Browsing Tag

Kurdistan

Summarizing Hamit Bozarslan’s Freedom Lecture for Rojava University

On April 24, 2024, the University of Rojava (founded in 2016) held its fourth Freedom Annual Lecture Series. The lecture, featuring the distinguished Kurdish historian Professor Hamit Bozarslan, Director of the School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris, France, was entitled: “Reflections on Anti-Democracy and War in the 21st Century.” With regards […]

How Would a US Withdrawal from Iraq Affect Northeast Syria?

The war in Gaza has increased tensions between Iranian-backed proxies and the US military, with Iran-backed groups carrying out over 160 attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria since October. Iraqi PM Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani has repeatedly called for a timetable for US forces to leave Iraq and chaired a joint Higher Military Commission […]

Seeking a Third Way: Apo’s Rojava in the Shadow of Tito’s Yugoslavia

A handful of historical reference points are commonly deployed to contextualise the Kurdish freedom movement for unfamiliar audiences. The jailed Kurdish figurehead Abdullah Öcalan is represented by his supporters as the ‘Mandela of the Middle East’ – while his detractors opt for less generous comparisons. Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led polity established around the Syrian Kurdish region […]

Roundtable: On Rushdi Anwar’s Kurdistan Art Exhibit

At the Table with Rushdi Anwar Rushdi Anwar (b.1971-) is a Kurdish artist from Halabja, Kurdistan whose upcoming exhibition, in collaboration with Artes Mundi and the British Council, will be presented at the National Museum Cardiff, UK. A round table was held by Artes Mundi with Dr. Omar Kholeif, Professor Shahram Khosravi, and Dr. Hawzhin […]

Ismail Khayat’s Legacy: Grandfather of Kurdish Art

In the annals of art scholarship, readers are consistently introduced to and engage with renowned creations by various artists spanning various historical epochs and artistic movements. Amidst this discourse, the East-West dichotomy comes to the forefront, unveiling a significant disparity wherein the artistic contributions of creators from supposedly less prominent geographic locales remain concealed and […]

Ecology Councils: Grassroots Climate Strategies from Mesopotamia

“The councils have always been undoubtedly democratic, but in a sense never seen before and never thought about.” — Hannah Arendt As Greece and other parts of the world are once again engulfed by wildfires, while almost each day a new heat record is reached, an increasing number of people are realizing that the effects […]

Vian Hussein: On Painting War Displacement & Belonging

Vian Hussein is a rising Kurdish artist from Rojava, living in the UK. Her powerfully emotive pieces breach the boundaries between art and activism and moves us boldly across the emotional terrain of identity, gender, and belonging. Vian is a child of the Syrian Civil War, the offspring of displacement and asylum, of long treacherous […]

Could Donald Trump’s Return Change the Fate of Rojava?

Despite the risk of indictment, Donald Trump still seems to be enjoying considerable popularity in the United States. A survey conducted in 2021 revealed that 74% of American Republicans wanted Trump to run for president again in 2024. The news was significant then, and it is even more so now that the former president was […]

Tea in a Warzone: Holidaying with the PKK

[names in this article have been changed to protect their identities] “Biji Kurdistan, Biji Kurdistan, Biji Kurdistan!” “şehîd namirin, şehîd namirin, şehîd namirin!” Somehow I had gotten sidetracked from my post-Uni holiday and found myself in the middle of a crowd of PKK members rushing an ambulance carrying their martyred friend back from the mountains. […]

Post-Traumatic Growth: Rhetorical Listening & Kurdish Women’s Voices

Background In 2014, I took part in a pilot initiative aimed at gathering stories from Kurdish women. The project “Many Women, Many Words” sought to uncover the untold stories of women in Kurdistan during the period of Saddam Hussein’s rule and the Kurdish resistance. Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region within Iraq, experienced a deliberate genocide orchestrated […]

From Sèvres to Lausanne: Kurdish Society and the Nation-State Model

After the First World War, the Kurds, like other non-Turkish nationalities in the Ottoman empire, were presented with what seemed like a golden opportunity to establish their own nation-state. Articles 62 to 64 of the Treaty of Sèvres, signed on 10 August 1920, called for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.[1] However, these articles […]

Thomas Schmidinger: On Kurdish Nationalism Post-Lausanne

The following is an exclusive interview with professor Thomas Schmidinger following his presentation during a two day international conference on the centenary of the Lausanne Treaty held in Hasaka, Rojava (Northeastern Syria). The international conference was organized by The Rojava Center for Strategic Studies and held on the 7th-8th of July. Professor Schmidinger is a Political Scientist […]

100 Years after Lausanne: Challenges for the Kurds across Kurdistan

The following is a transcription of a speech presented by Thomas Schmidinger during a two day international conference on the centenary of the Lausanne Treaty held in Hasaka, Rojava (Northeastern Syria). The international conference was organized by The Rojava Center for Strategic Studies and held on the 7th-8th of July. *The following transcription entails editing […]

The Dengbêj: Keepers of Kurdish Memory & History

Dengbêjî should not be viewed as an outmoded and dying artform, primitive and unwilling to carry itself across the treacherous road of modernization into contemporary society, but rather as the song of an oppressed people long denied a voice, a place and the right to their very existence. Dengbêjî is as Kurdish, as indigenous to its identity as the Zagros and Qandil mountains are integral to the Kurds.

