Cultural organizaton fights to preserve heritage of Lurs
By Sartip Othman
SULAMANI, Kurdistan Region — A cultural organization, with the mission to preserve the under-threat heritage of the Lurs people, has marked its 9th anniversary in the Kurdish city of Sulaimani, the designated city of culture by the Kurdish authorities.
The organization is more known to the public as a musical group that holds concerts with a focus on the traditional music of the Lurs in Kurdistan and abroad.
There are unresolved disputes between scholars as to whether the Lurs are ethnically Kurdish, with Lurs divided between Persians and Kurds. In Kurdistan, however, there is little doubt — if any — about the authenticity of their Kurdish origins.
The centuries-old writer Baba Tahir, also called Baba Tahir Hamadani who is known for his Sufi poems, is believed to be a Lur; therefore, according to some Kurdish scholars, he may have used an old accent, related to a Kurdish language. What he wrote was very similar to the language used by the Kurdish Yarsans, a religious minority present in both the Kurdish areas of Iran and Iraq.
According to the Kurdish Academy of Language, “Baba Tahir himself has now ascended to a high station in the indigenous Kurdish religion of Yarsanism as one of the avatars of the Universal Spirit.”
Lurs, believed to number around 5 million, are mainly living in western Iran, and eastern and central Iraq, where they are often called the Feyli Kurds by others.
Feyli Kurds suffered decades-long persecutions at the hands of the former Iraqi regime, with many of them massacred or forced to leave the country.