Of Kurds, Afghans, and Occupation...Engaging Catya Sher - 11-08-2010, 05:54 PM
I requested Catya Sher a Turk member on this forum to shed light on this Turk-Kurd issue but so far she has evaded all attempts to get involved on this topic although she jumps out of nowhere to participate in jehadi-extremism-related threads.
She is calling ISAF presence in Afghanistan as occupation. We will like her take on Turks occupation of Kurds land. The two situations are not even equivalent e.g., ISAF operations in Afghanistan have been mandated by the UNO whereas Turks have no such mandate whatsoever. Moreover, ISAF mission in Afghanistan is just a short-term goal and it is not there in Afghanistan to colonise it or occupy it permanently. Neither ISAF has denied cultural and linguistic rights to the inhabitants of Afghanistan nor has exlpoited any of Afghanistan's natural resource. Turkey on the other hand has not only banned Kurdish language and cultural symbols, it has also massacred them in large numbers and has plundered their resources. Turks even deny the existance of a distinct Kurdish nationality in Turkey and call Kurds Mountain Turks just to erase the Kurd identity from the map of the world and eliminate threat to Turkish colonial-occupation of Kurdish lands.
We hope that Catya Sher responds to this. Meanwhile, I'll find a Kurd to tell us the facts as viewed from Kurdish standpoint.
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Levanaye Zalmaye (11-11-2010)
11-08-2010, 07:32 PM
Catya Sher, what would you say of the facts below? Isn't these Kurds whose predacement and extreme misery in Turkey need more attention?
Kurdish and Armenian GenocidesPrinceton, N.J. (26 July 1999)—At an important seminar in London, scholars Ara Sarafian (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and Desmond Fernandes (De Montford University, Bedford) presented papers on the impact of Turkish nationalism on Kurds and Armenians over the past 80 years. The panelists drew attention to the ideological continuity between late Ottoman and modern Turkish history. One manifestation of this continuity was the policy of turkification pursued both in the Ottoman period and later in modern Turkey.
Focus of London Seminar
Sarafian, Fernandes Keynote Speakers
The seminar was sponsored by the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, United Kurdish Committee--UK, and the British Committee for the Recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian Genocide
The first speaker, Ara Sarafian, argued that for Ottoman Armenians "turkification" meant physical annihilation. Over two million Ottoman Armenians were slated for destruction in 1915. The Turkish entry into World War I facilitated this process, as no outside powers could intervene on behalf of the victims. Over 2,000 towns and villages were emptied of their Armenian inhabitants who were subsequently destroyed. First the young men and community leaders, then the women, children, and elderly were murdered. Some were killed at the outset of "deportations"; others were killed from disease and malnutrition in concentration camps in the deserts of Zor in Syria; survivors of these camps were murdered outright at the end of 1916. There were no Armenians left to speak of in what became modern Turkey in 1923.
Sarafian pointed out that the Greeks of the empire was also slated for extermination during this period, but their destruction was averted probably because of the possibility that the (neutral) Greek state next door would declare war on the Ottoman Empire. The destruction of the Ottoman Greeks was implemented after 1918, when Greece had entered World War I. The destruction of Greeks started with the genocide against the Pontic Greeks on the Black Sea, then the murder and forced exodus of the remaining Greeks in Asia Minor. Well over two million Greeks were "ethnically cleansed" from their ancestral homelands between 1918 and 1923. The city of Smyrna was torched to force the exodus of its large Greek population. The common denominator in these Armenian, Greek, and (later) Kurdish cases was the intention to create an exclusively "Turkish" state with no minority populations.
