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Iran shuts down Kurdish culture festival, arresting 5

By Rudaw 7/7/2018
Xendewan, the group behind the banned Kurdish cultural summit. Photo: Xendewan / Instagram
Xendewan, the group behind the banned Kurdish cultural summit. Photo: Xendewan / Instagram

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iranian intelligence service agents shut down a cultural summit launched by an Iranian Kurdish group in Ilam, arrested five organizers on Thursday.

“We were supposed to have a cultural summit with the participation of Kurdish cultural activists across Iranian Kurdistan, yet they cancelled it. They are afraid of more connection between the speakers of various Kurdish dialectics,” Zhakan Baran, a poet and one of the organizers, told Rudaw.

Iranian Kurds living in Mokrian and several cities around Mahabd speak the Sorani dialect of Kurdish, while Kurds around Urmia speak mainly Kurmanji, and those in Kermanshah and Ilam speak a mixture of Sorani, Klahori, and Laki.  

Organized by Xendewan, which translates as Readers, the cultural summit was supposed to be held on Friday with the participation of 450 Kurdish poets, writers, musicians, and language experts. A day discussion between Kurdish cultural activists of Urmia, Sanandaj, Kermashan, Ilam, Lorestan, Hamadan, and Khorasan was planned. 

They had planned to launch a national organization for Kurdish culture.

The summit had been granted legal permission from the government, yet on Tuesday the Iranian intelligence services cancelled it.

On Thursday, the intelligence services arrested five of the summit’s organizers – Mustafa Baqri Ashna, from Kangavar city of Kermanshah province, Ardashir Mosavi, Bijan Hemati, Shahriar Tahmasbi, from Kermanshah city, and Mehdi Azad Baxt, from Lorestan.

“It was unfortunate that they cancelled a legal summit of Kurdish culture, yet we will continue to be active,” Zhakan added.

The cities around Mahabad in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran have long been the center of Kurdish cultural activities. More recently, this mantle has moved to the Kurdish provinces of Ilam and Kermanshah as several NGOs and magazines have established themselves in these provinces.   


linguist | 8/7/2018
languages, not dialects.
hansipansi | 8/7/2018
Iranian regime must go. Kurds can have no functional relationship with bunch of Mullah who will do nothing but oppress its Kurdish minority.
Cop | 8/7/2018
Kurds should take into consideration that if the Kurds are fighting for their own language namely kurdish the Kurds themselves act in the interests of their enemies and that the fight against kurdish language is not more than charade, since nobody on this earth speak kurdish even most Kurds themselves like those from turkey. So better English as some sort of unity language for Kurds than kurdish this should be more important since it would also encourage the Kurds to talk to the world and ask them what the fuck is going on in their minds.
jack wold | 12/8/2018
Cop, You are a little confused man. Kurdish is a language even if it is in several forms. That is not the main problem.
Cop | yesterday at 09:37
I am a Kurd and my parents were totally freaked out when I asked them what language they spoke, because they were afraid of the Turkish terrorists. Now where I don’t speak kurdish at all I just wonder what’s the main advantage of speaking kurdish? I don’t miss it nor do I understand why the Kurds don’t put English on the top of their list since it’s the most reliable and logical language I know, by talking kurdish it’s like children using a secret language because nobody knows it.and the enemies while pretending not knowing English at all they are in fact quite eager to learn and use to use it.
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