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Land Of The Sun; Kurdistan

From East the Sun rises - crimson red and patched orange cloudy skies... Emancipating the ancient native Kurdish people of the valleys, gorges, rivers and mountains of Kurdistan...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Kurdish National Pride: Pişika Wanê - The Van Cat


Pişika Wanê - The Van Cat
According to Amberin Zaman, Los Angeles Times: http://www.swimmingcats.com/vanarticle3.htm
Raping Kurdish Culture
"The Turkish state wants to wipe out everything that symbolizes Kurdish culture,'' Florian Cremer, a representative of the group, charged in a recent interview with the Turkish weekly Aydinlik. "The cats are Kurdish, and the Turkish authorities are unable to digest this.'' Experts remain divided on the origins of this exotic breed, which has snow-white fur and usually one blue and one green eye. It loves to swim in Van's huge lake and is said to behave more like a dog than a cat.
The Legend
Local legend has it that the felines were part of Noah's cargo and left the ark when the flood waters receded and the vessel came to rest on the peak of Mount Ararat, about 100 miles northeast of the city of Van.
Perhaps the oversight was Noah's. According to legend, the famous ark architect and animal lover was having a hard time keeping his passengers calm as their vessel approached dry land on the slopes of Mount Ararat, located in a remote area of North Kurdistan. After several months aboard a wooden ship crammed full of animals, you can understand why the passengers were a bit anxious to get ashore. Two cats, smarter and a tad more wily than their fellow animals, snuck past Noah's guard and leapt into the flood waters to swim ashore.
Some Van Cats have a color patch between the shoulder blades called the "Mark of Allah"-the place where Allah touched the cats on their way from the Ark. This "thumbprint of god" is considered to be good luck in Moslem countries. Other distinguishing marks include the five to eight, faint ring-markings on the tail. Some Vans sport eyes of different colors - one amber, one blue.
The Mongol Van Cat
Now, apparently in response to the Germans, Turkish nationalists have been quoted in recent news reports as insisting that Van cats, like the latter-day Turks, came from Central Asia. Denying the Kurds' existence as a distinct ethnic group and repressing their culture has been state policy since the founding of the Turkish republic more than 70 years ago.
The Van cat can be found all over the Serhed area of Kurdistan - but especialy in Van, it's hometown.
Kurdish Cats
Are Van cats becoming pawns in the politics of eastern Turkey? Last October, a German animal welfare group issued a report stating Vans were being killed for political purposes throughout the region. Turkish officials vehemently denied the account.
The Duesseldorf group, called SOS Van Cats Rescue Action, charged that Turkish soldiers were killing Vans because of the breeds' association with the Kurds and Kurdish culture. The Kurds of eastern Turkey, including the Lake Van region, have long sought independence from Turkey, and until recently separatist Kurdish rebels in the region waged a 15-year battle with the Turkish army.
"The Turkish state wants to wipe out everything that symbolizes Kurdish culture," said Florian Cremer, a spokesperson for the group. "The cats are Kurdish, and Turkish authorities are unable to digest this."





Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Kurdish National Pride: Berik / Rug

