The country that is not

Kurds do not have much in common to unite in a single country?


The country that is not
by choghok

A renowned and experienced Swedish diplomat by the name Ingmar Karlsson has recently been the top news in Sweden.

Some angry bloggers and newspaper columnists want him fired and some cheer him on. The reason has got nothing to do with his diplomatic work. It has to do with his latest book: Kurdistan, a country that is not (Kurdistan, landet som icke är).

The title of the book (beside Kurdistan) is derived from a Swedish poem about a wonderful place that exist only in dreams and not in reality.

The book starts by telling the history of the Kurds from a couple of thousand years a go. There is not much known about antic Kurds beside some reference to them by kings or historian of other civilisations and that their ancestors are supposed to be the Medes.

The book then divides the Kurds into different religious, lingual and tribal groups. Different religious groups of kurds are: Sunni, Shia, Yazidie, Alevit, different Sufi orders, Zoroastrian and if you really bend it Jews (if there are any left). Some of these groups hate and detest the other group/s.

Different Kurdish languages are Kurmanji, Sorani, Zaza (according to wikipedia this is really Gilaki and not kurdish) and Luri, some of them are close and understandble in between and some aren't.

Main Kurdish tribes are Kurmanji, Sorani, Zaza(again they are called Gilakis on Wikipedia), Lur, Kermanshahi and Feyli. Many of these tribes are made of smaller tribes themselves.

The kurdish history continued into modern time. The author split the modern history in to 5 chapters Turkey, Irq, Iran, Syria and Kaukasus. Here the reader can follow the pain of treason of Kurdish leaders, powerful allies like England and USA and commitment between the countries in the middle east that ensured Kurds did not have a country of their own or even treated equal as other citizens of the countries they live in.

The author did not go so easy on the Kurds either. He brands the PKK movement as a barbaric terrorist group that have the blood of many Turks and Kurds on their hands and that has to be beaten. He described the administration of Iraqi Kurdistan as corrupt and having the same lack of freedom as Saddams Iraq with many people getting killed or vanishing.

So finally Mr Karlsson made the conclusion that Kurds do not have much in common to unite in a single country. Also the leaders of Iraqi Kurds know that if they try to work for a total autonomi from Iraq they will lose the support of USA and Israel. And finally the Kurds in Turkey try to get Turkey in EU so to get attention on human rights and their situation. So the Kurds should stop glorifying a country that is not and should
work and fight for their rights and advancement in the countries they
are citizens of.

Beside small misstakes here and there the book is a good (but dry :)) read and I accept Mr Karlssons arguments. He has all the facts, he uses them well. Since the release of his book Mr Karlsson has been under heavy fire.

Kurds have been in Sweden since the 60s or 70s. They started to come as simple workers but now the second and third generation are well integrated and hold many key positions in the society. Especially Kurdish women have been very successful as politicians and debaters. One of the reason being many honor killings that happened during 90s and lead to more political support for Kurdih women.

Historically most of the Kurds in Sweden belong to socialist parties like the socialdemocrats or the communist party. But the second and third generation tend to move to the right like liberals (folkparti) or conservatives(moderater).

Especially members of the last two groups mentioned are a hard opponents to Mr Karlssons book. They call the book full of lies, they call its writer agent of Turkey. They say that all Kurdish people are united for a "free" Kurdistan. These people are heavy supporters of Israel and US war in Iraq.

The voices from the Kurdish left has been positive on the book. Not that they accept the situation of the kurds in the region, they argue that Kurds must accept many of the facts in the book and they must also share the blame for the situation they are in.

For me it is interesting to read and follow different countries around ours and many people in and around our country to understand our situation better.

We Iranians do also have a country that is not. Especially the Iranians that are pro Bush and Israel, do hold this Iran very high. That Iran is an Iran with no Islam and Mullahs and for the blame for "the country that is" goes to Arabs, Bris and Americans (paradox.. ehheemm).


more from choghok
Iranian Muslim

Ethnonationalist Separatism = Disaster

by Iranian Muslim on

There are two conditions which would merit our unrelenting opposition to an ethnonationalist movement for political separatism.  

The first is if the movement claims to be fighting for a liberal democracy, in which case ethnicity and territory are irrelevant to begin with.  If Basques and Spaniards are to be full and equal citizens ruled by a representative government, then it makes no difference whether one lives in a country called Spain, or an in a country called Basque. If equallity and justice are the objective, then the movement would simply be an irelevant distraction.  The American civil rights movement did not fight for an independent blackistan in Missouri, but sought equal rights for all Americans.    


If the goal of the ethnonationalist movement is the establishment of a state that favors the group in question, then it is just as reactionary and xenophobic as the system it opposes.  A free Tibet is smokescreen for a tyranny of Tibetans over non-Tibetans, Kurds over non-Kurds, Jews over gentiles, Tamiliams over Lankans.  Instead of fighting for a free Tibet, for example, activists should be fighting for a free China that honors the human rights of all.  


