Kurdish TV Survey

kurdishtv_banner A interesting research project to learn more about TV habits of Kurdish speakers in Turkey. Who watches which channels? See link below for survey.

Eger hûn li Tirkîyeyê dijîn û di televizyonê de li bernameyên Kurdî temaşe dikin, ji kereme xwe vê lêpirsînê bersiv bidin. Gelek spas.

Eğer Türkiye’de yaşıyor ve Kürtçe televizyon programlarını izliyorsanız, lütfen birkaç dakikanızı ayırıp bu anketi tamamlar mısınız? Teşekkürler.

If you live in Turkey and watch Kurdish-language television programming, please take a few minutes to complete this survey. Thank you.

https://tr.surveymonkey.com/s/televizyona_kurdi

Kurdish Studies journal

logoKurdishStudiesJournalKurdish Studies journal is a new interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing high quality research and scholarship in the field of Kurdish Studies. The Kurdish Studies journal aims to contribute to and revitalize research, scholarship, and debates in this field in a multidisciplinary fashion. The journal embraces a wide range of topics including history, society, politics, language, culture, the arts, and education. The Kurdish Studies journal is an initiative of Kurdish Studies Network members and supported by a large group of academics from different disciplines. Kurdish Studies journal aligns itself with the KSN’s mission to revitalize and reorient the research, scholarship and debates in this field, Kurdish studies, in a multidisciplinary fashion covering a wide range of topics including but not limited to economics, history, society, gender, minorities, politics, health, law, environment, language, media, culture, arts, and education.

The inaugural issue is to be released in October 2013.

Kurdish Studies journal aims to offer a universally accessible venue where sound scholarship and research as well as reviews and debates are disseminated, the journal establishes a forum for serious discussion and exchange within the Kurdish Studies community. Kurdish Studies journal aim to disseminate fresh original research and provide a genuine forum for thinking and scholarship in Kurdish studies. The journal aims to maintain a fair balance between theoretical analyses and empirical studies. Critical and novel approaches and methods are particularly welcome. Kurdish Studies journal do publish readily accessible scholarly articles and aim to reach out to a broad audience of specialists and non-specialists, students, professionals, policy makers, and enthusiasts alike.

For more information on Kurdish Studies journal and the Call for Papers for the inaugural issue, visit kurdishstudies.net.

Kurds in Syria and the Old Concept of “Good Kurds” and “Bad Kurds”

republished here with the permission of the author

Kurds in Syria and the Old Concept of “Good Kurds” and “Bad Kurds”
Dr Janroj Keles

My Critique of the Henry Jackson Society’s Report on “Unity or PYD Power Play?: Syrian Kurdish Dynamics After the Erbil Agreement

Compared to the Kurds in Kurdistan regions of Turkey and Iraq, the Kurds in Syria have been invisible in political and public spheres in the Middle East for decades. They have been described as “forgotten people” or “the silenced Kurds” in a few academic works and articles. Indeed they are the largest ethnic group after the Arabs in Syria and are the potential catalyst for a possible pluralistic and democratic process in Syria.

They have suffered for decades under the policies of the Arab imagined political community and their ethnic identity and existence have been denied by “Syrian Arab Republic”. They have been subjected to ethnic discrimination, political prosecution, displaced as part of Syrian government’s Arabization policies. After stripping of Syrian citizenship from 20 percent of Syria’s Kurdish population in 1960 [sic], many Kurds were classified as the Ajanib (foreigners) and maktoumeen (meaning “hidden” or ” muted”) and become refugees in their own country for decades before and during the Bath regime. However since the Kurdish Serhildan (Uprising) in 2004 in Kurdish populated Qamishli and so called “Syrian Revolution” in 2011, the “forgotten people” have been receiving increasing attention from the international communities and also considerable attention from journalists, political analysts and the Middle East “experts” who have been publishing some interesting reports and articles on the Kurds in Syria. But some of these reports and articles are problematical because they look the Kurds in Syria from the perspectives of dominant nationalistic discourses in the region e.g. Turkish and Arab nationalism and/or from the perspective of the “common sense” of global powers. In this sense a recently published report[1] entitled “Unity or PYD Power Play?: Syrian Kurdish Dynamics After the Erbil Agreement” needs to be read critically because it is biased, one-sided and political and makes unsubstantial claims about the Kurds in Syria and about Kurdish political organisations in the region. Moreover it attempts to justify and legitimize the hostile intention of Turkish policies toward Kurds in Turkey and Syria in criminalizing and delegitimizing Kurdish political parties. The authors use an old concept of “good Kurds” and “bad Kurds” without any analytic skill and academic credibility and knowledge of multi-connected, multi-referential relationships among Kurdish organisations, parties and networks and between Kurdish and Syrian groups, parties and people.