Carpet maker in Makû, East Kurdistan


Berikên Kurdî - Kurdish Rugs/Carpets
In the words of William Eagleton:
For most of us a rug type exists only after it has reached international markets and has been seen and classified by collectors and scholars. Until then rugs and other weavings can be present in considerable numbers in their natural habitats without attracting the attention of the outside world. This was the case with many Anatolian, Iranian, and Iraqi kilims, bags, and trappings 20 years ago; however, it seemed unlikely that by 1988 any major rug type was still awaiting discovery. Nevertheless, such a weaving has recently emerged from the Kurdish heartland of Eastern Turkey.
A Kurdish woman weaving...
For the Kurds, rugs have a special place. Kurds respect their rugs and value them. As it takes a lot hard work and time to make one of these beautiful master pieces. The traditional Kurdish colors include different shades of red, green, yellow and traditionally with shades of black/brown/white as backgrounds.
Traditionally, in the Middle East, making rugs is a job preserved for women, but this varies from region to region in Kurdistan. Where I come from, Ûrmî, women will usualy have many projects at one time. Making a rug, knitting and on the side the chores of the house. This is done so that they don't tire from doing the same thing all day. Going to knitting when they are tired of weaving and from weaving to sowing clothes or making some bread ("Nan" in Kurdish). Either way, they spend a lot of their time weaving.
It is estimated that in general a weaver work 900 + hours to produce a 2x1.5 meters rug. It should then not come as a surprise that Kurds traditionally never step on these rugs with their shoes, but take them of before. After all , somebody has worked hard to create this beauty!
Some beautiful Kurdish rugs:
This one was probably made for prayer use. It is dated ca. ¨1970.

This one is dated ca. 1955.

This beautiful rug (my favorite) is dated ca. 1965.


This one is dated ca. 1965.


This one is dated ca. 1965.


About Zagheh Rugs

The Zagheh are a Kurdish tribe living in Kurdistan. These tribes market their rugs in the surrounding area of Hamadan. The bright and lively colors and the creative geometric shapes are typical of a Zagheh Kurdish rug design.
History & Construction

Kurdish carpets are woven throughout western Iran, in and around the rugged mountains of Kurdistan. The resilient Kurds descend from the ancient nomads that roamed the area thousands of years ago. They live a semi-nomadic life, either in villages or in tribes away from the cities where they can still practise their traditions and live as their ancestors did. Some Kurdish tribes include the Herki, Senjabi, Gurani, Jaffid, and Kalhors. Major rug-producing centers include Senneh, Bidjar, and the district of Khamseh.
Other Kurdish villages and districts that produce rugs are Borchelu, Goltogh, Khoi, Koliai, Lylyan, Mousel, Nanadj, Songhore, Touserkan, and Zagheh. There are many grades of hand-made rugs produced in this vast province, and almost every color can be seen in these rugs. All have a pile of wool, and the foundations are of cotton, or more rarely, wool or goat hair. The weaving quality in Kurdish rugs varies from loose to dense knotting and the Persian asymmetrical knot is used more frequently than the Turkish symmetrical knot.
The colors are mainly from natural dyes, and bright lively colors are used to bring life to their simple homes. The Kurds are a very peaceful, gentle people who prefer their simple nomadic lives to the complexities and frustrations of the modern world. Many other major rug-producing centers of Iran, such as Hamadan, Lorestan, or even Arak, show traces of Kurdish influence.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Kurdish National Pride: Kengal - Gammal



Kengal - Gammal

According to Bijan Eliasi, Director of Kurdish Worldwide Resources:
"Kangal dog is a native breed from the Kangal area in northwest Kurdistan in Turkey. It is known as "Gammal" to every Kurdish child. It is inaccurate to call this dog a "Turkish breed," for the following reasons: The nomadic Turkish tribes did not arrive in these areas of Anatolia (modern Turkey) until after the Battle of Manzikert in AD 1072, that is, about 800 years ago. However, the Kurds had been residing in the same geographical region--Kurdistan--for many thousands of years. Their name as the native population of there is recorded as early as 3,100 yeas ago in the inscriptions of king Tiglath-pileser I. This simple
chronology alone should overturn the present designation of the Kangal breed as a "Turkish" breed."

This quote can be found in it's entirety at:
http://www.ovcharka.org/discus/messages/36/307.html?SundayJune2019990138am

Kurd at "Zozan"...

The Kengal is a cherished dog among Kurds. It is celebrated for it's strenght and loyalty. Kurds are a people with strong agricultural customs and traditions. Their lifestyle has evolved from a semi-nomadic to a sedentary lifestyle - still keeping traditions like going to "Zozan" (Kurdish for "highlands;" as shown in picture) with their sheep. The place where they put up their tent and the surrounding area is called "War" - here they will stay through the summer to avoid the hot climate and come back down to their villages in autoum when it starts getting cool again.

