Tuesday, October 31, 2017

More on Kurdish Cuisine and Sheep's Organs

Last night I had sheep's stomach stuffed with rice. The rice was seasoned with raisins and almonds. I also had sheep's feet in soup. It was good. But, it was not as good as the sheep's brain and tongue I ate a few days earlier.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sheep's Brain and Tongue is very Yummy

Last night I had the best meal I have ever eaten in Kurdistan. I ate boiled sheep's head including the brain and tongue. It came in a soup broth formed from cooking it all day. Like many Ghanaian dishes this beloved Kurdish dish is eaten with one's hand. It was a little bit pricey. But, it was definitely worth it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


The last couple of days have been quite calm here in Sulaimani. I have largely been preoccupied with teaching four classes with three preps. But, it hasn't been overwhelming. Next semester I'll go down to three classes with two preps and be finished before noon.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Half way through

The semester is now half way done. Today I had four classes and a never ending stream of students during my office hours. AUIS still remains a bubble inside a bubble here in Sulaimani.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Life in Sulaimani

Despite living in Kurdistan my ability to get any reliable information about the recent events here does not appear to be much greater than anybody else in the world with an Internet connection. I hear a lot of rumors and often those rumors are proven false within hours. The city of Sulaimani itself is quite calm and I haven't noticed any changes that effect my daily life.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

End of the Week

The work week ends on Thursdays here. So I don't have to work on Fridays. The trade off is I have to work Sundays. But, I am glad this week is finally coming to an end. The recent events in Kirkuk and other areas now occupied by the Iraqi military and Popular Mobilization Forces have put a lot of stress on many of my students and colleagues.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The middle of the week

Today I did not have classes. So I was a bit slow moving this morning and did not make the final bus to campus before noon at 9:00 am. Instead I took a taxi to work. Then I got breakfast. As always breakfast consisted of lentil soup and brown bread. It was made more interesting by conversation with a colleague from another department about the recent events here in Kurdistan. Afterward we both adjourned to get big paper cups of tea.

After breakfast I worked a little bit on a journal article due next month. Then I continued to reformat the references on another article. There is nothing more boring. I wish all publications would just go to Chicago style footnotes so I didn't have do so much grunt work to resubmit an article to a different journal after rejection. Finally, I got tired of retyping up references and went to lunch.

For lunch I had Kurdish rice and okra stew. I put ketchup on the rice to make it more edible. I ate with two senior students. They too had much to say about the recent events in Kirkuk.

After lunch I went and graded 46 quizzes for Civ 102.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Kirkuk fell in only 15 hours. This was not something that I had expected. But, I probably should have predicted it if I had been thinking along historical lines rather than hoping history would stop repeating itself. The reasons for the loss of Kirkuk are obvious to anybody that wants to look into the matter so I won't go into it here.

Monday, October 16, 2017

This Morning in Kurdistan

This morning I was really tired when I woke up. The fatigue was probably due to giving three tests yesterday and being on feet the whole day. So I went back to sleep for a couple of hours and caught the noon bus into work. I was supposed to have a meeting this afternoon but it got cancelled.

The big news in Kurdistan today is that this morning Iraqi forces attacked Kirkuk. It is very unlikely that this conflict will have any effect on my day to day life in the near future. But, yesterday in preparation the Iranians closed the border with Kurdistan at the request of Baghdad. That could have a rather negative effect on food prices in the not too distant future. In the mean time I hope that there is a ceasefire in Kirkuk very soon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

New Publication

My article, "Kurds in the USSR, 1917-1956" will be appearing in vol 5, no. 2 (October 2017) of Kurdish Studies. Below I have reproduced the abstract of the article.


Soviet policy towards its Kurds fluctuated and remained fragmented, ambivalent, and inconsistent throughout the existence of the USSR. On one hand the Soviet government provided for the material and cultural development of Kurds in Armenia and Azerbaijan during the 1920s and 1930s. On the other hand in 1937 it deported a number of Kurds from Azerbaijan and in 1944 an even larger number from Georgia to Kazakhstan and Central Asia as special settlers. The Soviet government freed Kurdish special settlers from the legal restrictions limiting their movement and other rights only in April 1956. Former Kurdish special settlers, however, could not return to the Caucasus. The Kurds remained a diaspora group in the USSR without any national territory and only limited cultural institutions. Only in the late 1980s did this situation change.  

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Recent Events In Kurdistan

The recent news in Kurdistan is that flights in and out of Erbil and Suli to destinations outside of Iraq now have to be routed through Baghdad. Getting out is fine since the government of Iraq has waived the visa requirement for foreigners in Kurdistan leaving through Baghdad. Getting back in, however, is now going to require an Iraqi visa if one wishes to fly rather than go overland from Turkey.

The other big news here is that Jalal Talabani, the most important founder and leader of the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) political party as well as the first Kurd to have been president of Iraq has died.  Suli was always the center of support for the PUK and Talabani within Kurdistan. There were a lot of students dressed in black with pictures of Talabani pinned to their shirts in mourning on campus yesterday.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Another day in Kurdistan

Today was a bit hectic because I had to finish grading and recording some quizzes, write a test, and finally give two tests. The result is that I missed breakfast and did not consume any solid food until lunch which consisted of rice, beans, kofte, and eggplant and tomato salad. This week I have a lot of non-academic stuff that needs to get done. But, I am hoping that next week I can make some more progress on writing. Things in Sulaimani haven't changed much since the referendum despite a lot of panic in the US media about the situation in Kurdistan.