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History & Culture

A Tourist’s Guide to Rojava’s History

Any cursory google search of “Rojava” or “northern Syria” will likely leave you with a litany of articles, videos and photos consisting mostly of soldiers, war, and destruction. This one-sided media coverage of Rojava often fails to address the human side of the local society. Those who wish to take a deeper dive into Rojava […]

Reporting a Revolution: How Rojava’s Press Evolved

Revolutions can be made with guns, but they are preserved and maintained with pens, photographs, and video cameras. This is because the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy itself, and a prerequisite for a free society. Since Rojava is committed to that ideal, it is helpful to look back at a […]

Sacred Trees in Kurdish Culture & Mythology

In various cultures and mythologies around the world, nature in its multifaceted forms, including trees, rivers, or mountains, are considered sacred and believed to embody deities, spirits, or even the souls of ancestors. Such beliefs are also found in Kurdish culture and mythology, which attribute spiritual or supernatural qualities to all natural objects, including stones, […]

Orientalism’s Historical Impact on Kurdish Studies

Historically, research in Kurdistan and about the Kurds entailed outsiders who have presented Kurdish identity and history to fit within the margins of their Eurocentric worldview and interests. The literature that emerged including travelogues, reports, diaries, novels, and historical writings emerged from the perspective of legitimizing Western imperial objectives and justifying its cultural hegemony, while […]

Abdullah Demirbaş: On Sur & Celebrating Amed’s Diversity

“I wanted everyone to have an education in their mother tongue. I wanted them to be able to learn in Kurdish; oppressed people like Kurds are not allowed to study in their mother tongue. For all those reasons and because of all the projects I began, they [Turkey] wanted to put me in prison for […]

Kurdish Journalism Day: Why April 22 Matters

Every year, Kurdish journalists and people across the four regions of Greater Kurdistan celebrate Kurdish Journalism Day on the 22nd of April to commemorate the publication of the first Kurdish newspaper, ‘Kurdistan’. Such celebrations are important, because one of the major forms of repression that the Kurds have experienced across Kurdistan has involved suppression of language […]

Red Wednesday: The Yazidi New Year’s Ritual

As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is drawing to a close, and as Muslims are preparing to break the fast and celebrate Eid al-Fitr, followers of a much smaller, yet far more ancient faith are also celebrating a new year, popularly called “Red Wednesday” too. This is a rare coincidence that fundamentally represents the […]

The CHP & Turkey’s Anti-Kurdish History

The current plight of the Kurds in Northern Kurdistan (southeast Turkey) has evolved through decades of state engineering and racist policies, which have resulted in the current crises under the Turkish state. A historical analysis demonstrates that the construction of Turkey was established precisely for the purpose of controlling, repressing, and silencing minorities such as […]

Five Years of Hell & Evil: Turkish Occupied Afrin

Afrin (Efrîn) was 96% Kurdish on the first day of 2018. Today, the Kurdish population is less than 30%. Such a dramatic shift does not happen by accident, it occurred because of Turkey’s systematic and diabolical ethnic cleansing. Turkish occupied Afrin has become a demented laboratory for Ankara’s social engineering and cultural imperialism, where they […]

Four Years After Baghouz: How ISIS Emerged & Remains

On March 23, 2019, the General Command of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – which includes the YPG (People’s Protection Units) and YPJ (Women’s Protection Units) – announced the defeat of ISIS and their so-called ‘Islamic State’ (in the territorial sense of the word) following the capture of the group’s last enclave in the […]

Kurdish Newroz: Myths Renewed by Jin, Jiyan, Azadî

Newroz (Kurdish: نەورۆز /Newroz; Persian: نوروز /Nowruz) is one of the most ancient Aryan festivals. It is celebrated by different national groups and communities in the Middle East, as well as in other parts of central Asia. The celebration is an annual festival which marks the beginning of the new year among various national groups, […]

The Halabja Massacre: 35 Years Later

In that year (1988), three newborn babies (all female) and the football team of our village were named ‘Halabja’. Although incomprehensible to us – at such an early age – it was in that year too when we first heard of chemical weapons, when they were used by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein near the end […]

Destroying Afrin: The Historical Roots of Turkey’s Occupation

On March 18, 2018, the Erdoğan regime in Turkey announced that the Turkish Armed Forces and their affiliated ‘Syrian National Amy’ (SNA) jihadist factions had fully occupied the Kurdish region of Afrin (Efrîn) after 58 days of encirclement and unrelenting attack from artillery and the air. Both being devastating military means of war that Afrin’s […]

Assyrians along the Khabur River face Extinction

The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 (with all of its relentless ramifications) and the Arab Spring in 2011, have had colossal impacts on Assyrians in the Middle East in general, and in Syria (Rojava) and Iraq (Kurdistan Region) in particular. These impacts have been magnified by the fact that Assyrians have continually fallen prey […]

An Enduring Legacy: The Republic of Mahabad & Qazi Muhammad

The death of a Kurdish woman, Jina (Mehsa) Amini galvanized the diverse ethno-religious groups across Iran towards an uprising that has reverberated across the globe. Jina’s death at the hands of the Iranian morality police highlighted not only the plight of women as second-class citizens across Iran, but also the deeply oppressed and persecuted nature […]

Afrin’s Yazidis: An Ancient Culture Edges Toward the Precipice

The genocidal campaign perpetrated by fighters of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) against the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar in 2014 brought the ethno-religious Kurdish minority in Iraq and Syria into the spotlight. While Yazidis in Iraq are heavily concentrated in the Sheikhan district of Duhok and Sinjar, adherents of the faith in Syria have lived […]