A Kurdish family is usualy quite large in size. Consisting from 4 to 8 children. This is especially true in the rural areas, where there is a lot of work at the farm and the parents need help with the cattle, sheep, ochyard, corn etc. and all the work that is involved. Kurds have a tradition of making youghurt of milk from sheep.

The Kengal has always played an important role in looking after the herd and protecting their masters from wolves, bears etc. It is not unusual for the Kengal to have a barbed leash - as shown in the picture above. In Kurdistan a dog isn't brought inside a house, most probably because of hygiene. They usually sleep under the open sky or in their doghouse... If they have one!

In the map below you can see where the Kangal can be found in Eastern Kurdistan. However, although I am only found a map for their where abouts in Eastern Kurdistan, the Kangal can be found in all of Kurdistan - from Siwas in North-western Kurdistan and all the way to Pahve in South-eastern Kurdistan. It is a nationally recognized loyal subject of the Kurds and has as Bijan Eliasi describes been so for thousands of years.

The grey spot marks Ûrmiye, my birth town, while the red line marks the border for East Kurdistan.

Picture of me with my Kengal puppy in Sêro, Eastern Kurdistan - I was about 4 years old...


Although these aren't Kangals - I thought I might share the picture...

Friday, October 07, 2005

Kurdish National Pride: Kew

Symbolism...

Most of us and most of things have a symbol representing us/them. From persons and soccerteams to countries and ethnic groups to political organizations. A national symbol is something which in a way represents the nations culture, history, geographical surroundings, lifestyle or mentality.

And just as any other nation, ethnic group or land in the world the Kurds and Kurdistan have their symbols; national animals, flowers, landmarks and important persons that have fused their national unity.

I will starting from now - each day, focus on a new Kurdish national symbol. Today I have decided to start with perhaps one of the most profiled of the Kurdish symbols - Kew, or the Red-legged Partridge as it is refered to in English.



Red-legged Partridge - Kew

"Red-legged partridge with scientific name "Alectoris rufa" calls "Kew", "Kev","Kewk", "Kevî", and "Kevkî" in Kurdish.
These birds are found in various parts of Kurdistan; and are common in Germany, France, and Italy; the islands of Madeira, Guernsey and Jersey; but the accounts of their breeding in England, are contradictory. In a wild state, they prefer woody and heathy wastes, to in closed ground, but they are easily tamed, and soon become offensively familiar. "
Taken from Kurdistanica at:
What Hunting in Oregon says about the Partridge:
"The introduced chukar partridge has become established and is presently one of the most popular and abundant upland game bird species in Oregon. Releases of game farm birds began in 1951 and most suitable habitat has been stocked since that date.

Chukars are native to the Middle East and southern Asia, the Oregon stock originating in India. The birds prefer grasslands areas with sagebrush or other low shrubs present for loafing and escape cover. Steep talus slopes, low rainfall, and a source of water are other requirements."
Aren't they cute? =D

Kurdish Kew - it's symbolic meaning...
The interesting thing about this bird is that it has repeatedly been used in Kurdish movies, books, arts etc. Mostly the Kew is like the pigeon seen as a symbol of freedom. For instance in Yilmaz Güneys film "Yol"("Road" in Turkish) - we meet a among others, a Kurd who has just been released from prison and on his way home by train he sits in his cabine with a Kew in a cage. Symbolically he has his passport and papers for his release in the Kews cage - and when a conducter comes to ask him for his papers; he seems to have forgotten that he put his passport and papers in the cage. Consequently he is sent back to prison...
I have thought about that and now seem to think it is an analogy of Kurdish history in general. The Kurd, trusting that his identity will be his freedom. Cause that is what this Kurd did - he put his papers inside the Kews(symbolic for "freedom") cage. And thus he became an easy pray of the Turkish jandarma (military police). Likewise Kurds have always been too trusting of their ancient and profound identity, expecting it to provide them with legitimacy for statehood...
Another and much older symbolic use of the Kew in Kurdish culture is the great Mem û Zîn, a Kurdish lovestory written by Ehmedê Xanî(1651-1707). Here the Kew is symbolic for freedom as well, when Mem is in prison as a result of his love for Zîn.
The Kew is also frequently used in paintings, embroidments and other handycrafts. A painting comes to mind; one dipicting a dead Kew as a reminder of the Genocide of the Southern Kurds under the Al-Anfal campaign of Saddam Hussain.
And now on Iraqi-Kurdistan stamps:

