Monday, March 26, 2012

New on the HP: What if Kurds Were Palestinians?

Absolutely amazing op ed published on the Huffington Post, but buried in the UK newspaper only, inaccessible from the US side.
The palestinian cause has become internalised within Human rights discourse, and Muslim movements, the Kurdish cause in contrast has been marginalised, and sidelined. Kurdish population is close to 40million while palestinian population exceeds four million, but enjoy the sympathy and support of the Arab world. It is not just Arabs who have neglected Kurdish people, and their struggles, but the Muslim world has maintained a cowardly silence throughout history. Arab suffering has always taken precedence over Kurdish suffering in the Muslim world, we are often referred to as the world's 'unfortunate Muslims' because when Kurdish people were being massacred in Halabja, and Dersim, the Muslim world -- our brethren in faith remained deaf and blind.

At academic institutions, Muslim students often refer to the suffering of palestinians within seminars hosted by the Islamic society, sometimes going as far as co-hosting events with other societies to raise awareness and support for Palestinians, but never bothering to look a little further than Palestine to glimpse over the decades of brutality, state-sanctioned discrimination, ethnic cleansing, censorship of Kurdish identity, forced assimilation and inhumane treatment of Kurdish people throughout Middle east.

There is a prophetic saying, which I have heard at many seminars, oftentimes used in reference to Palestinians: 'The Ummah is like one body. If the eye is in pain then the whole body is in pain and if the head is in pain then the whole body is in pain.' Unfortunately for Kurdish people, they have always been the numb limbs of this Ummah, their suffering have been ignored, and pleas for help overlooked. In fact, Kurdish people are the only Muslims in the world with a Fatwa against them, issued by the Iranian republic.

Kurdish people celebrated Newroz on the 21st of March, and attempted to hold celebratory events in Turkey prior to it, but were banned from hosting an annual event to celebrate the start of a new Kurdish year until the set date by the government. Turkish police responded by using riot gear, tear-gas, water-canons, and using live ammunition to disperse Kurds who had gathered to celebrate. It resulted in the killing of one Kurdish politician, dozens injured, and hundreds arrested. Prominent Muslim speakers, who are often too-ready to speak on Palestinians took a cowardly step back, and remained silent.

Muslim leaders have used the palestinian cause as a popularity chip, while ignoring equally horrific sufferings of Muslims around the world. The richest Muslim states have ignored the suffering of Somalians, Afghans and Kurds for centuries -- mentioning them, and sending donations when they need a popularity boost.

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