Writing in Arab News, Abdulateef Al-Mulhim wonders why the Kurds, with a population that numbers in the tens of millions, are largely invisible. They’re not entirely invisible. Jebel Akrad, Mountain of the Kurds, is one of Damascus’ backdrops. The Ayyubid Dynasty – established by Saladin (Salahiddin), his brothers, and their descendants – is still taught in schools.
For an ancient people, though, they are rather unique in not having their own state. Despite some efforts, primarily after WWI, Kurdistan never happened. Instead, with the exception of the well-organized Kurdish area of post-Gulf War Iraq, Kurds remain minorities in Syria, Turkey, and Iran.
Kurds, a proud people without a nation
No one wants them to be in their territory, yet no one wants to give them their own territory
The Kurdish people have enjoyed the highest form of freedom for thousands of years. They mainly lived in northern Syria, east of Turkey, west of Iran and north of Iraq. They enjoyed the ability to move from place to another without any restrictions. They were one people, one language and one form of life. The number of Kurds all over the world is over 30 million. But, they don’t have a nation. Before World War I, they didn’t need one. They were free to wander around. They are Muslims. But not Arabs. And it should have made no difference. Islam has no nationality. But, the Kurdish people are different. No one wants them to be in their territory, yet no one wants to give them their own territory.
With my humble knowledge, I will only talk about the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran; not the Kurds scattered all over the world. Books will be needed if you write about the Kurds. They were subjected to relocations and they were considered a lower class in all the nations they lived in. The Turkish territories are the most beautiful part of these countries. After the World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, new nations were created. No one single piece of territory was given to the Kurdish people. And the Kurds couldn’t move through the borders of these new nations. And even though the 1920 Treaty of Sevres was intended to introduce new states including one for the Kurds, it never saw the light. And after the takeover of Turkey by Kamal Attaturk, the Kurds were not even allowed to speak their language. It was a crime to say the words Kurd or Kurdish. And it wasn’t until the 1990s when the Turkish people heard the word Kurds.