First of all I would emphasize that I agree with some issues highlighted in conclusion in particular issues related to the KNC and PYD that they should find a rational ways to respect their political differences and share power for a pluralistic and democratic process in the Kurdish populated region. I also firmly agree with the authors that both KNC and PYD should be integrated into the political establishment in the region. However I think the report is also problematic in various respects. Firstly the report divides the Kurdish political groups sharply into “good Kurds” and “bad Kurds”. This old concept has been used by the regional countries and also by USA in accordance to their “national interests” and at the expense of subordinated Kurds. This report repeats the same, old and trivial concept. The “bad Kurds” who are “the militant”(p6),” terrorist” (p11), “radicals in the PKK linked Democratic Union Party (PYD)” (p5), “the Turkish PKK” (p17) and the “good Kurds” who are “moderate Kurds”. It is unclear what the characteristic of “moderate Kurds” (p6) are and how they are qualified as being “good Kurds” and who decides on which criteria that certain groups are “moderate” and others “radical” and therefore need to be isolated (p24). There is a discourse throughout this report based on creating a “folk devil”, a political group who is labeled as a threat. It does not matter for me whether this otherized group is PYD or any other political group. My concern is that a particular group which has considerable popular support in Kurdistan region in Syria is labeled and its legitimacy questioned because it has ideological and political links with the PKK.

Secondly I also criticize the report for ignoring multi-connected, multi-referential relationships among Kurdish organizations, parties and networks and between Kurdish and Syrian groups, parties and people as well as between Kurdish leaders, parties and Turkish government. These multi-connected, multi-referential relationships influence the political position of differently positioned groups, parties and even governments. Let me clarify this with an example. On his way back from a visit to Germany, the Turkish Prime minster Mr Erdogan responded to a question about the “threat” of PYD in Syria and to Turkey as follows: ‘…Barzani… even tried to explain that PYD is not like PKK’ (Barzani … hatta PYD’nin PKK olmadığını anlatmaya çalıştı bize (Hurriyet, 02 November 2012). This statement shows clearly that President of Kurdistan Regional Government, Mr. Barzani mediates between PYD and Turkey in an indirect way and attempts to include PYD into the political field in the region. So the division between “bad Kurds “ and “good Kurds” are not as clearly delineated, because of their multiple connection, attachment, loyalties etc. Therefore I find the language used in this report is based on the deictic juxtaposition and distance rhetoric which attempt to show the “good Kurds” as “moderate” and “bad Kurds” as “threat”. I think that there are no such sharp boundaries in the region. The political positions of parties and groups in the Kurdish populated region and in Syria are constantly changeable due to local, regional and international conditions, search of security within an instable region and hunger for power.

My third reservation about this report is that the accusation of PYD working with Assad regime has been mentioned in this and other reports without any reliable evidence. Instead there is a reliance on suspicions as in the following sentence: “Nevertheless, the fact that the regime ceded such large swaths of territory to the PYD without a struggle raises suspicions that this was a tactical move designed to strengthen the PYD in order to enervate Turkey, which views any build-up of a PKK apparatus in northern Syria as a direct national security threat” (p11). The only supporting statement for this claim highlighted in the report is that “analysts and scholars have speculated as to whether or not the Assad regime withdrew independently from Kurdish areas, or whether it did so in direct collaboration with the PYD” (p11), however there is not any reference to those “analysts and scholars”. Some Kurdish groups I talked to, see such claims made in Turkish and Arab sources as a “conspiracy theory” to delegitimize the political production and position of a certain powerful Kurdish political group within Syria and beyond, in particular on the international level. The report repeats the same “conspiracy theory” without providing any reliable evidence to its readers. The Christian and Druze communities in Syria have been blamed by the so called “Free Syrian Army” in a similar way for working with the regime. I have to emphasize that I do not have any evidence for or against the truth of this claim. I assume that only after the fall of the regime we will know this.

The authors provide space for such accusations made by Syrian-Arabs and highlight that there is a “frustration and anger at the Kurds for not sufficiently participating in our uprising” (p15). However there is no statement of some Kurdish groups who are for a “peaceful transition from dictatorial regime to a democratic and pluralistic system”. There are clearly two different positions. The first one (mainly Sunni-Arabs) believe that Assad regime can be changed by armed struggle, the other one (mainly held by minority groups including Kurds, Christians, Armenians, Assyrians and Druze) who distrust the Muslim brotherhood and nationalists and prefer to seek a peaceful rather than militant solution, they are scared both of the regime and also of the Islamist opposition.

