The first Kurdish President of Iraq!

Amazing news this morning–Jalal Talabani, the respected and doughty Kurdish leader of the ‘peshmergas’ (literally ‘those who walk with death’) and the founder of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, has been elected President of Iraq. He is the first Kurd ever to be in the top position in Iraq–and indeed perhaps in any country in the region, at any time, unless you go all the way back to Saladin! There’ll be shivers in Iran and Turkey..
I’ve been interested in the Kurds for quite a while now, since reading books about them, and about their persecution, some years ago–Theresa Thornhill’s ‘Sweet Tea with Cardamon’ and Kanan Makiya’s ‘Cruelty and Silence.’ I’ve read a history of the Kurds too, a book whose name escapes me now–they have a truly interesting and tumultuous history and culture.
If you want to know more about Talabani, and indeed about modern Kurds in general, I’d recommend a visit to the very well-illustrated blog Kurdo’s World
They’re certainly celebrating, in Kurdistan! Have a look at the TV links and photos..
Kurdo’s World is full of photos and fascinating posts on all kinds of aspects of Kurdish life, culture, politics and society. It also has good links to other Kurdish blogs.
Talabani’s deputies, incidentally, are Shiite Adel Abdel Mahdi and Sunni Ghazi Yawar. The Prime Minister is expected to be the Shiite Ibrahim al-Jafaari. Sounds like all the long-drawn out bargaining and horse-trading in parliament has led to some pretty good results, with, I think, hopeful consequences for the long-term future and stability of Iraq, not to speak of helping to cement its territorial integrity.

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Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
2022 years ago

Turkish writers Orhan Pamuk and Yashar Kamal have also written quite a lot about the treatment of the Kurds and other ethnic minorities, both are recommended reading. I might do a post on Pamuk some day as I think his work is quite relevant with issues such as Turkey attempting to attain EU membership (in the process Pamuk considering the flip sides of Ataturk’s legacy) and also the conflictual nature of identity politics in the region.

I also noticed Pamuk got into trouble recently about voicing his opinion on the Armenian holocaust, which is still a very sensitive spot in Turkish politics. As this article shows: –

http://www.kurdmedia.com/news.asp?id=6503

ANKARA, March 30 (AFP) – 16h55 – The Turkish interior ministry is investigating an official who ordered the seizure and destruction of works by novelist Orhan Pamuk for making a reference to the massacre of Armenians, the Anatolia news agency said Wednesday.

Pamuk, author of several novels including “My Name Is Red,” “The White Castle” and “The New Life,” caused an outcry when he said in an interview with a Swiss newspaper that “one million Armenians were killed in Turkey.”

The statement appeared to contradict official denials of an Armenian genocide.

—-

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

Thanks for posting that link, Stephen. Yes, I remember reading something about it–and also about the related fact that some German provincial authority withdrew references to the Armenian massacres in school history textbooks when Turkish officials complained of it–or at least they attempted to do so and there was an outcry. Must find the refs to it, it was quite recently..and quite chilling, if it’s a precursor to what we might expect Turkey to try and do once it’s in the EU.
I hope you do do a post on Pamuk. I would like to know more about him. And as you say, I think it has great relevance in view of current events and possibilities.

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

It was the state of Brandenburg that removed references to the Armenian genocide from its high-school history textbooks after pressure from Turkey. This was reported early this year, and it is archived at
http://www.armenialiberty.org/armeniareport/report/en/2005/01/CADFADD6-92IB-4B2D-96CB-5E9O3E3AAOE.ASP

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

A great book on the Armenian genocide is ‘The Forty Days of Musa Dagh’, by Franz Werfel (also author of ‘The Song of Bernadette).

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

*waits for Tim Dunlop to come along and explain how this is really a disaster and it’s all Howard’s fault*

Yobbo
Yobbo
2022 years ago

He has an unfortunate name.

Tim
Tim
2022 years ago

Ke e e n! Evil’s being mean to me! Civility watch! Civility Watch!

Moving right along: don’t forget Les Murray’s Fredy Neptune if you’re interested in the Amenian genocide. Where’s his Nobel Prize is what I want to know.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Talabani may be President, but in the top positionin Iraq he is not.

If there was a dispute between him and the US Ambassador, who do you think would get their way?

History of the Kurds
15 years ago

Check out this introduction article on History of the Kurds:
http://www.articleworld.org/History_of_the_Kurds
Content:
1.Early_history
2.Kurds under the Arabs
3.Ottoman and Safavid period
4.Modern history