The Kurdish Genocide
Desmond Fernandes, who has worked on the Kurdish Genocide extensively, continued the seminar with a powerful discussion of the persecution of Kurds in modern Turkey. Fernandes pointed out that the Turkish government adopted a much more sustained genocidal program against Kurds, aimed at the assimilation of this community as ethnic Turks. Often the engineers of the destruction of Kurds were the same people who destroyed Armenians a few years earlier. Fernandes outlined the Turkish genocidal policy under the following categories:
(1) forced assimilation program—banning of the Kurdish language in Turkey, denying the existence of Kurdish history, the forced resettlement of Kurds in non-Kurdish areas of Turkey for assimilation, the indoctrination of Kurds through the Turkish education system, radio and television channels;
(2) banning of any legitimate opposition to the Turkish government’s programs—e.g., Kurdish cultural organisations, political parties, media outlets, etc.; and
(3) the violent repression of any Kurdish resistance. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds have been murdered by Turkish state authorities over the past eighty years—the Sheykh Said and the Ararat uprisings in the 1920s, the bloody suppression of the Dersim in the 1930s, as well as the PKK campaign in recent years. The Turkish state has imprisoned Kurdish members of the Turkish parliament, various human rights activists, as well as many academics advocating Kurdish rights such as the Turkish sociologist Ismail Besikçi. The Turkish government has also assassinated scores of journalists and intellectuals over the years.
[For a detailed analysis by Desmond Fernandes--including a thought-provoking discussion of the definition of genocide--see "The Kurdish Genocide in Turkey, 1924–1998," Armenian Forum 1, no. 4 (Winter 1998–99), pp. 57–107.]
Both speakers stressed the complicity of Western countries in the genocidal policies aimed at erasing the Kurdish identity in Turkey. Western arms and know-how have been instrumental in military campaigns, as has been the silence of Western governments in the face of atrocities. In some cases, Western military personnel have been known to have participated in killings. Turkish military and other personnel have also been trained in the United States, including in methods of torture and assassination.
Several distinguished guests comment on the two papers. They included Dr. Kamal Miraweli (Kurdistan National Congress; National Council of Peace in Kurdistan; United Kurdish Committee-UK) , Gareth Peirce (a British lawyer who has defended Armenian and Kurdish prisoners in British courts), and Mizgin Sen (European spokesperson of the Kurdish liberation front, ERNK).
British Suppression of Kurds: Practical Advice
Gareth Peirce pointed out that the suppression of Kurds has not been limited to Turkey and the Middle East. The British and Turkish governments, under the rubric of "suppression of terrorism," have managed to criminalise the Kurdish community of Great Britain. Without engaging the legitimacy of a Kurdish struggle for national rights, the British police have deliberately worked to cast doubt on every Kurd in the United Kingdom as terrorist suspects. Supporters of Kurds have been pressured to desist in their aid to Kurdish refugees by being stigmatised as "terrorist supporters." Many organisations have been frightened into inaction, which has served the purposes of the British police. Kurds in the United Kingdom have thus been burdened with such external pressures from British authorities—in addition to their concerns for their kith and kin in the Middle East.
The recent closure of MED-TV, the independent Kurdish satellite television channel based in London--a voice to millions of Kurds throughout the world--is one case in point. This closure was implemented by British authorities reacting to pressure from the Turkish government, as well as other inducements, such as lucrative business contracts for British companies in Turkey.
Despite the political agenda of the British police in the suppression of Kurdish organisations, however, Peirce stressed that most Britons did not know the facts surrounding the Kurdish case and would be outraged if they did. In one legal case in the 1980s, when two Armenians were caught while planning a grenade attack on the Turkish Embassy in London, the two Armenians made their case to a British jury and were acquitted. Peirce stressed that at the political level there exists a great potential for support that can be tapped in favour of Kurds and Armenians in the United Kingdom--despite official misinformation and smear campaigns by opponents.
Kurds and Armenians
Several Kurdish discussants stressed the importance of pushing for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide on par with the Kurdish issue. Even if the Armenian Genocide has effectively run its course—as Sarafian argued at one point—there was a moral case that has to be made, and Kurds should be the first to do so. Furthermore, politically, the Armenian and Kurdish cases strengthen each other against the Turkish state. Indeed, Dr. Miraweli pointed out that the Kurdistan Parliament in Exile has made a point of including Armenians (and Assyrians) in its ranks, and has recognised the rights of these communities as an integral part of a future Kurdish state.
