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Rudaw

Opinion

Welcome to the “Age of Rudeness!”

By KANI XULAM 8/12/2013
opinion
opinion

“When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.”

--William Shakespeare, King Lear

That quotation from the Great Bard came to mind while watching a historic meeting in my Kurdish hometown of Amed between Sivan Perwer, king of Kurdish pop music, and Mesut Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Hosting this live television event last month was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who astonishingly managed to utter the forbidden word “Kurdistan”—not once, but twice, without suffering apoplectic hysteria the way he does while raining death and destruction upon the Kurds by his ruthless military attacks.

Wait, please, on the mesmerizing applause.

Before swooning unduly over his verbalizing the taboo word, consider this observation by Sigmund Freud, father of modern psychoanalysis: “The first human who hurled an insult, instead of a stone, at his foe was the founder of civilization.”

Erdogan has hurled both—and done so abundantly. Some 35,000 Kurds and 5,000 Turks have died in the latest Turkish-Kurdish conflict. Millions of Kurds have been uprooted from their ancestral homes and billions of American dollars have been plundered from the Turkish treasury to bring us to this incredible “Age of Rudeness.”

The prime minister was well-armed with bristling insults and arrogance in Amed, hurling them maliciously and mercilessly. His sycophants unfurled large banners proclaiming him a conquering Caesar.  His swarming police force of 8,000 suppressed any Kurdish protest to his self-proclaimed crown.

 On his watch, Turkey has imprisoned more journalists than any other country in the world—while despicable “Honor Killing” runs rampant under his rule. 

 

One sign read, “The grandchildren of Saladin are greeting the conqueror of the century. Heart to heart, shoulder to shoulder, we are moving forward [as one].”

Is calling us “Kurds” merely a softening-up prelude to becoming our “conqueror”? If he wants to conquer something, let him try his hand at cancer!  Make a meaningful conquest.

Another toadying sign for Erdogan was:  “These lands have seen many kings, many shahs and many presidents. But you are the exception!”

What exception?

On his watch, Turkey has imprisoned more journalists than any other country in the world—while despicable “Honor Killing” runs rampant under his rule. Turkey needs to majestically elevate the bright honor of liberty, not barbarously descend into the darkest dishonor of hideous murder—where the most frightening ignoramuses execute the most defenseless with relative impunity.

Journalists need to be free to proclaim that liberty, not be trampled under the boot of Erdogan’s tyrannical power.

One sign didn’t easily translate into English, but its groveling image did:  “Not a word, not a sentence, can explain you.  We love a man and that man is you, master!”

Master?  Erdogan is to lord over us as our master?  He couldn’t have said it better himself—and probably did (deviously dictated the sign.)

Mastery is nothing new.  Turkey has for centuries forged the words “master” and ”cruel” into one shameful chain of hate and brutality. But so long as there are masters in this world, there will also be Rebels! 

We Kurds glory in the word “Rebel.”  The names of our greatest dead are Rebels. We name our most sacred streets and institutions after our Rebels. 

That word frightens no self-respecting soul, and it strikes terror least of all in a freedom-loving Kurd!  We will rebel against tyranny long after Erdogan’s “master” bones have soured into inevitable dust.

There was also a Kurdish sign, “Today is the day of unity; today is the day of brotherhood.  We have all become one.  We have all come to you, our master.”

Not all! Not this Kurd! 

Mr. Erdogan, you will never be “master” in Amed—even with coerced Kurdish signs, buttressed by 8,000 bullying Turkish police clubs.  Your “unity” is forced.  And when you force unity, it isn’t unity.

  We Kurds glory in the word “Rebel.”  The names of our greatest dead are Rebels. We name our most sacred streets and institutions after our Rebels.  

 

And as to your “brotherhood,” five million Kurds in Iraq have 20 universities to their name; 20 million Kurds in Turkey have none. So your “brotherhood” illusion vanishes.

To make sure that Kurds understood their loud and obnoxious signs, Erdogan’s bootlickers added this menacing, kick-in-the-teeth threat:  “We started this journey by putting on our shirt of martyrdom.”

Really? That’s it?

