Together with the zeitgeist and the attacks on Kurdistan, which lie at the centre of the Third World War, on multiple fronts, the debates on “national unity” of the Kurds contitute one of the critical items in the contemporary political agenda.
The Kurds, still having no status in the 21st century, is neither an issue of success for the occupying powers nor one of weakness of the Kurdish people. The distant past and recent history is full of incidents which prevented the Kurds from achieving a free country of their own. Therefore, the history of the Kurds is an examplar of what can be done to a country and to a people for the sake of colonialist interests.
A few reminders
In such a historical context, it is useful to note few reminders on why the Kurds have not been able to achieve a national union of forces. This tragic situation has historical roots in our past.
For instance, the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan also talks about two main veins that shaped the history of the Kurds, dating back to 3000 BC. According to Öcalan, the conflict between the Kurds goes back to the Sumerian civilisation, which also faced conflict with the Kurds who insisted on freedom. The Kurds insisted on cooperation with the Sumerians.
Öcalan defines Enkidu in Gilgamesh as the father of the Kurds who insisted on cooperation with the strong whilst defining Humbaba as the representative of the resistance line. He concludes that these two opposing lines of Enkidu and Humbaba have continued to exist in Kurdish society to the present. (…)
Those societies known as the ‘proto-Kurds’ have put up a resistance against slavery and colonialism, including Assyrians and, furthermore, they have turned Med Confederation into an emperorship. However, due to a betrayal that came from within, they lost their position to the Persians in 550 BC.
In the second civilisation period which lasted for two-thousand years and in the period following this, these two conflicting characteristics among the Kurds have become an obstacle against the national unity of the Kurds. (…) The elite aristocrats have always shown a great ability to adapt to the occupiers and colonialist powers. This colloborative line has always acted together with the sovereign, constituting an obstacle against creating central Kurdish unity.
The organisations today, such as the KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party], can be evaluated within the context of these conflicting characters and their stances among the Kurds.
These historical truths explain why a movement with national characteristics has not able to establish itself during the period of capitalist modernity. Actually, in this hegemonic era, Kurds have beeen subjected to genocide.
When nation-states were created in the early-20th century, Kurdistan was divided among Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran and at the end of the First World War, Kurds were slaughtered despite the fact they they put up great resistance, because they lacked national unity and political leadership.
In this regard, it is not wrong to conclude that a second aspect explaining why the Kurds could not achieve national unity lies in the nature of interventions by the hegemonic powers in the Middle East during these fateful historical periods and to their use of divide-and-rule policies.
As a result, Kurdistan, which was divided into four parts 100 years ago by the imperialist powers and the peoples presently living in Kurdistan once more are being made vulnerable to genocide, in line with the same imperialist interests.
However, this time, something is significantly different: Leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] and the Freedom Movement have become an essential power to ensure a national awakening in Kurdistan and to form a national unity, as a result of intensive efforts.
Firstly, the superficial borders of states dividing Kurdistan have been shattered in practice and in the peoples’ minds. This achievement has played a significant role in creating a national spirit among the Kurdish people.
Although the colonialists sharpened religious differences among the Kurds as part of their divide-and-rule policies, an ideological struggle has been waged. As a result, a spirit of national unity among the Sunni-Shia-Alevite-Yazidi Kurds has been built.
In this regard, the Kurds do not really have a national unity problem. Despite the borders and wire fences that have been built to divide them, the Kurds have shown that they are one, historically and culturally in Mahabad, in Diyarbakır (Amed), in Kobani (Kobanê) and in Erbil (Hewlêr).
Unfortunately, today, unity among the Kurds on social grounds is very weak as the political parties and movements in parts of Kurdistan have not been able to achive a national unity.
In this context, it is very crucial that the KDP needs to give up with its historical betrayal attitude.
One should not forget that national unity does not mean that all political organisations meet under the umbrella of one political party. When we say national unity, we talk about a people who achieve their political unity as one-single-collective actor, based on their language, culture and country.
Kurdistan is a land of diverse cultures, faiths, languages and dialects. Kurdistan is a land of tolerance. Therefore, there is appropriate ground in Kurdistan for national unity.
Forming Kurdish national unity, including all political and military forces of the Kurds, is of historical importance for the Kurdish people who have been resisting and who have sacrificed a great many lives in order to not lose unity once again.