From Diyarbikkir to Lalish: Walking in the Footsteps of Genocide

“That evening, I found myself exhausted both physically and mentally. But there was one place I still had to visit, an old pedestrian bridge that I describe in my novel.  I thought I would spend some quiet time there, but a wedding was being celebrated on the bridge’s top. The ten- arched bridge, “On Guzlu Copry,” was built by the bishop of Diyarbakkir, Yohanna Z’oro, late in the 4th century, so his parish could cross to the other bank of the Tigris and access the Church of 40 Martyrs. I found to my surprise — and dismay — that a plaque placed on the side of the bridge when it was renovated in 2010 claimed it as the first “Islamic” bridge in Anatolia!”

…learn, learn, learn…

ArabLit & ArabLit Quarterly

Iraqi novelist Layla Qasrany traveled to Turkey to commemorate the Armenian genocide and visit sites that had appeared in her most recent novel. A side-trip into northern Iraq, where she visited a Yazidi shrine, brought depressing and hopeful news of ISIS:

By Layla Qasrany

Diyarbakir, Turkey

Diarbakýr, Turkey Diarbakýr, Turkey

We say in Arabic that there are five benefits to travel. No one seems to know just what these are, but I derived many benefits from a trip I took recently. The journey began with my arrival in southern Turkey to attend the commemoration of the centennial of the Armenian genocide, in which we paid tribute to the million-plus souls deported from Diyarbakkir who consequently died in the desert of Syria.  One benefit was that I got to walk in the path of the caravan I depicted in my latest Arabic novel.

The first thing I did on the 23rd of April was…

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The whole world says it: Turkey… J’accuse!

Is Turkey collaborating with the Islamic State (ISIS)? Allegations range from military cooperation and weapons transfers to logistical support, financial assistance, and the provision of medical services. It is also alleged that Turkey turned a blind eye to ISIS attacks against Kobani.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu strongly deny complicity with ISIS. Erdogan visited the Council on Foreign Relations on September 22, 2014. He criticized “smear campaigns [and] attempts to distort perception about us.” Erdogan decried, “A systematic attack on Turkey’s international reputation, “complaining that “Turkey has been subject to very unjust and ill-intentioned news items from media organizations.” Erdogan posited: “My request from our friends in the United States is to make your assessment about Turkey by basing your information on objective sources.”Columbia University’s Program on Peace-building and Rights assigned a team of researchers in the United States, Europe, and Turkey to examine Turkish and international media, assessing the credibility of allegations. This report draws on a variety of international sources — The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, Sky News, as well as Turkish sources, CNN Turk, Hurriyet Daily News, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal among others.

via

Research Paper: ISIS-Turkey List | David L. Phillips.

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Turkey, ….and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, ….even US and Israel have allowed this evil to grow, in certain moments.

And the worst is Arabs and Muslims themselves doing nothing …because “it’s a CIA/Israeli creation” (¡¡¿¿??!!)

… damn myopic generation of spiritually retarded degenerates.

“Everywhere you see houses and churches on fire”

The year is 2015. It has now been exactly 100 years since the genocide took place. The perpetrators and most of the victims are gone. The Turks and Kurds of today are not the ones guilty of genocide but a process of reconciliation has not occurred.

Some Kurdish leaders and organizations have recognized Kurdish clans’ involvement in the massacre but from the Turkish side there is only silence. It hurts in your heart. But not only the cruel massacres and the holocaust on the Christians; not only did you see your entire family and your relatives killed, thousands of villages being emptied of its indigenous people and your entire history annihilated, but today they say that it never happened. It hurts within you. You can still feel the smell. The process of extermination against you is continued today, 100 years later.

Far from all Turks and Kurds were responsible for the massacre. There are examples of Turkish, Kurdish and Arab families who adopted children or protected persecuted, to save them from a sure death. There are documented cases where governors refused to follow government orders of the massacres. There are also examples of Kurds who protected Christian villages against other Kurds.

The night of April 24, 1915, the first phase of the genocide began when 250 Armenian doctors, lawyers, politicians, government officials, teachers, writers, poets and other intellectuals who could become the core of a future resistance, were arrested overnight and executed within 72 hours. Therefore April 24 is counted as the start of the genocide.

The genocide that destroyed over two million Christians and that emptied the Syriac village of Kerburan, twice. The night is still your friend. For the night is when you still hear your mother’s voice, calling your beautiful name.

The year is 2015, but a part of me died in 1915.

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Reliving the Armenian genocide: “Everywhere you see houses and churches on fire” – Your Middle East.

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Armenian women crucified by Kurdish clans in Deir-El-Zor, 1915… but at least they have acknowledged their role in the hell experienced by Armenians 100 years ago. 

Yazidi means “I was created”

Who are the Ezidis?