The report goes further: “The KNC failed to reach an agreement with the SNC, as was demonstrated in the July Istanbul meeting, and the PYD refused to even attend”. However the Kurds I spoke to blame the SNC for blocking the Kurdish active participation in “revolution” because SNC insists to continue the policies of Baath regime in the way in which SNC has reject the Kurdish demands for constitutional recognition of Kurdish ethnic group and their political representation through autonomy or federalism, secularist, pluralistic and democratic Syria. The Kurds from Kurdistan region in Syria I have connection with, see SNC as “still an Arab nationalist organization with strong tendencies of Arab Islamists” which does not recognize the ethnic and religious plurality of the country’s population.

I am really disappointed to see that “intellectual and moral leadership” in the political reproduction of the hegemonic form of Turkish and/or Arab nationalism over subordinated Kurdish people are legitimized through Henry Jackson Society.

25.10.2012, London

Press brief: Kurdish hunger strike

Please urge all concerned to contact all appropriate media outlets and use all their contacts to spread the below brief in order to draw international and local media attention to the ongoing human tragedy with the prisoners on hunger strike in Turkey:

30.10.2012

Dear Editor,

I am writing to inform you about an international petition campaign launched in with regards to the hunger strike protest that has been carried out by Kurdish political prisoners in Turkey since September 12, 2012. The petition emphasizes the imminence of a human tragedy, given that the strike is as of today on its 49th day, and calls on the Turkish state to urgently address the prisoners’ demands. A brief bulletin about the contents and participants of the petition is below.

Thank you for your consideration.

____________

An international group of social scientists with research interests in the Kurdish issue launched a petition campaign calling on the Turkish government to address the demands of the Kurdish political prisoners whose hunger strike protests have entered a critical phase.

Over 700 Kurdish prisoners are on the 49th day of a hunger strike as of October 30, 2012, for the right to defense in their mother tongue and the ending of solitary confinement of Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK’s imprisoned leader. Medical experts confirm that the 40th day is a threshold in hunger strikes where physical and mental dysfunctions commence, as well as cases of death begin to occur.

Petitioners declare their full support to the Kurdish political prisoners’ demands, which, they believe, are among fundamental human rights.  The petition emphasizes that the international community’s opinion on Turkey will be strongly shaped by the way the present hunger strikes are handled and reminds the addressees, including the President, Prime Minister and Justice Minister of Turkey, that they will be personally responsible should this protest end in a human tragedy. Recalling the devastating cost of the prison operations of the year 2000, the petitioners warn the Turkish government  that any attempt at forceful intervention would cause irreparable harm and destroy the already dim democratic ground for a peaceful settlement of the Kurdish issue.

The petition has received great interest and support from academic circles around the world, reaching over one thousand signatures on its first day. Some internationally renowned social scientists sent support messages to the campaign. Professor Michael Taussig of Columbia University, an international authority in anthropology, signed the petition with the following note: ‘To the Turkish State: please attend immediately to the welfare of these courageous prisoners’. The preeminent feminist theorist Professor Judith Butler of University of California, Berkeley, wrote: “Turkish government must enter into serious dialogue with these prisoners, who now risk their lives to expose the injustice under which they live.” And Noam Chomsky stated: “Elementary humanity requires that the just and desperate plea of these prisoners for dialogue should be answered quickly and appropriately, without delay.”

The campaign initiators state that they were inspired by Turkey’s great novelist Yasar Kemal’s recent statement on hunger strikes: ‘Watching death is ill-suited to humanity’. The petition can be reached online at the link below:

http://www.change.org/petitions/hunger-strikers-in-turkish-prisons-engage-in-constructive-dialogue-with-prisoners#

