VOA responds to question about the Kurdish flag


VOA says that the Kurdish flag 'is not allowed to be displayed in any of the other countries where large Kurdish populations live.' Tell me VOA, what flag is flying here outside the parliament building in Hewlêr (Erbil)?


You may have read the posting from 01 October regarding the flags on the Voice of America (VOA) Middle East news webpage.  I phoned VOA to ask about why there was no Kurdish flag on that page.  I also sent an e-mail to VOA’s Public Relations office.  I don’t know how many people actually wrote to them about the flag issue on their webpage, but thank you if you did!

Yesterday I received an e-mail response from them.  I want to thank VOA for responding.  I appreciate the time taken to look into my question and craft a response.  That said, I can’t say that I’m in agreement with the answer they provided.

Here is what VOA wrote:

Thank you for writing to VOA with your concerns.  We appreciate your point of view.  We are sorry you are disappointed in VOA’s website, but after checking with the editors of the web page in question, we were told that the flag you refer to is not recognized internationally and is not allowed to be displayed in any of the other countries where large Kurdish populations live; consequently VOA does not accord it the same status as internationally recognized national flags.

VOA Public Relations

‘[T]he flag you refer to’, meaning the Kurdish flag, they say in their missive, ‘is not allowed to be displayed in any of the other countries where large Kurdish populations live.’  It is true that it is banned in Turkey, Syria, and Iran and flying it is a criminal offence.  But I think one needs to look beyond the ban and ask why.  Should one just take these bans at face value?  In these parts of the world simply being Kurdish is criminalised in one way or another.  If something is banned—a flag, a language, music, culture, political expression, media, dance, certain letters of the alphabet, thought, mother-tongue education—will you say ‘Oh, okay’ and accept it?  Or will you question it and ask, ‘Hey, is this morally justified?  Should an entire nation be denied their basic rights?’  By not asking these questions, by keeping silent, you are complicit in the crimes of these oppressive regimes and their stance on the Kurds.

VOA said ‘in any [emphasis mine] of the other countries where large Kurdish populations live.’  Any?  And what’s their definition of large?  Is 5,000,000 a large number?  Because there are almost 5 million Kurds in South Kurdistan (Note to VOA: I’m referring to the three provinces that make up the Kurdistan Region in Northern Iraq).

In this area, where the Kurdish population is large by my definition, the Kurdish flag is displayed.  It is ubiquitous.  It is official.  So I would ask the VOA Public Relations office to please go back to their editors, and if nothing else, at least inform them of this mistake in their report about the flag of Kurdistan.

I understand that VOA is an official agency of the US government and therefore has to follow whatever the US policy is in the region.   But I still don’t understand the need to have that image of maps and flags on the Middle East news page.  No other world region on the VOA website has that.  It is curious.


6 thoughts on “VOA responds to question about the Kurdish flag

  1. I don’t think they want to cause a diplomatic crisis with Turkey, Syria and Iran because of flags in their website; this is probably the main reason behind the absence of the Kurdish flag. You can’t really put the blame on VOA, but the countries which have been and still are suppressing Kurdish language and culture inside and outside their boundaries.

    That being said, IMHO they should simply have abandoned the idea of using flags to represent languages if it wasn’t going to be coherent.

  2. Hi Reyhan,
    Not blaming VOA for anything except poor judgement in putting that graphic up in the first place. Yes, Ankara for sure would have an epileptic fit if the Kurdish flag were to appear on VOA’s site!

  3. So they are just cowards, thats it. And i really didnt know – its NOT ALLOWED. Maybe they dont recognize kurdish flag as the flag of KURDISTAN and KURDISH NATION, but look at this website:
    There is kurdish flag there and there is KURDISTAN mentioned as one of the countries on the list (not Iraq – KURDISTAN). and as much as i know if for example american politicians going to meet with kak Barzani – where they going? To KURDISTAN. And what flag is there during the meeting? Their american flag and KURDISH flag. No more evidence needed.
    BTW – i saw the pics from last Newroz in Amed (Dyarbakir) – haundreds of kurdish flags waving!!!! :))))

  4. Its all turkey…they are the worst racist people against all and anything Kurdish in the world…sad but true…and also its true they have a big influence in the US policy..unfortunately for Kurds

  5. Free Kurdistan: Through their powerful lobbying, Turkish influence in Washington is unbelievably pervasive. They buy the influence, retaining DC politicians. Last year former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was bought (ah, hired) by the Turkish government to lobby on their behalf to the tune of $35,000 PER MONTH!!

  6. slaw hawre yani dengi amrika am katetan bash mn daniel le london peiwendi degrm dest xoshitan le dekem bo berdewamitan . demewe awe bprsm chon detwanm ber hemekani gorani bezi kurd bekr legdem be dest bkewe yan le ser tori internet chon detwanm gwe lew goraniane bgrm ??????? rastie key zor hewlm dawe destm nekewtwe plz welamm bdenewe be email zor sopas emaili mn danielnishtiman@hotmail.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s