BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
No doubt the editors at “Time” magazine are gearing up to choose their person/people of the year. You might recall it used to be “man of the year” before they broke that tradition and chose more than one and also rendered the title gender neutral.
Well, I have a strong recommendation to make to the eminent editors of that publication which began its run just months before the (formal) founding of the Republic of Turkey by Ataturk.
This year’s person/people of the year should be the Kurd(s), among the early targets of the founder of the afore-mentioned “republic’s” murderous appetites.
Few others have done so much (good [see below] and bad [participation in the Genocide]), been abused so extensively, and gotten nothing in return.
Most recently, the Kurds have been at the forefront of fighting ISIS/Daesh on behalf of all decent humanity. In return, they are being bombed by Turkey, which, supposedly, is fighting the same Islamic lunatics, too. Unfortunately, the U.S. is turning a blind eye to this treachery.
Over the course of the past few decades, starting after WWII, the Kurds, at various times in Iran, Iraq, or Turkey, and only very recently in Syria, have organized (though often along tribal, or quasi-tribal, lines) to rise up and demand various basic cultural rights, autonomy, and sometimes even independence. In the process, they have been used as pawns in turn by Iran, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, U.S.A., and U.S.S.R. Once their temporary utility to these powers has elapsed, the Kurds get thrown to the tender mercies of their usually brutal overlords, to enjoy being poison-gassed (Halabja, Iraq), deported (dozens of villages, Turkey), or simply murdered.
Despite the tremendous abuse and pressure they’ve suffered, the Kurds, when given a chance, have built reasonably democratic governance structures, witness, Norther Iraq. But not only there, even in the Kurdish regions of Syria, since the breakdown of Damascus’ authority (due to the Turkish/Saudi supported Islamic State’s [and other groups’] onslaught), fairly inclusive and representative structures have been created to govern locally.
This cycle of support, blossoming, and let-downs has been repeating for at least a century and a half. In some instances, especially in the 1927 uprising against Turkish rule, Armenians (and specifically the ARF) supported Kurdish efforts. Three points are noteworthy in this respect. Prior to the establishment of the Kurdish region in Iraq, Kurds enjoyed the most freedom to be Kurds in Armenia. A very significant proportion of the Kurds of Turkey (in particular) are descendants of forcibly Islamicized Armenians during Ottoman rule. Finally, in Turkish propaganda, the PKK is often alleged to include many Armenians. This seems surprising to anyone watching from the outside. But it could well be that Ankara knows something we don’t. Remember that until recently, Turkish citizens were assigned numbers, in secret, which indicated their origins, even if they were now “Turks” in their own minds… Greeks had a number, Armenians had a number, etc.
There you have it “Time”! Your person of the year is the Kurd (with the Armenian in the background). If readers agree, please forward this piece to the venerable magazine and let its authorities know what you think!