The list of Initiators

Can Ağar, Translator, İstanbul, Turkey
Ahmet Hamdi Akkaya, Ghent University, Belgium
Emek Alici, University of London, UK
Ahmet Alış, Bogaziçi University, Turkey
Seda Altug, Bogazici University, Turkey
Shiler Amini, University of Exeter, UK
Mizgin Müjde Arslan, Bahçeşehir University, Turkey
Dr Mehmet Asutay, Durham University, UK
Ebru Avci, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
Dr. Bilgin Ayata, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
U. Rezan Azizoğlu, Ankara University, Turkey
Hanifi Barış, University of Aberdeen, UK
Luqman Barwari, president, Kurdish National Congress-North America (KNC-NA)
Oyman Basaran, The University of Massachusetts, USA
Dr. Bahar Başer, University of Warwick, UK
Dr. Derya Bayır, University of London , UK
Fırat Bozçalı, Stanford University, USA
Dr. Katharina Brizić, Linguist, Austria
Adnan Çelik, EHESS, Paris, France
Umit Cetin, University of Essex, UK
Cuma Cicek, Paris Institute of Political Studies, France
Ozgur Cicek, Binghamton University, NY, USA
Ayca Ciftci, University of London, UK
Deniz Cifci, Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey
Dr Barzoo Eliassi, Lund University, Sweden
Secil Dagtas, University of Toronto, Canada
Engin Emre Değer, Istanbul Şehir University, Turkey
Esin Düzel, UCSD, USA
Burcu Ege, Independent Researcher, Turkey
Delal Aydin Elhuseyni, Binghamton University, NY, USA
Muhammed Mesud Fırat, Bilgi University. Turkey
Bahar Şahin Fırat, Boğaziçi University, Turkey
Özlem Galip, University of Exeter, UK
Başak Gemici, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey
Frangis Ghaderi, University of Exeter, UK
Onur Gunay, Princeton University, USA
Azat Z. Gundogan, Binghamton University, NY, USA
Saed Kakei, Nova Southeastern University, USA
Fethi Karakecili, York University, Canada
Maryam Kashani, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Dr Janroj Keles , London Metropolitan University, UK
Yeşim Mutlu, METU, Turkey
Dr. Nilay Ozok-Gundogan, Denison University, USA
Dr. Cengiz Güneş, The Open University, UK
Serra Hakyemez, Johns Hopkins University, USA
Wendy Hamelink, Leiden University, Netherlands
Murat Issı, University of Panteion, Greece
Mithat Ishakoglu, University of Exeter, UK
Erkan Karaçay, University of Exeter, UK
Elif İnal, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey
Dr. Iclal Ayşe Küçükkırca, Mardin Artuklu University, Turkey
Dr. Kamran Matin, Sussex University, UK
Caroline McKusick, University of California Davis, USA
Dilan Okçuoğlu, Queens University, Canada
Ergin Opengin, Paris 3, Paris, France
Omer Ozcan, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Dr. Hisyar Ozsoy, University of Michigan-Flint, USA
Prof. Dr. H.Neşe Özgen, Ege University, Turkey
Erlend Paashe, Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Norway
Berivan Sarikaya, York University, UK
Dr. Besime Şen, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Turkey
Dr. Birgül Açıkyıldız-Şengül, Harvard University, USA
Ruken Sengul, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Dr. Serdar Şengül, Harvard University, USA
Dr. Prakash Shah, University of London, UK
Christian Sinclair, University of Arizona, USA
Prof. Dr. Nükhet Sirman, Boğaziçi University, Turkey
Ülker Sözen, Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Turkey
Marcin Starzewski, Sabanci University, Turkey
Kelly Stuart, Columbia University, USA
Dr. Engin Sustam, EHESS, Paris, france
Dr. Raja Swamy, The University of Arkansas, USA
Mohammedali Yaseen Taha, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Dr. Latif Tas, Humbolt University, Berlin, Germany
Salima Tasdemir, University of Exeter, UK
Omer Tekdemir, Durham University, UK
Dr. Sebahattin Topçuoğlu, Hamburg, Germany
Dr. Nazan Üstündağ, Bogazici University, Turkey
Dr. Kamala Visweswaran, The University of Texas At Austin, USA
Muge Yamanyilmaz, Bilgi University, Turkey
Serkan Yaralı, EHESS, Paris, France
Güllistan Yarkın, Binghamton University, USA
Prof. Dr. Mesut Yeğen, Istanbul Şehir University, Turkey
İsmail Hakkı Yiğit, Fatih University, Turkey
Dilan Yildirim, Harvard University, USA
Emrah Yıldız, Harvard University, USA
Cagri Yoltar, Duke University, USA
Dr. Zafer Yörük, Izmir University of Economics, Turkey
Ayse Seda Yuksel, Central European University, Hungary
Dr Welat Zeydanlioglu, Kurdish Studies Network, Sweden
Max Zirngast, University of Vienna, Austria

KCC2012: The Kurdistan Careers Conference 2012

PRESS RELEASE
08.05.2012

KCC2012, FIRST CAREERS CONFERENCE IN THE KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ
ERBIL, 08.05.2012

The Kurdistan Careers Conference 2012 (KCC2012) will be the first event of its kind in Iraq to bring university students, graduates and young professionals together with the private sector of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to explore employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. The two day event will be held twice, first in the Kurdistan Region capital Erbil on the 28th and 29th of August, and repeated in Sulaimani on the 31st of August and 1st of September.