India and China are advancing in futuristic space suits—while you march backwards to embrace Middle-Age relics of “martyrdom suits!” 

You’re on a fool’s errand, Mr. Erdogan. Your path to glory lies in Kurdish liberation, not subjugation. Unless Turks stop conquering others, they will be foolishly floundering in the mud of this earth—as their neighbors gloriously reach for the stars.

Two men looked out of prison bars,

One saw mud, the other saw stars!

No sign mentioned the Kurdish pop singer, but the Kurdish president had one: “We welcome the prophet of peace: President Barzani.”

Calling Mr. Barzani the prophet of peace is quite disingenuous. What has he done for peace?  He fought Saddam Hussein, with occasional breaks and kisses, to the gates of hell.  He even engaged in a brakuji with Jalal Talabani.  This is a “peacemaker” in Turkish eyes? 

True, he has denounced violence as a tool of statecraft, especially against the Kurds.  But is that enough?  If he wants to earn the title of peacemaker, let him open a Mahatma Gandhi Center for Peace in a Saddam-era prison in Suli and offer 400 annual scholarships to Arab, Kurdish, Persian and Turkish students to earn their PhDs.

As Prime Minister Erdogan stood amid the rude, abusive signs, he professed to speak to the people of Amed from his “heart,” but weakened that sop by also saluting Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Damascus and Istanbul—and all 81 Turkish provinces.  Such watered-down “heart” dilutes the little end of nothing into a tiny speck.

He then referred to June 21, 1932, when Kurdish patriots—including the father of President Barzani—fleeing the ruinous ravages of war, had sought refuge in “our country.”

He didn’t say it, but those savage attacks were inflicted by Great Britain—punishing Kurds for not submitting to British tyranny.  But Turkey “opened” its loving arms and offered protection, Erdogan said.

He continued: the folks who came to “our country” were afraid of being hanged.  Turkey was pressured to deny them sanctuary.  But our hospitable people cared for them like brothers.

This qualifies as a near-perfect fantasy.

  No sign mentioned the Kurdish pop singer, but the Kurdish president had one: “We welcome the prophet of peace: President Barzani.” 

 

The Brits did bomb Kurdish villages, but five months later gave Iraq its freedom. The Turks were hardly hospitable to fleeing Kurds.  The Turkish minister of justice revealed the naked truth:  “Those who are not of pure Turkish stock can have only one right in this country, the right to be servants and slaves.”   
  

Some “rights.”  Some “brotherly love.”

Thus, lies were piled atop lies by Erdogan, falsely portraying the Brits as cruelest of the cruel, and the Turks as “friends” of Kurds.

These lies are blatant rudeness.

He also lied in his reference to Qazi Mohammed, the Kurdish leader who was president of the ill-fated Republic of Kurdistan—proclaimed in 1946 and crushed mercilessly by Persians a year later.  He and Mullah Mustafa Barzani fought for freedom.  But the Turkish prime minister is on a mission to “Islamize” them and the Kurds as well.

My favorite part of Erdogan’s speech was: “We are together not till the market place, but till the grave, till the day of judgment.” 

It reminded me of the words of the banner fluttering in the air not very far from where he was:  “These lands have seen many kings, many shahs and many presidents. …”

True. Many despots have wanted to rule us till the judgment day. 

They all failed. You will too, Mr. Erdogan.

You can force us to sit on your stage with fools, but we are not fools. 

We are patriots, burning with an unquenchable desire for freedom!

Comments

 
Raven | 8/12/2013
Erdogan has taken bigotry and hypocrisy to a new hight. Why doesn't he stop the constant flow of jihadists from Turkey to Syria? who is he trying to fool when he talks of brotherhood? Turkey is the number one state sponsoring terrorism by being a safe haven for Al-Qaeda. And shamelessly, the Western world is silent about it.
Rojcan | 8/12/2013
I really appreciate everything said in this article, it was great. There's nothing to add, well done thank you.
Raven | 9/12/2013
The only problem with Kani's writing is that he doesn't write more often! Thank you Kani! I've always enjoyed your writing. Keep up the great work!!!
SiktirLanYavsak | 9/12/2013
english lobby at its best... Is your father Lawrence?
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