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.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Thursday, September 08, 2016
Monday, September 05, 2016
Sunday, September 04, 2016
Saturday, September 03, 2016
"Is there a Black Eurasia?: Ghanaian and other Diasporic African Populations in the USSR in Comparative Perspective" up on academia.edu a little while ago. But, did not have time to announce it here on the blog until now. It is from the book Replenishing History. The cover is pictured over on the right. It was one of a couple of pieces that I wrote while in Ghana that attempted to incorporate African themes in a comparative manner. Now that I am in Kurdistan I am going to try and write some pieces that deal with Kurds. The material in English on Kurds in the USSR seems to be greatly underdeveloped.
Friday, September 02, 2016
In addition to teaching CIV 101 this semester I have one more advanced class on the History of the Middle East. Since I am in Kurdistan I have some stuff on Kurds on the syllabus including a week on Kurds in the USSR which is the segment of the population I know the most about. I am not sure if it will get approved, but I figured I would at least try.
I live quite close to a modern mall with a big grocery store in the basement and a food court on the second floor. The mall has the simple name of City Center. It unfortunately has no book store. At orientation we were told that Kurdistan was a predominantly oral culture and that reading books is not an activity many people here do for fun. That means finding books in Kurdish or Arabic is difficult, not to mention English. The only books I have seen here so far have been at the university. I was also under the initial impression that everybody here could read. But, I have been told that many people, especially older people in rural areas are in fact illiterate. This is very different from former Soviet states like Kyrgyzstan where Moscow made sure that everybody could read in both their native language and Russian.