KCC2012 is a civil society initiative that has been organised by a young group of individuals from different academic and professional backgrounds. The conference is an independent not-for-profit event and funding has been secured through private sector sponsorship. Iraq’s largest private bank North Bank of Iraq and the newly established recruitment division of Faruk Group Holding, IQ-Jobs, are the main sponsors of the conference.

The KCC2012 will host a variety of discussion panels, workshops and networking sessions that will provide participants with practical information on the local economy, employment opportunities, moving to the Kurdistan Region and adjusting to the local society and funding opportunities for new enterprises.

KCC2012 aims to be a platform for Iraqis and Kurds to start or advance their careers. Returning diaspora are in high demand because of their educational background, the skill-sets that they have developed and also the knowledge of the business culture in Iraq and other parts of the world. Additionally, students and recent graduates from the various newly established private universities, such as University of Kurdistan-Hawler and the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani, can be of great value to foreign and local companies operating in the Kurdistan Region.

As much of the Western world continues to experience an economic downturn, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is booming. More and more Iraqi expats are looking to the Kurdistan Region for attractive employment opportunities. The conference provides an excellent opportunity for those seeking work in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to network with some of the premier organisations and companies operating both locally and regionally.

KCC2012 has been organised with the partnership of a number of different organisations operating in Iraq and abroad, most notable among them; the American University of Iraq – Sulaimani, the Kurdistan Regional Government Department of Information Technology, the British Council in Iraq and the United States Agency of International Development.

We look forward to welcoming you to the event.

— END —

Download conference agenda here. (267KB/.pdf)

Download conference brochure here. (1,3MB/.pdf)

For all further inquiries please contact: info@kurdistancareers.com

 

Conference: On the Way to a New Constitution

Click for full-size conference poster

The organisers of this conference have asked us to announce this on Kurdistan Commentary. The overview and programme are below. The programme concept (in .pdf format) can be downloaded here (Turkish & English). The conference will be livestreamed at this site: http://www.anayasayolunda.com. Looks as though there will be lots of room for discussion about the Kurds given the topic of the conference and the line-up of speakers.

Conference Overview:

The events of the Arab Spring brought tremendous change for all Arab countries. Old dictatorships had collapsed, governments had to introduce reforms; the whole process is still ongoing and the results of the events are yet to be seen. In many countries a process of replacing or at least reforming the constitution started. Different models of participation of society and various forms of demands from the people are to be observed.

This conference wants to bring together the various experiences from around the region with a comparative civic/human rights perspective. It intends to focus on the question as to what does it meanto be “free” after the revolution, and try to understand the current dynamics that shape the very basis of a social contract in respective countries? This is an important task, given that for the first time since the modern state building experiences, people of the region now have the chance to develop a common vision on issues pertaining to democratic citizenship, based on their will and internal dynamics in a mutually learning environment. As such, the conference will be dealing with issues and problems of the following sort and similar others:

Programme:

On the Way to a New Constitution:
Middle East, North Africa and Turkey
28th April 2012, Istanbul
Point Hotel Taksim

09:30 Registration
10:00 Opening Remarks
FES Turkey & Helsinki Citizens Assembly

10:15 1st Panel : Regional Caucus on Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey
– Iran:
Abbas Vali, Boğaziçi University
– Syria:
Christian Sinclair, University of Arizona
– Kurdistan Regional Government:
Rebwar Kerim Wali, Rudaw
– Turkey:
Cengiz Çandar, Radikal Daily

Moderation: Nigâr Hacızade

12:00 Coffee Break

12:15 Discussion

13:30 Lunch

15:00 2nd Panel: Regional Caucus on Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Turkey
– Egypt:
Amr Shalakany, American University of Cairo
– Tunisia:
Choukri Hmed, Université Paris-Dauphine
– Algeria:
Omar Benderra, International Committee of Solidarity with the Algerian free Trade-Unions
– Turkey:
Ayhan Bilgen, Democratic Constitution Movement

Moderation: Işın Eliçin

16:45 Coffee Break

17:00 Discussion

18:15 Concluding remarks: Herta Däubler-Gmelin, Former Minister of Justice, Germany

English-Turkish simultaneous translation will be provided during the conference.