Several individuals commented that Kurds today are well aware that some Kurds participated in the genocide of Armenians in 1915. Even today the Turkish government has co-opted certain Kurds in its bloody campaigns against other Kurds. The use of Kurdish "village guards" against the PKK is one example. However, the legacy of Kurdish participation in the Armenian Genocide should not be allowed to become a rift between these two peoples. Otherwise they would be playing into the hands of their common executioners--Turkish nationalists and the state they created in 1923.
At a practical level, it was also pointed out that Kurds and Armenians face the same propaganda campaign from the Turkish state. Turkey today denies its crimes against both Armenians and Kurds. This denial is an essential element in the management of Turkey’s image abroad, and this image is essential to facilitate the flow of western aid to Turkish military and propaganda agencies. Without this soft image, Turkey would be hard pressed to receive these resources. Consequently, a common strategy to expose Turkey’s human rights abuses and genocidal record to a Western public could go a long way in undermining the Turkish government's capacity for repression. If such aid dries up, then Turkish authorities would have to allow more democratic solutions to their problems.
One Kurdish participant, obviously moved by the seminar, related how her life reflected some of the key issues discussed. Her immediate family was split and "resettled" in different parts of Turkey by Ankara. She grew up knowing where her ancestral home was, but never visited it until later in life. She never learned her native language. And she remembered her Armenian grandmother and the stories she had to tell. The latest stage in the Kurdish struggle awakened her to her identity and now, like millions of other Kurds, she is no longer a soft target for assimilation by the Turkish state. Indeed, she is now a fighter for Kurdish rights. The Kurdish people have awakened and the struggle for their national rights, as well as the rights of their neighbours, continues.
This seminar was the first of its kind in London, and the organisers agreed to hold similar seminars in the future.
11-08-2010, 10:06 PM
I'll look at this tomorrow.
I must finish my Delightfully Turkish apricots first.
Never eat Greek figs, by the way, they are all dried out, a complete waste of money.
Whereas, this company - with the owner's mother in a scarf on the label in a quaint, authentic touch - has the best quality of all imported dried fruit and Black Olives as well.
It's in Whole Foods for example, if there's one nearby.
11-11-2010, 05:00 PM
I would FURTHER add that it wasn't JUST any old insurrection staged by Armenians in Eastern Turkey.
It was a Russian-aided one.
THAT was what drove the Ottomans crazy and made them suppress this movement so fiercely.
The Ottomans looked at the Armenians as traitors because they were conniving with the Russians, the long-term enemy of the Turkish people.
It wasn't like Iran was helping the Armenians. There had been many battles fought by the Ottomans against the Safavids, for example. But Iran was not Turkey's enemy to anything like the scale of Russia !
This Russian angle is what a friend from an old family of the Ottoman nobility explained to me when I made a comment about Sultan Abdul Hamid II might feel regret about the killings of Armenians.
My friend looked appalled at the thought - this is an extremely sensitive topic for Turks today, nearly 100 years later, still.
All this baloney from the fairly powerful Armenian lobby about having the US Congress pass a resolution against Turkey is ridiculous. What makes the American Congress experts capable of legislating on this obscure topic which requires ages of close research to get to the real truth ?
This idea was especially ill-chosen, considering that Congress is made up of mostly ill-informed people with little experience or background in the affairs of ANY Middle Eastern country
That is, EXCEPT for the one which has directed much of American foreign policy for decades israel. That one they all know like the back of their hands...
Further, why would a US resolution have any bearing on anything? The concept was very weird, to put it mildly. Perhaps Israel and some political Armenians have ties. The aim could be to have a card always ready to pull out to weaken or embarrass Turkey.
11-11-2010, 06:32 PM
I believe the claims are vastly exaggerated.
I consider the same problem with the killings of the Jews in World War II
I bet someday history will finally determine the truth: that the number was FAR FAR less than 6 million.
When hit by a widescale trauma, there is a tendency among some peoples to overdo the atrocities committed against them.
Others would stoicly keep quiet, perhaps saying that Allah has visited this calamity on them due to their national sins.
So I dont trust some of the figures given or accounts rendered. You can NOT believe everything you read!