Many Kurds know the Ezidis as refugees, IDPs, even as devil worshippers – though mostly through biased media reports. Kawa wants to learn the truth about the people’s religion and daily life. In this ZLR episode Kawa goes to a Ezidi community in Lalesh, the main Yazidi temple complex in the KR. He meets a young man called Zaid, who shows Kawa various aspects of Ezidi life; from how they eat, to prayer in their temple, to who is protecting them from IS. Zaid and his family were on Mount Sinjar and along with others subjected to much horror and deprivation.

via

Who are the Ezidis? – Middle East Alliance.

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Never stop learning, people… never. 

Kurdistan… why…. or why not?… and how… and how not?

In respect to regaining the Kurdish Homeland, ISIS / DA’ESH was a gift from heaven as the Kurds are now controlling everything what is rightfully theirs and what the Arabs would never ever have given them. The main reason why the disputed territory question was never resolved is:

The Arabs, the Assyrians and the Turkomans are utterly terrified by the idea to belong to Kurdistan. They fear the Kurds would discriminate against them (which is not so off if you consider that the KDP-part of Iraqi Kurdistan failed to properly protect the Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities when the Islamic State attacked Kurdistan).

Now that most of the disputed territories are in Kurdish hands, the Kurds are in a much better negotiating position. In the meantime the Iraqi Kurds need to show that the actually mean when they say they are the natural protector of ethno- & religious minorities.

In this respect the Iraqi Kurds can learn from Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) how to govern the newly conquered Disputed Territories, as PYD leaders have worked to create a system of inclusion that works to preserve the diversity of Syrian Kurdistan and maintain a spirit of tolerance in Rojava and Syria. This is why the PYD has reached out to the Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, and Turkoman communities of Syrian Kurdistan to also represent their interests and to be their movement too.

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Why should Kurdistan become an independent country?

Quora

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This is a deffinitely interesting answer… worth reading, in my opinion.

This said, with all the limitations and reserves that prudence advices…  I wish some day they have their place to live in safety and prosperity, same as every other people.

Biji Kurdistan!

Modern day “crusaders” for survival,… modern day Mossarabs at fight.

The Christian religious symbols, various forms of the cross and Jesus’s name tattooed on the hands and arms of these young fighters signify their strong determination and willingness to fight for their ethnic and religious rights.They proudly show religious tattoos that weren’t done for fashion or popular styles, but to prevent them from lying about their religion if one day captured alive by nemesis jihadists and held captive inside the enemy’s camp.Gabi Dawd, 23, who has a Jesus tattoo on his left arm, said, “I first fought alongside Kurdish comrades in the ranks of the Peoples Protection Units  YPG before joining the Sutoro. If you put yourself in our place as Kurds and Christians then you would understand why we are fighting for our rights. The regime wants us to be puppets, deny our ethnicity and demand an Arab-only state. On the other hand, Islamic forces call for Jihad, war and Islamic Caliphate. We are neither of those and would rather die fighting for our freedom.”He added: “I have the name of Jesus tattooed on my arm so I can never lie about my faith if I’m captured alive by the enemy and fear may overcome my bravery.”

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A glimpse into the world of Syria’s Christian “Sutoro” fighters

 Your Middle East.

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Basic Lessons to understand Middle East. Must read!

Advanced countries have long resolved the debate over the state and its system: The republics are republics, kingdoms are kingdoms, and change, when it happens, targets the rule, not the state or the system itself. But in the Arab countries, the nature of the “state” is still a matter of contention.Some wanted a “unity,” in which mainly the Levant countries that were created by the colonial powers would merge. Others wanted regionalism that is fortified with sectarianism. Between these two desires, some started justifying the colonial “interest” by finding fake historical justifications to consecrate the de facto states.There’s no historical state called Iraq, nor one called Syria, or Lebanon. Those words were used to describe locations, not national identities. Also, there was no state in the Arabian Peninsula, nor on the shores of the Gulf extending from Shatt al-Arab to the Strait of Hormuz, where three countries Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar were established, as well as Oman, which always had different features.Babylon is not today’s Iraq. The Hittites and the Assyrians did not have a “state” — in today’s sense of the word: a specific political entity — even though they had swept the whole Levant and expanded their empires by occupying other peoples’ lands.In the era before Islam, the Levant — specifically most of the so-called “Fertile Crescent,” i.e., Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and part of today’s Iraq — came under the rule of the Greeks, then the Romans, then the Byzantines. When Islam came and spread in the entire Arab region, the state of Islam under the Umayyad dynasty was an empire whose capital was Damascus. Then, with the Abbasid state, the capital became Baghdad. Then the caliphate withered away and was inherited by the Mamluks and the Seljuks, till the Ottoman dynasty came and built their empire under the Islamic banner and the Ottoman sultan.The “states” that we know in the Levant are less than a hundred years old. They were established by colonial powers and weren’t created, in their current borders, by the will of their people, but rather according to the interests of foreign countries that have dominated the region after the defeat of Turkey and Germany in World War I.

via Back to the caliphate

– Al-Monitor

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A must read for all those who never go further than

“geez… again those damn mad people killing each other!” 

… spread please. 

The Kurdish sense of making it work.