SPEAKERS:

Abbas Vali
Vali obtained a BA in Political Science from the National University of Iran in 1973. He then moved to the UK to continue his graduate studies in modern political and social theory. He obtained an MA in Politics from the University of Keele in 1976. He then received his PhD in Sociology from the University of London in 1983. This was followed by a post-doctoral research fellowship funded by the Economic and Social Research Council in 1984. Abbas Vali began his academic carrier in 1986 in the Department of Political Theory and Government at the University of Wales, Swansea. He was invited by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to establish and lead a new university in Erbil in 2005. He was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kurdistan before he was removed for disagreements with the KRG over the management of the university in May 2008. Professor Vali has since been teaching Modern Social and Political Theory in the Department of Sociology at Bogazici University in Istanbul.

Rebwar Kerim Wali
Rebwar Kerim Wali started to work as a journalist in 1995, and is currently the editor-in-chief of the Rudaw Newspaper which is being published in Iraqi Kurdistan and Europe. Furthermore he is also the chief editor of the newly formed Rudaw TV. Rebwar Kerim Wali worked as a journalist during the civil war that erupted due to the dispute between the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Kurdistan Partriotic Union. Before he was imprisoned in 2002 because of his articles, he continued to work as a domestic journalist. In 2003 he started to work as a correspondent and representative for foreign press agencies such as BBC Turkish, RFI Farsi, Independent Europe Radio. In 2004 he established the Peyamner News Agency, the first independent news agency in Kurdistan. He is also the founder of Zagros TV where he functioned as the chief editor for 1,5 years. Furthermore, Wali is the founder of the following newspapers: Hewler Post, Bevada, Rudaw. Hewler Post was also the first newspaper to be published online in Turkish. His mother tongue being Kurdish, Wali also fluently speaks Persian, Arabic and Turkish. He also has intermediate knowledge in English.

Christian Sinclair
Christian Sinclair is deputy director of the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and director of the university’s program in Jordan. He is also a member of the executive committee of the US-based Kurdish Studies Association. Sinclair teaches “Democratization and Human Rights in the Middle East” at UA and “Ethnography of the Middle East” in Jordan. He has given more than a dozen talks in the past couple years in the US and Europe, mainly on the human rights situation of the Kurds, with particular focus on media, language, and politics. His most reason article, published in MERIP, is “The Evolution of Kurdish Politics in Syria.” Sinclair lived in Syria for seven years in the 1990s and has returned regularly since then.

Amr Shalakany
Amr Shalakany has served as associate professor of law in American University of Cairo since 2004. He served for four years as LL.M. Program Director since the Law Departments establishment in 2005. He also holds a joint appointment as Assistant Professor of Civil Law at Cairo University Faculty of Law. Before joining AUC, Shalakany was the Jeremiah Smith Junior Visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard Law School, where he taught Comparative Law and Islamic Law. Earlier, he served as legal advisor to the PLO Negotiations Support Unit in Ramallah during the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, and also taught at Birzeit University and helped set up the Law Clinic at the Law Institute. His recent projects include completing his Carnegie Scholar book manuscript tentatively entitled “The Redefinition of Shari’a in Modern Egyptian Legal Thought: 1798 — Present;” co-editing with Prof Khaled Fahmy the collected papers from “New Approaches to Modern Egyptian Legal History,” a symposium held in June 2009; and “A Short History of the Modern Egyptian Legal Elite” (forthcoming in Boutiveau & Maugiron eds., Egypt and Its Laws (2011).

Choukri Hmed
Choukri Hmed is an Associate Professor in Political Science at the Paris-Dauphine University since September 2007. He is also Visiting Associate Professor at Bing Overseas Stanford Program in History and International Relations (Centre of Paris). He is currently director of the Master, Social and Political Researches, at the Paris-Dauphine University, and associated researcher at the Institut de recherche interdisciplinaire en sciences sociales (IRISSO, UMR CNRS 7170). Since 2011 he carries out a fieldwork research on the revolutionary process and contentious politics in Tunisia. Among his publications are: Choukri Hmed, 2011, “Apprendre à devenir révolutionnaire en Tunisie”, Les Temps modernes, 664; Choukri Hmed et al., eds, 2011, “Observer les mobilisations”, Politix. Revue des sciences sociales du politique, 93.

Omar Benderra
Omar Benderra, born in Algiers (Algeria), now living in Paris (France), has studied economy and finance in Algiers. He is the former chairman of an Algerian state-owned bank for the period 1989-1991. Since then, he’s been working as a consultant and journalist. Omar Benderra is member to the International Committee of Solidarity with the Algerian free Trade-Unions (CISA) –Paris, director of the Frantz Fanon Foundation, and a fellow of the Centre for North African Studies in Cambridge University.