After all, the Diary of Anne Frank is considered by some to be a complete fraud.
She wrote, it was discovered, with a ball point pen. WHICH did not exist in the year she supposedly wrote the book.
Not too long ago, there was the case of the bestseller book by a couple who supposedly met at the holocaust. Under scrutiny, the Jewish couple finally admitted their supposed love story was MADE UP! They even said, as I recall, that they would do the same thing again, that they didn't feel bad about deceiving the public with their tear-jerker book !
So there are all kinds of people. Some accounts are MINIMIZED because the person is dignified and is not prone to dumping problems - especially exaggerated ones - on others who mean well but cannot gauge the truth factor.
I am of course thinking of Pashtuns and Afghans here.
They relate the most tragic stories of their lives and loss of family in a matter of fact tone. It's very praiseworthy, especially next to some of the Chronic Complainers and Exaggerators.
11-12-2010, 01:20 AM
I've read Kurds weren't treated so well in Arab countries either. They dressed up in their traditional clothes for Nowroz (Nawey Kaal) in 1924 or something and the Syrian Army opened fire on them because it was against the law to do so.
Kurds are basically the same as Balochis, ethnically speaking. Their mother group split off into these two nations when the Mongols rampaged their way through the original Kurdish/Baloch territory. The Kurds went into the Zagros mountains, while the Balochis migrated south.
I guess any landless nation, seeking to have land is a threat to anyone who'd be losing theirs in that process.
11-12-2010, 01:47 PM
Thanks for the ideas suggested here, all of you.
What Unknown said about Ottomans not doing that horrible deed, YES!
That's how I feel too.
They were NOT that type !
Where has that allegation been raised before?
They didn't NEED to do that.
Neither did the Ottomans either covet Armenian girls. Mostly both sides got along fairly well for hundreds of years, if you look at the history.
The Ottomans had the practice of devshirme, taking Christian captives and forcibly converting them to become Janissaries. Europeans always screamed about THAT.
SO: if Ottoman troops had been doing that awful deed, FOR SURE, British media would have played it to the hilt.
Now about the Young Turks - yes! I was going to look a source about them.
It is not dependable historically, so I didn't rush to do that.
But I will bring it in with caveats, though, that is only a theory. One which makes sense to me, but may cause scoffing from some of you.
There is not any question that the Young Turks were helped from OTHER Parties to take over Turkey and demolish the beautiful Ottoman religious culture.
Ottomans were civilized: would not resort to barbaric practices.
Young Turks were most unpleasant people. Who knows WHAT kind of corrupt things they ordered or committed ?
Yes, Shlombey, I agree the Turkish troops behaved badly toward the Armenians. There is not any question about that.
But about Armenian women being so irrestible to the Ottomans? I DOUBT IT!
Let's take a quick look at the women chosen from all over the Empire to enter the precincts of the Harem. Who rose to be a Kadin? Offhand I would sum up that the Circassian women were usually the most coveted, due to their legendary beautiful features. A few Greeks, some Serbs, perhaps.
Then there was Aimee Dubuq de Rivery of French extraction from the Caribbean island of Martinique, a relative of Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon I.
She was captured by pirates en route back to France and sent to Istanbul for the Sultan.
We hear of few - IF ANY! - Armenian women capturing the eye and favor of a Sultan. So this MAY indicate that the Turks were not particularly impressed with Armenian beauty or charms....
They were much closer at hand: no need to send pirates to the Atlantic, after all !
So maybe Shlombey's friend was a little blinded here by ethnic pride. That is, of course, understandable. Who is not proud of their people, especially a very ancient race like the Armenians? They have many good qualities, there is no question about that. But I doubt remarkable beauty is one of them...at least in Turkish eyes, which is what we are focusing on.
Back to the "regime change" that took place. In one of Maiwand's clips from a few days ago, there is I assume to be rare footage of Ataturk speaking.
I was surprised at how repellent his voice was.
Surprisingly high-pitched and discordant to my ear.
Seeing him on the screen, he struck me as a fraud. Plus why was America praising him so fulsomely - heh heh ?! Birds of a feather flock together, I guess.
