Kurd on Kurd, Us vs. Them
The world is becoming more divided then it has ever been. Much can be attributed to the modern age shrinking the world. News media and internet access allows for more information as well as misinformation flow. Misinformation and disinformation drive the world today. It is normal human instinct to divide into groups. These groups then distance themselves from the other groups. Our group becomes “us” their group becomes “them.” Sooner or later one group becomes jealous of the other and demands what the other has. This leads to war. War in ancient times would lead to the subjugation or annihilation of one group by the other. As man became more accustomed to dealing with “them” different resolutions came to pass. Paying taxes or tribute was enough to allow “us” to leave “them” alone to continue to grow. More recently we have returned to the violence of us vs. them. When one group is of the opinion that they are more than right, but anointed. The most obvious case is ISIS. It is their determination that they are the sole interpreters of Islam. Anyone or any group that thinks otherwise is to be killed. This is justified by the fact that the violent act is done in the name of virtue. It is in fact altruistic. In his book “Not in God’s Name” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks indeed calls it altruistic evil.
Examples of the us and them problems are evident across the world, not to the extent of the ISIS implementation, but bad. Brexit is an example. The people of the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union based on an “us vs. them” viewpoint. While it started out as an economic union, the European Common Market, it became a political union in 1993. By the early 2000’s there were already rumblings of discontent due to the rules and regulations coming out of Brussels. The influx of refugees from Syria and North Africa exacerbated the problem because of the EU’s open borders. This at least was the excuse given as the union began to have growing pains. The fact is that it became “Us vs. Them.” Europe is a continent not a country. It is filled with different languages and cultures. While everything was going along fine there was no problem. Then came the Euro crisis with Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland. This opened up the first cracks and this has brought us to today. There are other examples today of “Us vs. Them.” In the United States we have the Black lives Matter movement pitting black America against the police. An in Iraq we have the problem of Kurds vs. Kurds.
The “Us Kurds vs. the Them Kurds” is not new, we only have to go back the 1990’s to revisit the Kurdish Civil war. KDP vs. PUK. In this time regional powers played the Kurds against themselves. Saddam playing the KDP off of the PUK which had Iran’s backing and Turkey pulling strings to keep the thing alive. Today much of the old animosity remains. While the Kurdish people are at the best time in history to declare independence and have a country, they are forming up against themselves. The old social “Us vs. Them” is coming to once more deny the Kurds a homeland. While there is no doubt that much of the feelings are genuine it also must be considered who has the most to gain from this.
In many cases there are legitimate concerns. While it is easy to argue the limits of a Presidential term it is harder to argue rule of law. There is no constitution for Kurdistan, it’s still in draft. With no law there is really no limit. There is an agreement but all sides seem to maneuverer around that whenever they want. The Kurds are then facing the dilemma of who is right and who is wrong. But when it is “Us vs. Them” the answer is always easy, we are right and they are wrong. When one side or the other entrenches themselves in righteousness it becomes impossible to extricate yourself from a position, it also becomes easier to be manipulated.
The current crisis between KDP vs. PUK/Goran will not lead to a position that either side actually wants. The outcome should be become a unified country, a single entity, then start from scratch to build a nation. This is difficult, it requires that the past be relegated to the past. Masoud Barzani was never the President of an independent Kurdistan, so the past is forgotten. The KDP, PUK, Goran and the rest were never a sitting body for an independent Kurdistan, so a new government is formed. The other options are to do nothing and maintain the status quo, or move on to violence which is the typical end of an entranced “us vs them” problem. A full out split of us and them into a SW Kurdistan and SE Kurdistan. Ultimately these last options will result in a stronger neighbor absorbing the geographic region and the Kurds just go on fighting each other.
Until the Kurdish people can become one and together “Us,” and relegate Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran to the status of “Them” there will not be a chance to become Kurdistan. Until Kurdistan the rest of the arguments amongst the Kurds are meaningless.