Cengiz Çandar
Cengiz Çandar is a journalist and former war correspondent from Turkey. He began his career as a journalist in 1976 in the newspaper Vatan after living some years in the Middle East and in Europe due to his opposition to the regime in Turkey following the military intervention in 1971. As an expert on the Middle East (Lebanon and Palestine) and the Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Çandar worked for the Turkish News Agency and for the leading Turkish newspapers Cumhuriyet, Hürriyet, Referans and Güneş. Currently, he is a columnist at Radikal Daily. Çandar served as special adviser to Turkish president Turgut Özal between 1991 and 1993. Between 1999 and 2000, he conducted research on “Turkey in the 21st Century” as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and as a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.

Ayhan Bilgen
Ayhan Bilgen is a journalist and Kurdish human rights activist. He studies Public Management at Ankara University and functioned as the Head of the Ankara Office of MAZLUMDER and was a member of the board of directors in the very same association. In May 2006 at the 7th General Assembly he was elected to become the president of the association for two years. Furthermore, Bilgen works as a columnist for the Ülkede Özgür Gündem newapaper. In the general election on 22 July 2007 he ran as an independent MP candidate from Konya as part of the Bin Umut Adayları (a campaign backed by mainly Kurdish independent MP candidates in response to the 10% threshold). He has recently been working on issues relating to the writing of a democratic and encompassing new constitution.

Kurdistan Commentary announces two new authors

Shiler Amini and Christian Sinclair will be joining Kurdistan Commentary as regular authors.

Shiler Amini

Shiler Amini is a PhD candidate in Kurdish Studies at the University of Exeter. She is a news journalist with a background in sociology, with interests concentrated around Kurdish politics, media, women’s rights, linguistics and the Kurdish diaspora. Amini currently writes editorials for online journals such as Rojhelat: The Kurdish Observer and Kurd.se | Den Kurdiska Rösten and will now be doing the same for Kurdistan Commentary.

Christian Sinclair

Christian Sinclair, who has posted with Kurdistan Commentary before, is assistant director of University of Arizona’s Centre for Middle Eastern Studies. He is also on the Kurdish Studies Association’s executive committee. Sinclair’s interests — as they relate to Kurdish Studies — include human rights, politics, media, and language and he is a frequent speaker on Kurdish issues. His article, The Evolution of Kurdish Politics in Syria, was published by MERIP last August. He will write a fortnightly column, which will appear Mondays beginning on 7th May.

Kurdistan Commentary is very excited to have these two join the team. Their expertise in the region and exceptional writing skills will afford Kurdistan Commentary’s readers new insights into the field of Kurdish Studies.

Kurdistan Commentary welcomes other authors/bloggers to share their stories. If you are interested in joining the Kurdistan Commentary team, send an email to us at kurdistancommentary@googlemail.com. There is no editorial oversight for authors with a proven track record. Authors will be given an author account and post directly to Kurdistan Commentary.

CfP: The Kurds in Syria: Past, Present and Future

Deadline approaching…

Call for proposals

The Kurdish Studies Association (KSA) invites paper proposals for a KSA-sponsored panel at the Middle East Studies (MESA) meeting to be held November 17-20, 2012 in Denver, Colorado (USA).

For details on the call and submission guidelines, please visit the (new!) Kurdish Studies Association website:

http://kurdishstudies.org/2011/12/24/the-kurds-in-syria-past-present-and-future-cfp/

Abstracts due by 23 January 2012.

Kurdish Studies and language classes at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU)

A letter was released by MTSU yesterday announcing further development of the institution’s budding Kurdish Studies programme. Last August MTSU announced that it would begin teaching Kurdish. MTSU is only one of three universities in the US where Kurdish is taught. The other two are the University of Arizona and Portland State University. Here is the text of that letter:

—————–

At the direction of President McPhee, plans were developed to create a Middle East Center (MEC), which officially came into being in December 2006. From July 2006 through June 2009 MTSU had a Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages grant to initiate language programs in Arabic and Hebrew, develop courses for a new Middle East Studies (MES) minor, support faculty members working in MES, and offer workshops for middle and high school teachers in the region that presented ways to incorporate the study of the Middle East in their curriculum.

With the foundations of the MES program well established, Dr. Allen Hibbard (director of the MEC) met with the MES faculty and students to discuss future goals. The Kurdish Students Association attended the meeting and members advocated for the development of a Kurdish Studies program citing the large Kurdish community in Middle Tennessee. Dr. Kari Neely, professor of Arabic, supported the motion agreeing that language programs need strong community support to be sustainable. Dr. Canak, the faculty advisor for the KSA, also supported the motion along with several other faculty members. As a member of the Foreign Language Department, Dr. Neely volunteered to take the initiative on the project.