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Freedom Invasion; Iran

Amnesty International about Iran:
"Scores of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, continued to serve sentences imposed in previous years following unfair trials. Scores more were arrested in 2003, often arbitrarily and many following student demonstrations. At least a dozen political prisoners arrested during the year were detained without charge, trial or regular access to their families and lawyers. Judicial authorities curtailed freedoms of expression, opinion and association, including of ethnic minorities; scores of publications were closed, Internet sites were filtered and journalists were imprisoned. At least one detainee died in custody, reportedly after being beaten. During the year the pattern of harassment of political prisoners’ family members re-emerged. At least 108 executions were carried out, including of long-term political prisoners and frequently in public. At least four prisoners were sentenced to death by stoning while at least 197 people were sentenced to be flogged and 11 were sentenced to amputation of fingers and limbs. The true numbers may have been considerably higher."
Source:
Land of terror

Iran is a country which is made up of many ethnicities. Of these nine the most commonly reffered to are the Persians, Azeri, Kurds, Arabs and Baloch because they make up larger numbers. But according to different sources, there are around 80 different ethnicities in Iran.
The problem is that most would say that Persians make up a clear majority in Iran. This is however not true. As a person with family history and family members in Eastern Kurdistan (Northwestern Iran) I can tell you that this is an overrated "fact". One would naturally think that a country that has during most of it's existence been known as "Persia" by outsiders would be majority Persian. The point is understandable - but this is a misconception.
There is a tendency by Persians too, to underestimate the Azer, Kurdish and Arab numbers - because they are all in significant numbers and can or do outnumber the Persians themselves. The Westerner can also be blamed for this generalization of the peoples of Iran. Western travellers have been "blind" to ethnic divisions and consequently thought of the Kurds, Azeris, Arabs etc. as "Persian"...
Below you will find a list of the nine largest ethnic groups of Iran - according to different sources (than those which are internationally recognized in e.g. by the CIA:http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ir.html ):
Irans population is estimated at 68,017,860 million.
Source:
Let's convert that into a round number - 70 million.
The nine largest ethnicities in Iran and their estimated in numbers and % (of 70 million):
Azeri ca. 40 % = 28 million
Persian ca. 15 % = 10,5 million
Kurd ca. 15 % = 10,5 million
Arab ca. 8 % = 5,6 million
Baloch ca. 7 % = 4,9 million
Turkic groups - (Qashqai, Turkmen etc.) ca. 5 % = 3,5 million
Mazandarani ca. 5 % = 3,5 million
Gilaki ca. 2 % = 1,4 million
Others ca. 3 % = 2,1 million
According to the Wikipedia:
"Separatist tendencies, led by the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran or Komalah in Iranian Kurdistan, for example, had led to frequent unrest and occasional military crackdown in the past. Similar tendencies, though on a smaller scale, in other provinces such as Baluchistan, Khuzestan (see Ethnic politics of Khuzestan) and Iranian Azerbaijan required occasional suppression by police and other security measures."
Source:


