Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Believe In the Kurdish Dream, Too

By: Ali Rawaf

When I was in elementary school, I had a friend called “Tawan.” Even thought Towan lived in Baghdad, he was Kurdish. He looked like a Kurd and spoke like one. I don’t remember anything about my friendship with Tawan other than playing soccer, walking down the streets of my neighborhood, and exchanging/ playing video games. Our parents became friends through us and they paid each other visits on regular basis. I had never heard them argue or fight about, Kurdish and Arab affairs. They drank tea, smoked cigarettes, and laughed loudly. I am not painting you a picture of a happy community, Tawan was actually my friend and years after, I still remember him while I have forgotten most of my friends from Baghdad.

A few days ago, I had an online interaction with a fellow Iraqi from Kurdistan. It was a series of heated responses to one another. I was frustrated through out the “conversation” because the Kurdish person (Who shall remain unknown) was constantly telling me that I appear to be supporting Kurdistan while deep inside that’s not the case. I have found that very hurtful from my Kurdish friends sometimes. No matter how friendly and how good my intentions are for the Kurds, I receive a negative treatment full of presumptions.

I understand what the Kurds have gone through. They have had their nation divided to be with countries that have not welcomed them and fought them. I know that Arabs have not been the most faithful and peaceful with the Kurds but I do know that when people like me recognize that, that itself is an improvement.

I often tell my Kurdish friends that I hope they get their own country one day and live in harmony, peace, and prosperity. I don’t think they believe me or think that my comments are sincere. It is saddening.

The problem is that people from my generation in Kurdistan have grown up to dislike non-Kurds in the rest of the country and to never trust them, the same as how Shiites raised their children telling them that Saddam is bad and associated that with being Sunni.

I am in favor of the establishment of a Kurdish country so long that it is what the people of the region want. I hope all my Kurdish friends and others believe that. Saddam Hussein is the one that gassed the Kurds and he is the one that persecuted them.

I would like to request from all Kurds to not generalize us, the people of the rest of Iraq. We were all persecuted under Saddam Hussein and he has been gone for a couple of years now. Why do I take the blame for what he had done?

Here is the exchange of words that I had with a Kurdish person a few days ago, it started after one of my friend’s fb status was making fun of an American who couldn’t recognize which flag it was when they showed him the Kurdish flag. (Sorry, it is a bit long)

Ali Rawaf: So you guys are all geniuses, now? It sounds as if you can tell every country's flag.

With all honesty, I respect and love people from Kurdistan and I wish them the best in their pursuit of their homeland, but you can't expect people to know the flag of a federal district such as Kurdistan. That would be exactly the same if an American asks you about his or her state's flag.

But I guess you guys are super smart and can name all the flags of all 50 states.

Sherwan (fake name): ali rawaf,

you are wrong if you compare kurdistan to a state in the usa.
the american states unified (came together) because they wanted to. the case of iraq is different, iraq is artificial. the establishment of iraq was the idea of british colonialism.
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hiroshima is more known than most american states. soon, halabja, kurdistan and the kurdish cause will become as known as hiroshima ;)

don't assess the kurdish cause by the knowledge of some young americans. the center of attention of the world is middle east and kurdistan is the heart of it, so those who are seeking knowledge out there they all know about kurdistan, whether it's in the states, france, brazil, australia, korea or egypt.

Ali Rawaf: Why do I always get attacked by Kurds even if I am NOT against them having their own country. I would be thrilled fo you guys but I feel like you are loosing it nowadays. You are too extremists with your cause. I truly truly hope that it work out for Kurdistan. But you can't treat everyone with negative presumptions like the way you have responded to me.
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I know that the Kurds didn't become a part of Iraq voluntarily. I don't need a history lesson. But you know that if Kurdistan's best interest, as Talabani says, is by staying with Iraq. So, don't blame it on me or other people who had nothing to do with what happened a hundred years ago. I didn't vote for Kurdistan to become a part of Iraq and I didn't participate in the massacre of Halabja.