In a city like Ras al-Ain, where graffiti celebrates the expulsion of the Arab opposition at the hands of the Kurdish People\’s Protection Units (YPG) on July 17 and rockets keep being launched from the neighboring villages controlled by the rebels, some Arab residents show no hesitation in praising the YPG.

\”Most Arab tribes are relieved by the departure of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] fighters,\” an Arab electrician told Al-Monitor. \”People initially welcomed them when they liberated the city from government troops [in November 2012], but they regretted this after the arrival of looters belonging to the brigades of Ahrar al-Ghoyran, Ahrar Manbij and others.\”

Despite the preference accorded to Kurdish militias, Arabs in Ras al-Ain are far from convinced of the merits of political decentralization without an effective Arab-Kurdish reconciliation.

\”Relations are tense; the percentage of mixed marriages is low. Before any self-management plan you need to clean hearts from fences — that means reaching an agreement between Arab and Kurdish tribes

via Kurdish Groups Take Control In Northeast Syria

 Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.

DallasKurds

If kurds are able to get over tribalism, and find a negotiate way to fix historical issues with Syrian arab settlers and decades of baathist intervention, they will have a great chance to repeat a huge part of the success they achieved in Iraq,… that is… to be the only people building a place where things make some sense in the whole region.

So now… unable to fight islamists and the regime and to keep kurds under your banner…. what’s the moderate FSA plan for tomorrow?

“For us, it is extremely dangerous even just to move around. We are civilians, without any military escort when we travel. The areas in the countryside of Aleppo and Idlib have become a no-man’s-land, and the slightest suspicion is enough to get you killed by the men of ISIS.”

According to Wassim, however, the real problem is not al-Qaeda, but the ever-widening rift with the FSA. An activist living in Aleppo, Wassim explained, “When the revolution started, we used to sing ‘One, one, one. The Syrian people are one.’ Nowadays, the most popular song goes like this: ‘Alawites wait for us! We are coming to slaughter you! We will cut your throats.’ The activists abroad will tell you that it is not true, that we are a moderate people and sectarianism will not prevail. But this is true only of us civilians, not for those who fight.

“Well half of the fighters in the FSA believe they are fighting a war against the Alawites, and more generally against the Shiites, as a result of Bashar’s alliances with Iran and Hezbollah. They are simple young men, from the poorer classes. They have no education, and the weapons have gone to their heads. They have become cruel. Killing has become ordinary. They only want their enemy’s blood. We took to the streets for freedom and dignity, not to substitute the regime with another regime just as bloodthirsty.”

via Al-Qaeda’s Latest Target: Syria’s Civilian Activists

– Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.

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If I was imagining a way to fix the situation…. I’d accept Syrian Govt. ceasefire offer, as far as military action will lead to nothing in terms of any advantage. Then I’d push international actors into pressing Assad to change the regime and eventually release power.

By diplomacy, yes. Desperate situations can bring surprising situations.

Of course next step, even prior to achieve a change of regime, would b all together with full UN support crushing the angry beards.

And being realistic… no one can expect a change of regime criminalising those who worked for dictatorship. It would have the same effect than ousting sunnis from institutions, army, etc … in Iraq. Change in Spain came from within the Dictatorial regime we had until 1975.

Same happened in South America, South Korea, Taiwan, and many other places. And proved to be the only way to make change work.

A typically arab “honorable revenge” spirit will be as useless as all that blood spilled in vain.

 

The Civil War Within Syria’s Civil War: “Not Assad, but the Islamists are now our biggest enemy,” he says. “The Assad regime only oppressed us. The jihadists want to exterminate us.”

At least 40 percent of the YPG fighters are women, and they are organized in units called the YPJ. Kurdish men and women fighters have separate barracks where they prepare for war, but they fight in mixed-gender units on the front lines. Women also command units comprised of men and women throughout the Kurdish areas.

“These al Qaeda guys go crazy when they hear that we are women fighters,” says Roshna Akeed, the YPG commander who leads the Kurds on the frontlines of Ras al-Ayn. She notes that the Islamists benefit from thousands of volunteers from Europe and the Middle East, but the imbalance in numbers does not bother her. “Yes, they have quantity,” she says. “But they are lousy fighters. They are unorganized. It is easy for us to kill them.”

via The Civil War Within Syria’s Civil War

 By Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa

Foreign Policy

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Kurds appear to me as the last hope for Middle East.

Maybe because they are maybe the most blatant failure of the Sykes-Picot Treaty’s geopolitical aberration, and they seem on the way to prove to the world that they are ready to have a land of their own.

Maybe because kurds have offered a safe land for all those minorities prosecuted and ethnically cleansed in Iraq, and may be the same for Syria, facing openly the islamist oppressors.

And maybe because their women have been fighting alongside with men for who they are since ages ago, with no need of making this an unnatural act of propaganda, and just that makes them deserve my respect and sympathy.

If you asked me about the creation of a Free Kurdistan connecting Deep Asia and the Mediterranean independently from Arab States and far from their religious and political mess ups… I say do it now in Syria, and in the future in Iraq, if things go as they seem to go.