defend themselves. The first bombs have already fallen, according to his own message, which you can read here. Actions are against Kurdish protection forces YPG, who are said to work together with the heavily demonised PKK. Baloney, since how many Kurdish forces are there in a country divided into four which doesn’t have a proper government? Of course they work together in order to saveguard their people. Don’t forget that Turkey murders each Kurd they can get their hands on and they don’t hesitate to torture, rape and kill women and children. Not only now, but for hundreds of years since they have been present in the Middle East and the Mediterranean and the Kurds were caught in the middle between the Persian and the Ottoman Empire. We must make the whole world aware of what is currently happening to these beautiful people who helped the world get rid of IS and stopped many more wars before – let’s not forget that! Let us not betray them again and stand up for them right now! Please share this article anywhere you can and do what else you can for Kurdistan.

Here an example of the wonderful music of the Kurds: national singer Śivan Perwer singing Ey Firat, meaning Hey Euphrates (the river). It’s an old song, but I love it so much and want to share it with you. Śivan spent his life fighting for Kurdistan by means of singing and being busy with politics. He and his wife Gulistan are heroes! Plus when I had a very difficult period in my life about 20 years ago, he phoned me all the way from Denmark, where he was at that moment and helped me through it, no matter how busy and how famous he was. I will never forget that and will honour this man and his family forever.

 

 

 

© Sophia Vassiliou

 

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