Rapping for those who only have the Mountains

We have often written here of the Kurds of Iraq. In fact, I had a post titled “No Friends But The Mountains” back when I was most concerned that Iraq was spinning out of control:

There is a great deal of discussion; amongst supporters, chastened hawks and ongoing opponents; of the US and its ally’s project in Iraq and what to do next. McQ has been posting up a storm on the issue and how hopeful/hopeless the situation is in Iraq. We can easily find hundreds more. However, a while back in discussing a certain someone I mentioned the Kurd’s, that partition should not be off the table, and that we have had some successes, at least for now.

I want to touch on that again. The Kurds have a saying:

Kurds have “no friends but the mountains,” or so an old saying goes. It’s hard for Westerners to grasp just how isolated these people feel. That partly explains their fanatical pro-Americanism: A friend, at last!

The question is, are we their friends? I would like to think so, and if we are what is the policy response? Partition? Continued efforts to keep the country together? If the rest of Iraq descends into civil war (actually, I would suggest it has been in one for some time) is salvaging a stable Kurdistan worth the effort? The sad matter is that for the most part all discussions of Iraq treat the question of Kurdistan as a nuisance. To many who oppose the war and continuing it they are an embarrassment. They are collaborators with the coalition or a responsibility that they do not want to admit that we might have. To others they are a pawn to be used in stitching together a settlement on Iraq’s future. They are an obstacle, because by wanting autonomy, or worse independence, they arouse fear in Turkey, Iran and other quarters, never mind that for the Kurds submerging them within the greater Iraq may mean a bloodbath. That they may not want to cooperate in such a “realist” scenario is considered intransigent and lamentable, though of course they are just interests to be weighed and bargained with to many.
Fortunately things look brighter in Iraq than they did then. Anyway, please read the whole thing, but I would like to give you two wonderful pieces of art, wildly divergent, about the Kurds. First, from Kurdish rapper Dillin Hoox:

The images are from Ed Kashi, who has a photo essay here (take the time to poke around) which is haunting, joyous, and at times, mesmerizing. A collection of thousands of photo’s flip book style to animate them and set to music. A must see, it was compiled from photo’s taken in 2005.

Hat tip: Bob From Brockley 

For more on the Kurds:

But, I am a liberal

Michael Totten

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One Response to “Rapping for those who only have the Mountains”

  1. on 04 Nov 2007 at 5:45 pm Incognito

    How terribly sad… the whole situation with the Kurds… and yet, in spite of their plight, they are somehow able to rise above it all and maintain a somewhat peaceful existence. (other than the PKK).

    Totten’s article provides some wonderful insight into these noble people, but you still have to wonder why they are able to live in relative peace unlike their neighbours. It’s probably rooted, I’m sure, in their more progressive attitude towards their religion.

    Are we their friends? Yes, as long as that doesn’t interfere with larger issues… like Turkey. Sadly.

    They deserve autonomy… considering their land was theirs prior to the various Islamic conquests.

    Can’t help but compare them to the Palestinians.. and how differently they have chosen to conduct their lives.

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