Recognizing the Struggles of Syrian Kurdish Journalists

Lack of International Recognition Hampers Reporting Effort In the autonomous Kurdish region of Syria, known as Rojava, a pressing dilemma has been brewing for the past decade. Over 500 Syrian Kurdish journalists, dedicated to reporting the truth amidst the chaos of the Syrian conflict, find themselves grappling with a significant obstacle – the lack of […]

Rojava: Turkey Ups the Ante Ahead of Astana

On Monday (June 12), people in Rojava were astounded by a US Central Command press release revealing 22 US military personnel were injured in a helicopter “mishap” in southern Hasaka, part of the de facto Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES)- also known as Rojava. With the incident repressed for 24 hours, and […]

Ismet Tastan: Pillar of the Australian Kurdish Community

Ismet Tastan is one of those rare Kurds whose tireless efforts for the Kurdish people deserves detailed attention and praise. I have known Ismet for well over a decade and can say with confidence that his selfless passion and unending love for the Kurdish cause served as one of my inspirations and my own political […]

Reviewing Sherko Bekas’ ‘The Secret Diary of a Rose’

Sherko Bekas (Kurdish: Şêrko Bêkes‎) born on the 2nd of May 1940, was one of the most pre-eminent Kurdish poets of the 20th Century. Hailing from Sulaymaniyah in Bashur (Southern Kurdistan/northern Iraq) as the son of the Kurdish poet Fayak Bekas, Sherko was introduced to poetry and literature from an early age. He would go […]

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 […]

Lukman Ahmad: On Painting the Magic of Kurdistan

There are very few painters alive today who can match the explosively vivid use of colors as Lukman Ahmad. The following is an exclusive KCS interview with the acclaimed Kurdish artist and painter Lukman Ahmad in anticipation of his solo exhibition entitled “The Other Side of My Journey” debuting on March 11th at the Cross […]

How the Earthquake could Transform Turkish Politics

This article was initially written in Arabic and published in the Arabic section of The Kurdish Center for Studies. The recent earthquake that devastated southeast Turkey (Northern Kurdistan) and north Syria (including Rojava) is re-drawing the political situation in the region in new directions. The result appears to be similar to the repercussions of the […]

Turkey’s Boundless Aspirations in Syria: Part I (1920-1939)

This two part article was originally written in the Arabic section of The Kurdish Center for Studies and has been translated to English for wider viewing. Part II can be read → here There are assumptions among policy makers that the potential of normalization talks between Ankara and Damascus may serve as a prelude to […]

When Öcalan Found Refuge Nowhere

On the 24th anniversary of Abdullah Öcalan’s kidnapping by Turkey (February 15, 1999)—a day known to his supporters in Kurdish as “Roja Reş” (Dark Day)—the following is a chronological outline of the months and events that led up to that fateful moment. Understanding the international conspiracy against him—and for all intents and purposes the Kurdish […]

Reviewing Kajal Ahmad’s ‘Handful of Salt’

Traditionally, when we hear the voices of Kurdish women from exile in the diaspora, it is often from the lens of the colossal tragedy of post-conflict issues, involving the tirade of political violence, ethnic cleansing, and forced assimilation that has resulted in the murder of her mother tongue and that of her children. Modernity and […]

Why the Word “Terrorism” is more Dangerous than Terrorists

[Excerpt from the 1966 film The Battle of Algiers] Reporter: “Mr. Ben M’hidi, isn’t it a filthy thing to use women’s baskets to carry explosives for killing people?” Larbi Ben M’hidi: “Doesn’t it seem even filthier to drop napalm bombs on defenseless villages, wreaking even greater havoc? It would be better if we, too, had […]

Kurds Denied Earthquake Aid: Natural Disasters as Political Violence

What happens when the most dangerous earthquake is Erdoğan himself? In light of the upcoming June elections in Turkey, nothing has highlighted the stark nature of Turkish ultra-nationalism and racism than the treatment of the Kurdish affected regions following the 7.8 Richter scale earthquake that hit early on the morning of February 6th. At the […]

Jin, Jiyan, Azadî and Confederalist Feminism

Jin, Jiyan, Azadî (woman, life, freedom), a Kurdish slogan, is the leading motto for a revolutionary movement in Iran since September 16, 2022. It was triggered by the killing of Jîna Aminî at the hands of the infamously brutal ‘morality’ police. Since then, men and women have been chanting Jin, Jiyan, Azadî across Iran. This […]

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 […]

Geographic Division: An Ignored Factor Affecting Kurdish Unity

Since the revolt of Sheikh Ubeydullah of Nehri in 1880, the Kurdish people have been struggling to achieve a form of political liberty based explicitly on the notion of Kurdish national unity.[1] Despite this continuous struggle, the Kurds are still dominated. This leads to an important question: why have the Kurds failed to achieve political […]

Roboski: Murdered for Being Impoverished Kurds

On December 28, 2011, the Dutch journalist Fréderike Geerdink was in Istanbul when the Turkish army massacred members of a Kurdish convoy transporting goods between Turkey and Iraq. Witness reports revealed during the investigation that it occurred with the knowledge of the authorities. The government of northern Kurdistan made sure that people remained absorbed in […]