Shouting "free Tibet" is your way of saying that the suffering of the Falun Gong, of Han democracy activists, of Hui Muslims, of evicted tenants in Shangai and Beijing are unimportant and unrelated.  The next time you hear a misguided activists shouting "Free Tibet", kindly correct this xenophobic incongruity. 

Kindly ask them what, exaclt they are fighting for, and why the rest of the Chinese people don't deserve a similar attention seeing as the source of their ills are the same as the Tibetan ones.... 


My answer to an Iranian Azeri separatist, "Of course I support a free and independent 'Greater Azerbaijan'. In fact, I think it's such a great idea I would insist that the rest of Iran also be incorporated into this wonderful new state..."  (What's Turkish for "Cognitive Dissonance"?)


All Iranians should have the right to worship, speak, dress as per their custom, including our Kurdish brothers and sisters. This, I support. Cutting off our Kurdish neighbors from the rest of the country, on the other hand, would be a stupid travesty. 


Federalism will help all of all Iranians.

by Shadooneh (not verified) on

I agree with Kurdish Warrior that the "dream" of a united Kordestan is fading. That's for a good reason. There was never a "united" Kordestan. But that does not negate the right of the Kords in Iran, Turekey, Iraq, Syria, etc. to be in control of their own socio-economic affairs. In my opinion the federal system is the best vehicle to provide the Iranian minority, the Fars among them, with the political means to achieve the goal of self government. The Kords were not allowed an independent and sovereign country for complex historical reasons, but the fact is the whole idea of nation-state is fading and the new world order will consist of market-states made up of economic and political blocks created by the voluntary actions of several "countries" which give up certain sovereignty rights for market/trade rights among them. I strongly believe the best system that can server Iran's myriad of ethnic citizens is a federal system. Under such a federal system defense and finance will be kept in the hands of a DEMOCRATICALLY elected central government while local security and other socio-economic and cultural activities will be delegated to the states of what I call the Federal Republic of Iran. The archaic central government system no longer suits the needs of modern Iran the way it did when Iran was suffering under the "molook-o-tavayefi", in other words the Feudalistic, system which brought Iran nothing but utter insecurity, poverty, national and military defeat at any turn. The IRI has done nothing to usher in the federal system to prepare Iran for the 21st. century. Instead IRI's policies have contributed to the demise of Iranian economy and the alienation of its citizens.


Kurdistan and Israel

by choghok on

Again this discussion is not about Israel. The writer did not say that Kurds do not have the right to have their own country. He said in todays world it is almost impossible for that to happen. The only way for that to happen is that all middle east countries break down so that new maps would be accepted.  And even then it does not mean that Kurds would ensure freedom and democracy because of the differences in between that has been mentioned. These differences can very well lead to tensions and tensions lead to conflicts and maybe war.

Look at Yugoslavia that was split not because Serbs and Croats are different people ethnically. They are the same and share language and much history. Their difference is that Croats are Catholics, write with latin alphabet and embrace western Europe. Serbs are orthodox, write with Cyrlic alphabet and embrace Russia.


/Bidar bash ke ma bekhabim


apparently you don't get it!

by MRX1 (not verified) on

The comments that I left before is not for you but a hypothetical question for Ingmar Karlsson. It's a logical question that is quite relevant: why shouldn't Kurds be allowed to have their own country if they desire so? how is it that 22 arab countries are not some how enough that now we now have to create an artifical country called palestine but you can't have one country called kurdistan?
now as what some one said in swedish or other web sites or as to what isreali's do or like that has nothing to do with me. I underestand the obsession of some of you guys in here with jews,isreal, zionism and all that stuff but leave me out of it.. ....


Creepy with MRX1 comment

by choghok on

First of all this article is about Kurds and Kurdistan but I see that some commentators want to start to change the focus. One thing that was creepy with the comment that MRX1 left. I saw an almost exact copy of the comment on a swedish blog about the same book.

Now the great Persian proverb with "gooz" and "shaghighe" applies to MRX1 comment and this article and one has to think why there should be a comment like that to the article. Now I am starting to guess but I would think that since Israel has started to support Kurdish nationalism and separatism they want to use it (Kurdish issue) for their political gain as well in the forums when Kurdistan is discussed. 

/Bidar bash ke ma bekhabim



by kurdish Warrior (not verified) on

Am not sure ab Turkey..But if you are iranian Kurd, you should know that many of us have family members in Iraqi kurdistan...Conclusion; Iranian Kurds have many things in common with Iraqi Kurds. be it through relatives or language...