Some would say that the existence of a sparatist movement/organization for the separation of a certain ethnic/religious "minority group" from the majority group, can be interpreted as a cry from the ethnic/religious "minority group" as a whole for recognition. Others would say that is a far fetched idea and that such movements/organizations only represent a little minority within the ethnic/religious "minority group". I put "..." because in the case of the Azeri which make up about 40 % of the Iranian population they are by far a majority group.
As a Kurd, I would say that I stand for a moderation of these two theories - on one side - I agree - a separatist group DOES represent a whole ethnic/religious "minority group". But I also understand that there are people within these groups that do not harbour any sepratist feelings.
However, I consider these to be individuals rather than representative of the ethnic/religious "minority group", because there wouldn't be a sepratist movement/organization within the group unless there was strong aspirations/wish for separatism within the group.
As you read from Amnesty, Islamic Republic of Iran is by far one of the most cruel regimes in the world. Myself and millions of others, both within and outside Iran, would like to see a regime change. Some advocate a peacful revolution by the people themselves as in Georgias velvet revolution and Lebanons cedar revolution. While others advocate military actions to save the people from the horrors of the regime. I belong to the latter.
I bet you wanna ask me "Do you enjoy seeing people being killed/maimed/raped?". But then I would ask you -"Is it okey for people to be killed/maimed/raped, just as long as you don't SEE/HEAR ABOUT them being killed/maimed/raped?" - Because believe me, people are being killed and maimed and raped and terrorized and have been so for the last 26 years of the Islamic Terror Regime of Iran.
Ever since the birth of this nightmare in 1979, millions have been killed, maimed, raped, prosecuted for religious, political or other beliefs.
That was 26 years of systematic oppression, torture, murder and prosecution. Now with the help of the world community the horror regime will either grow stronger or weaker. Funny how so much depends on some mindless office rats in Europe who couldn't care less for the pain and sufferings of the many ethnicities, individuals, children and women of Iran.
Claiming religious supremacy as the only true face of Islam, Iran has since the theocracy came to power, supported and financed terrorism. You will find that before the horror regime was established, there was no such thing as "terrorism" or "Islamic fundamentalism". Although they might have "existed" (in e.g. acts of terror) they were not daily words or what the common man on the street in Helsinki, Washington or Tokyo would have an oppinion about.
Indeed there were terror acts. And there have always been. But with the birth of the horror regime in Iran, terrorism exclusively became "Islamist". The word Islam - which means "submission" - has since become synonymous with "terror" for many people in the western world. How can Islam, a religion, which as Judaism and Christianity is based on the the principals of love, peace and brotherhood be affiliated with such a disgusting word?
WARNING - GRAPHIC!
Iran the birthplace of "terrorism"
And we can thank THIS man and those of his kind for such cruelty:
(Khamenei)
What to do...
So what can we do about this? Right? That is what you are thinking??? I am sure you already know what my stance is... Let me focus on your. Are you one of those "peace loving passiphists"? Well let me tell you that there is no such thing as being "passive" in this or any other case like this one - which involve a requirement of some sort of engangement for or against solution...
Because taht is what it boils down to. Solutions. We seek for the best possible
way to overcome our problems and handicaps. Either one can confront the problem or handicap and solve what there is to solve and move on knowing one has "fixed it". Or one can give up all responsibility and let nature take it's course and then deal with the consequences...
Either way, you have made a choice. A decision to overcome now or later.
That is how it is with Iran. Take out the problem now, dump it into the garbage can and get it over with. Or you can wait for the garbage can to fill up and up - and then flood your home with garbage, to the point where you are forced to make a decision and take actions...
You didn't like my metaphor? Well let me put it like this:
The Kurds in Southern Iraq were practically screaming for attention and help from the western world, but their cries went to deaf ears and obvious sufferings to blind eyes. All untill in 1991 - after an infamous genocide
campaign by Saddam called "Al-Anfal" ("Spoils of war" from the Quran) was carried out against the Kurds.
Saddam had come to the point where he started using chemical bombs against the Kurds. This desparate situation for the Kurds forced them into such a weak position that when they in 1991 rebelled with the "support" (NOT!) and encouragement of the Americans, they were left out in the cold alone at the mercy of a dictator whos cruelty matches that of Lenin and Hitler through Kurdish eyes. Fleeing from their homes by the millions - the Americans and the West were FORCED into helping the Kurds. The garbage in Iraq had flooded and the innocent women and children were as in most cases made to pay for it...
Will we sit by and let Iran be a new Iraq? Will we let another Baathist-minded fascist regime repeat the ugly face of history once more? How many more innocent women and children will be deprived of a life? How many more children will be deprived of a childhood and a decent piece of clothing on their body, a piece of bread to eat and a graduation?
Oh, what joy it is for us sitting so comforted here in Europe, America and the rest of the fortunet, peaceful part of the world knowing we never will have to face such agony and pain. We will never know what it means to be deprived of our entire family or how it feels to face another day with one aim only; to survive...
Shame on you...
How was it that you decided to retire from the world and not care about others sufferings? May not be your intenton - but your actions speak louder than your words. Either you are with the innocent and helpless or you are against them!
"Freedom Invasion"

