The Kurds: Stranded without a Nation

The Kurds are the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East, with estimates somewhere between 36 million and 45 million people, but exist without a nation (IKP). The Kurds were not granted their own nation state in the post World War I division of the Ottoman Empire, leaving them separated across Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran (BBC). Despite their geographic division, the Kurds are united through a common culture consisting of a shared ethnicity, race, and language, with most also identifying as Sunni Muslims. Most Kurds desire a united homeland in their own state of Kurdistan, governed completely by their own laws and recognized internationally as an independent entity (BBC).

Interestingly, Iraqi Kurdistan does operate as a semiautonomous region with a government in northern Iraq, known as the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG. Nechirvan Barzani acts as the president of the KRG and the commander-in-chief of the Peshmerga Armed Forces (KRG). Even with the KRG, the Kurds are typically left without a voice or representation.  Due to their status as minority groups in their respective countries, Kurds often face discrimination, violence, armed conflict, and even genocide. Currently, the Kurds are the topic of much international discussion as they have struggled against the Turkish government in particular in efforts to determine their independent nation.

The ongoing oppression and violence against the Kurds represents the painful legacy of Western domination in areas around the world. Often, the West lacks a fundamental understanding of the people whose lives are affected by decisions made without much consideration for anything other than the possible extent of Western influence. For nearly a century, the Kurds have been left stateless and struggling for acknowledgement due to decisions made by Western powers without properly analyzing the lives and peoples who would be affected by such lasting decisions.

 

Sources:

BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29702440

Kurdish Institute of Paris (IKP): https://www.institutkurde.org/en/info/the-kurdish-population-1232551004

KRG: https://gov.krd/english/

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