The Search for Kurdish Identity

Kurdistan is a kind of dream: an ancient one that floats across cities and valleys, through crumbling souks and oil fields, stretched across four nations.

The quote above was taken from “Dreams of Kurdistan,” an article written by two journalists, Michael Onyiego and Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin, who have spent time documenting Kurdish life in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey — the four countries that have a significant Kurdish population.

Search for Kurdish Identity

In “Dreams of Kurdistan,” the authors examine the Kurdish search for identity and interview many different Kurds from each of the four regions of Kurdistan. They speak to a wealthy Kurdish businessman in Erbil, a Kurdish primary school director in Diyarbakir, a famous Kurdish poet in Sulaymaniyah, and many more.

Many of the Kurds discuss the struggle to hold onto Kurdish culture and traditional Kurdish values. The authors interview a Kurdish novelist named Sherzad Hassan who blames Islam’s aggressive conservative values for having diminished the Kurds’ traditional culture. “In an emergency case, in a tragic moment, like now, it is not easy to define yourself,” he says.

Many Obstacles

A theme throughout each of the conversations are the obstacles that the Kurds have faced over the years, including cultural suppression in Turkey, persecution by the Ba’athist regime in Iraq, and the growing threat of the self-proclaimed “Islamic” State, or ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Each obstacle has served to pull the Kurdish community apart, and the authors claim that “no one knows how the [Kurdish] dream ends.”

One Kurd, a female poet named Choman Hadi, knows first-hand the different experiences among each of the four regions. “For me personally – and I know many people will think that I am a traitor – I don’t believe that we need to have an independent united Kurdistan, from the four different parts. I want to see the Kurds’ situation improve in all the places they live. Not just in Turkey and Iran and Iraq and Syria.”

Perhaps this dream will take hold in the minds of other Kurds.

[To Read More Visit Al Jazeera]

1 Comment

  • Personally I think the U.S. should strive to help the Kurds carve out a country from the 4 they reside in. We’re willing to help Palestinians get a Palestine so why not help the Kurds get a Kurdistan. At least they, unlike the Palestinians, are helping in the fight against ISIS.

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