A coalition, like the one that operates in Iraq should be established. The most ideal would be for the UN to legitimize the invasion and thus open up for a broad coalition. Below I have made a list of those prefered to be involved in the invasion of Iran. This list is more like a wish list. As is the invasion itself... Bear with me...

The Coalition of the Freedom Invasion

US

UK

South Kurdistan

Azerbaijan

Pakistan

Turkmenistan

And various others.

Reasons?

Take a look at the pictures above, what Amnesty says and take a good five minutes to make up your mind wether or not these are sufficient reasons. And also keep in mind that THERE IS NO DEMOCOCRACY IN IRAN. Women rights, religious rights, ethnic minority rights, HUMAN RIGHTS, freedom of speech do not exist in this country. We are talking about the lair of terrorism. If we don't put an end to it's production the Israeli-Palestinian issue will keep rolling on - if we don't put an end to it's work the Kurdish issue, Azeri issue and Baloch issue along with all other oppressed minorities will remain as. The choice is to either ignore and let the garbage flood or take a stance and put words into action.



Now, the reason I propose the neighbours of Iran as part of the coalition is quite obvious. It is clear that it is much easier to use Irans neighbours as bases for the invasion. And also since Southern Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Pakistan etc would have interests in the country itself (in e.g. because there are Kurds, Azeris and Baloch in Iran). When Iran has ben successfully invaded each of those mentioned in the list above should be given command over the area that falls most natural for them. South Kurdistan should be given comend over East Kurdistan, Azerbaijan should be given comand over South Azerbaijan etc. In this way one would have taken into consideration the sensitive issues about ethnicity and religion.

Comand

One thing comes to mind; insurgents. Which would not be a big problem if Kurds are given control over Kurds, Azeris given control over Azeris, Pakistanis given control over Baloch etc. And the rumors about Iranians (or should I say Persians) being as hateful of the Americans as they are of the theocracy horror is hard to believe. Even if true - they would have won their freedom back and could choose to have another theocray if that is what the people wish. And this is the point exactly; IF THE PEOPLE WISHES SO! Not by dictatorship and force, by choice...


The result of this invasion should look like this:



Each nation would be given self-determination within a Federal Democratic Republic. Iran is 65% Shia and the rest Sunni, Bahai, Christian etc.. Kurds, Arabs and Baloch being the only major predominant Sunni groups. There are many reasons for federalism in Iran. The wish of the Kurds, Baloch, Arabs and Azeri has been made clear through their separatist organizations. They have long been oppressed by Persian culture/language but also religion - the incompatibility of Sunni Islam and Shia Islam is a reason for federal states.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Rising Sun...


My dear compatriots and friends - welcome.


Through this blog I wish to give the
Eastern
Kurds in particular, but also Kurdistan a new voice...


Dara Sor