Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, April 21, 2006

Kurds’ Struggles Span Generations

For many decades the Kurdish people have suffered from assimilation and genocide campaigns. Kurdishmedia.org chronicled the long history of persecution of the Kurds in a recent piece, “The Kurdish resistance to Southern Kurdistan annexing with Iraq.”

According to Kurdishmedia.org:

“Kurds learned the lesson of betrayal and, to this day, remain doubtful of the intentions of the West on the Kurdish issue. Now, as Iraq goes through a transitional stage in its history, and its government is overshadowed by the insurgents, the Kurdistan Regional Government is perhaps the only functional government in Iraq. Almost a hundred years since the start of the British Mandate, Kurds find themselves with yet another opportunity to break away from Iraq to form an independent nation. History has repeated itself. What should not be repeated, however, is a betrayal of the Kurds by US-British forces in the 21st century.”

The British occupied the Basra and Baghdad provinces during World War I and encouraged the Kurds to rise up against the Ottoman Empire. Colonel Sir Arnold Wilson, the British Civil Commissioner in Iraq, declared that Britain's intention was the formation of a Kurdish independent state in Southern Kurdistan under the tutelage of the British. This statement was proven false when the Kurds in this region declared their independence, however.

An army of 1,500 Kurds then revolted in a fierce battle with British forces in the Baziyan region, near Sulaimaniya. "Shari Darbandi Baziyan" is a national pride in the Kurdish history. Kurdish forces were defeated by the superior numbers and technology of the British force, and 'The great Sheikh was injured and arrested; he was then exiled to India.' This treatment of a religious leader was seen as a great insult to the Muslim Kurds, and left a deep mistrust between Kurds and Britain for generations to come.

Even today this memory of betrayal remains and the Kurdish people continue to be doubtful of the intentions of the West on the Kurdish issue.

To read more about the Kurds and their struggles click here.


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