I can't say I disagree with

by Anonymous1 (not verified) on

I can't say I disagree with the author. Honestly as a Iranina Kurd what do I have in common with a Kurd from Turkey or Iraq other than some supposed common genetic markers.1



by Kurdish Warrior (not verified) on

Dream of a united kurdistan is gradually fading. me personally including many Iranian kurds believe in federalism rather than Seperation...
As samsam1111 mentioned we fought IRI since its beginning...We were the 1st group who said no to IRI and we paid our price..Excecution of 60 Kurds a day in the hands of Khalkhali and the rest of Shia mullahs...
Hopefully that goal (federalism) will be achieved one day where we all live in peace with one and another.


More clarifications

by choghok on

First you must excuse all the bad spellings and my poor Enlgish, it is not my first or second language and I am not good even in them :).

Now I would like to clarify some fuzzy parts of the article and that would hopefully answer some of your questions.

Mr Karlsson's point was never to defend the atrocities on Kurds or to blame Kurds for the atrocities. He tried to describe why the Kurds are in the situation they are in today and how can their situation become better. I do not feel that he picks on them when reading the book.

About the Jewish Kurds. If you take the decision to leave the place of your birth for your "God given land" then you cannot call the place you left for your home. There is no way of eating a cake and still have it so to say. That is why I call it to "bend it" when calling Jewish Kurds for Kurds. Since they decided ALL to leave and not to be Kurds themselves.

About artificial countries in the middle east, almost all of the countries in middle east are artificial since the map of middle east was decided by the British, French and the Russians. They put their interest before anything else when drawing the map. 

About the question to the author I do not have direct contact with him I am just a reader of the book, I guess you can google him up and maybe contact him by e-mail. 

/Bidar bash ke ma bekhabim



by MRX1 (not verified) on

I didn't read this book and I am not a Kurd, but here is my question for the author: why is it that apparently having 22 Arab countries is not sufficent enough that you need to now create another artificial entity called "palestine", yet it's a crime or even scene talking about having one free kurdistan any where?

P.S samsam111 you are absloutley right. the name Iran is too sacred to associate with IRI, V-Ran is a better word.


An Iraqi kurdestan leader once said that........................

by Anonymous Irani (not verified) on

An Iraqi kurdistan leader once said to become independence from Iraq during Saddam that he does not mind if Iraq Kurdistan becomes USA 51th state.Looks like his dream came true.


What do you mean, "and if you really bend it Jews?"

by Harun (not verified) on

What do you mean, "and if you really bend it Jews?" There so happen to be many Kurdish Jews. They are a sizeable presence in Israel.


One more thing about the "little in common" point

by heartbroken kurd (not verified) on

I want to talk about how this man's studies led him to conclude that Kurds have little in common. It's a DIRECT RESULT of their persecution and forced scatteredness. This is not uncommon in forcing a group to become nomadic over an extended period of time. There are much better resources to learn about the Kurds, their leadership and how their dream in a nation is slowly being realized. I suggest the most recent which is called INVISIBLE NATION by Quil Lawrence, who is currently in Afghanistan working for Public Radio International.


Why do people always pick on Kurds?

by Heartbroken Kurd (not verified) on

What a shame for this Ingmar fellow to spend time studying a group like the Kurds only to make a conclusion that they are a "country that is not."

They have been promised land and each time, leaders of superpowers fail to maintain their end of that promise. The Kurds have prevailed. They haven't been exterminated, and the PKK army is child's play compared to the bloodshed caused by REAL terrorists, Al Qaeda and Palestinian Jihad included.

When the Turks stop acting like barbarians and persecuting and Kurdistan is left alone from jealous and greedy neighbors, that includes Iran, THEN let it been considered whether the Kurds are a "real people." Long live Kurdistan. Shame on the Kurd persecutors.


Are You ready? Here it is

by samsam1111 on


I,m not a Kurd ! but know this !

There is 100 fold more "Kurdish" in any "Kurd" than there is "Iran" in a so called "Iranian". Ask a Kurd as to what it means to be a Kurd & You will get a clear answer, Ask an Iranian & wait to find out that "We are all "Pairovaneh seyed-eh al Alavi" or "Keshvareh emameh zaman". Personaly I would tell You that the term "Iran" is a big hoax & a lie told to us since Safavid..There hasn,t been any Iran since post Qadesiyeh & there will never be...It,s all "V-ran" with or without Mullah. We are the hypocrites in denial not Kurds. They survived & mostly stayed true to their heritage which is not much to be said about others...btw ..They have single handedly carried the weight of opposing tyrany in V-ran for last 30 years among other mostly silent ethnic groups . Thats Kurdish for ya

""that are pro Bush and Israel, do hold this Iran very high. That Iran is an Iran with no Islam and Mullahs and for the blame for "the country that is"""

hehe..thank You for a dosage of my late night laugh Pal!! now We have Bush Iran & Mullah Iran added to the list of what V-ran is..What did I tell Ya..You go on creating new terms for that cat..

Cheers! & tell Carlsenn my waiter in Gothenberg once charged me $10 for a cup of coffee..