I would like to invite you to walk down the streets of the United States, and ask them if they know Kurdistan and when they do, ask them if they know Halabja. I can almost guarantee you that they wouldn't know as much as you might hope.

Also, it would be nice if we can make famous of our cities by having something unique about them, things such as inventing something, a historical site, or recognizing arts and creativity. No one would like to boast about being persecuted except the week, and don't get me wrong all people in Iraq brag about being persecuted.

There were many Eropian cities that were bombed and their people were massacred and persecuted during World War II. I don't think they go everywhere in the world to blame things on Hitler, the dead person responsible for their persecution. Saddam Hussein is dead and with him died the hatred and the animosity of Kurdistan.


Ali Rawaf: "don't assess the kurdish cause by the knowledge of some young americans"

That has got to be the biggest nonsense I have listened to in a long time. I am glad you think that way, it must make you prideful and happy. Have fun living in your own bubble.

The middle east isn't the center of it. And Kurdistan have yet to be the heart of it. It will ... Read Morebe okay to say that when you want to separate and have your own country. Right now, you want to stay attached, so speak like you are attached and don't let the world make your cause a joking matter.

Sherwan: i'm not negative. since you're from iraq, i knew that you know more about kurdistan, more than you showed in your first comment. that's what plays with ones temper.

personally, i'm not an extremist, but to every action there's a reaction. don't come and speak of extremism, the way you express yourself is way more harsh though you showed yourself to be more understanding

what jalal talabani said does not represent the needs and wants of all kurds. in addition, talabani said that as the president of iraq. there are also others who make such statements in kurdistan region but that's to respect being a part of iraq.... Read More

first of all, you seem to act hood. second, i respect the streets. but as much as i know knowledge is to be rather found in schools. the same goes for kurdistan, ghetto people can't point out the states on the map. by having this said, i'm not expecting thugz to know about some place far from home, i'm rather expecting scholars to do so.

trust me on this, my bubble is way bigger than yours. for exmaple, i respect the right of every nation to self-determination (regardless the way they express themselves).

Ali Rawaf: By the way, saying, "my bubble is way bigger than yours" is not a positive thing to say about yourself. Also, calling people "hood" isn't either. Ask most English speakers, and they would tell you who says such words.

It is also sad that after a number of paragraphs that I wrote to explain how much I am for Kurdistan's independence, you still give me a comment like this, "trust me on this, my bubble is way bigger than yours. for exmaple, i respect the right of every nation to self-determination (regardless the way they express themselves)." To add to that, I also know that generalizing and stereotyping people based on their origin isn't the indicative of an educated person

I didn't comment to fight with you. I don't know you and I didn't know you. I simply wrote an objective opinion and you started rambling about Kurdistan and its independence.... Read More

Again, it is worthless to fight with you on facebook or to defend my stands o0n Kurdistan, I was simply expressing my opinion in a respectful manner without calling names or referring to stereotypes.

And believe me, just because I have an Arabic name, that doesn't mean that I am against the Kurdish cause. I believe that Kurdistan should be able to have their own country if they want to and I sure hope it will be a prosperous one.

Sherwan: we better skip who's right or wrong, let's leave it for others. i can tell you one thing, the way you speak now is pretty different than you did in your first comment. you say that you support kurdistan but what i read between the lines is whole another story. after all, i'm not asking you to support kurdistan, that's what you say, but i can tell ... Read Moreyou it's confusing.

Ali Rawaf
: Who do you think you are that you believe I am not writing you my sincere opinion. I don't care if you admire my opinion.

Freud once said, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," so have fun speculating and reading between the lines of what I wrote but believe me you will find nothing other that what I obviously said. I am not afraid of expressing my real opinion, one that I have made up for my self and not listened to others and learned it from them..

It saddens me that the conversation was so negative and heated but I hope that one day, this person and I will be able to have a friendly conversation and laugh about this one. I hope that as much as I would like to see my friend Tawan again.


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