About the Kurds and Baluch - there ARE remarkable similarities.
Is this a historical fact, then, about the splitting up of the two groups?
There's no question they deserve fair treatment. Both of them
But resorting to wild attacks to get their voices heard is not right.
This is why I dislike all those leftist parties/guerrilla groups among both peoples.
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11-13-2010, 09:27 AM
In just one thread, you have:
- Denied the extent of the Jewish Holocaust (without providing any evidence).
- Denied the Armenian genocide (without any evidence).
- Called the Ottomans civilized (even though they practiced systematic fratricide and kept harems!). But I'm not surprised a person like you has no issues with harems.
Do you know how Mehmet conquered Constantinople? Do you know how his soldiers looted the city and killed its inhabitants? He turned the Hagia Sofia into a mosque!
Do you know that the Caliph's wine was especially prepared on the island of Rhodes but if anyone else drank (any form of alcohol), he was whipped or executed.
Do you know how an entire Greek population was uprooted from their ancient motherland (western Anatolia) and the remnants were forcibly Turkized?
Do you want me to post more Ottoman gems for you?
And then you you take a shot at the only Turk in centuries who did anything good. Look at Turkey now and look at the places where you lovely Malagaan are allowed to preach their ignorance and hatred freely. The difference is noticeable.
Here's my advice to you:
- The next time you visit the island of Rhodes (it's the place where the Colossus once stood), find out about the Sultan's vineyards.
- The next time you visit Poland, Israel or Germany, visit a Holocaust museum and talk to an actual historian.
- The next time you visit Armenia, check out one of the mass-grave-sites.
- The next time you visit Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan, which I'm sure you've visited before, take a good look at the people there. Then when you come to Balochistan, where you spent your 15th birthday I'm sure, take a good look around as well. The two groups are very different from one another.
- Also, send me a postcard from Athens.
- Please tell us about the time you visited the burial chamber of Tamerlane.
- How is Xinjiang this time of the year, by the way?
Need I go on?
"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives".
11-13-2010, 01:32 PM
Kurds and Baloch may have developed differences over time but there is definitely a real connection between them. There's plenty of information about this on the net, so I'm just going to discuss my personal experience.
In university, I've seen Balochis and Kurds conversing with each other, and their languages are very, very similar. It's no surprise that they both belong to the Northwestern Iranian branch. Depending on the dialect of Kurdish, they are sometimes mutually intelligible.
As for skin tones, not all Balochis are dark skinned. The ones that speak Brahui may be a little on the darker side because Brahui speakers have connections to Dravidian peoples (Tamils, etc.)
11-13-2010, 02:26 PM
Yes! I was thinking about that Brahui connection too.
That's very useful to learn about the language connection.
I'm still thinking about that question of Samima's.
Overall, I would say something of a very reckless nature is shared by both Kurds and Baluch.
Yes, by the way, I have visited all 3 Kurdistans. Also went to Zahedan in Iran for no other reason but to see what the Baluch are like in their own area.
Kurds and Baluch have a marked swagger.
For lack of a better word, they share a "Wild" streak. Meaning not uncivilized, but
willing to take risks which most people would never consider.
This is due to both of them having been suppressed or denied having their own homeland, I assume.
Pashtuns at least have Afghanistan and their attitude is one of VICTORY. They have a proud history and they focus on their successes.
Whereas, to me, perhaps the Kurds and Baluch see themselves as defeated, and perhaps the desperation and attacks stem from this. I'm not saying that they gave up, but they are more bitter people, clearly.
Pashtuns, no matter what injustices suffered, do not retain the same amount of anger in them. They always can be comforted by their glorious days.
The Victory versus defeat paradigm creates differences between Pashtuns on one side and Baluch and Kurds on the other.
LZ- what a nasty remark you made.
Yes, I do know Southern Xinjiang, have made a trip to see the tomb of Timur in the Gur Emir, it's from a single slab of jade, and traveled to most of the great Ottoman dynasty places of interest all over the Ottoman Empire.
Your whining about wine - ! is so silly does not need a reply.
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