Friday, September 30, 2016
Iraqi Kurdistan is in a strange transition stage between internal colonialism and post-colonialism. Arguably other areas of Kurdistan are still internal colonies. Like Central Asia, however, there are two separate eras of coloniality. The first is the Ottoman Empire and the second is Iraq before the formation of the KRG, but particularly under Saddam Hussein. The Ottoman historical legacy isn't discussed publicly much here as far as I can see. However, it seems crucial to me for understanding the current situation. The Ottoman legacy is undoubtedly much more important than that of the ancient Medes regarding the recent political history of Kurdistan even if all the public discourse focuses on the latter to the exclusion of the former. The submerged influence of Ottoman rule is of course overlaid with a much more public confrontation of the history of the Kurds under the Baath Party. Here the negative and long lasting impact on Kurdish society seems comparable to a number of post-colonial and post-socialist societies in Africa and Eurasia.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Pan-Arabism and Pan-Africanism are pretty much dead ideologies at this point. But, Pan-Kurdism seems to still have a fair amount of support at least in Iraqi Kurdistan. Tunisia and Lebanon are never going to be part of the same state. Neither are Ghana and Mozambique. But, it is conceivable that sometime in the future that the Kurdish parts of Iraq and Syria could be joined in some sort of political union.
Friday, September 23, 2016
One very evident problem of Kurdistan's division across multiple states and its historic failure to develop its own state is that there is not a single generally agreed upon historical narrative of the Kurdish people actually controlled by the Kurdish people. It is also one of the primary reasons for this continued division and lack of independent statehood. Solving this problem is far more important than training more oil engineers.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Yesterday, I had another epiphany. It was in response to a statement by a friend of mine that every American here has something odd about him and that is why he is here. My epiphany is that my teaching means a lot more in places like Kurdistan, Ghana, and Kyrgyzstan than it would at someplace in the US. God in his infinite wisdom has thus sent me to these places. He wasn't punishing me. He was rewarding me.