Dr. Neely started modestly offering a special topics course for the Middle East Studies minor “Introduction to Kurdish History and Culture” in the Spring of 2009 which immediately filled. The success of the topics course allowed Dr. Neely to submit proposals for a two-year sequence in Kurdish language that were accepted by the Department of Foreign Languages and the University Curriculum committee. Seeking funding for a professor to teach these courses, Dr. Neely applied for and obtained an Access and Diversity grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR).

MTSU hired Mr. Deniz Ekici, a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter, as a full time faculty member. Mr. Ekici is an accomplished author of Kurdish language instructional materials. He is the author of both Beginning Kurmanji Kurdish (an interactive DVD-ROM) and Kurmanji Kurdish Reader. Additionally, his background in Kurdish Studies has allowed him to collaborate with MTSU faculty members to co-teach general MES courses while incorporating Kurdish themes. In the 2011 year, Mr. Ekici will offer Intermediate Kurdish in addition to the Elementary Kurdish. In order to reach a larger audience, he is developing an online course to be offered in the Spring of 2012 through MTSU. Mr. Ekici teaches a standardized version of Kurmanji (Behdînî) rather than a particular regional version.

With these developments, MTSU is uniquely positioned to become a center for Kurdish Studies in the United States for a number of reasons. First, we are situated near to the largest Kurdish community that gives scholars the ability to have direct experience with a Kurdish community and practice their Kurdish language skills in context. Also, it allows international Kurdish students to easily adjust to life in the United States. Second, there are already two faculty members (Dr. Neely and Dr. Clare Bratten) who are interested in Kurdish issues and who incorporate Kurdish issues into the MES courses. Dr. Bratten teaches Media in the Middle East and Dr. Neely will be teaching Introduction to Middle East Studies and Peoples of the Middle East in addition to occasional offerings of Women in the Middle East. Thus, Kurdish themes are present in three of the primary courses in the MES minor.

The Kurdish Studies program at MTSU continues to grow through the support of the administration and MES faculty. MES faculty and KSA members are working with the university on new projects to help strengthen and enrich the program. Chief among the goals is to strengthen ties with international Kurdish institutions, especially within Kurdistan.

Second International Conference on Kurdish Studies at University of Exeter

Centre for Kurdish Studies, University of Exeter

Second International Conference on Kurdish Studies

‘The Kurds and Kurdistan: Considering Continuity and Change’

Exeter, 6-8 September 2012

 

Since our first international conference on Kurdish Studies in 2009, the States where Kurds live have seen tumultuous events. The Iranian elections and their aftermath have been followed by the protests in Iraq, anger over the referendum and elections in Turkey, and huge violence in Syria.

As many ask whether the so-called ‘Arab spring’ will bring change to the Middle East, we would like to interrogate the very ideas of continuity and change themselves across a number of disciplines. Does complete ‘rupture’ ever occur in history? Does regime change bring real differences in people’s lives? When migration brings change to individuals and families, what continuity is maintained in order to re-produce identity? How does language change and how far should linguistic change be managed? How should we study cultural continuity which exists over ethnic boundaries and international frontiers? What have been the changes and continuities within the field of Kurdish studies itself?

Our Second International Conference on Kurdish Studies will be held in Exeter on 6-8 September 2012. We aim to bring together scholars from all over the world, working in political science, geography, anthropology, history, literature, linguistics, gender studies and other disciplines of the humanities and social sciences.

We invite abstracts for individual papers of twenty minutes, or proposals for panels comprising three or four papers. Abstracts should be 250 to 300 words in length, clearly stating the contributor’s name, institutional affiliation and contact details. There will be some limited bursaries available to cover expenses; preference will be given to junior scholars and those from countries outside Western Europe and the USA without funding from their own institutions. If you wish to request one of these, please state clearly whether you have other sources of funding and give a reasonable estimate of your costs.

Please send abstracts to cks-kurdishconference@exeter.ac.uk by 30 November 2011. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 15 January 2012.

New Book: The Margins of Empire

The Margins of Empire: Kurdish Militias in the Ottoman Tribal Zone
Janet Klein, Associate Professor of History at The University of Akron

Stanford University Press, 2011 (forthcoming)

About the book

At the turn of the twentieth century, the Ottoman state identified multiple threats in its eastern regions. In an attempt to control remote Kurdish populations, Ottoman authorities organized them into a tribal militia and gave them the task of subduing a perceived Armenian threat. Following the story of this militia, Klein explores the contradictory logic of how states incorporate groups they ultimately aim to suppress and how groups who seek autonomy from the state often attempt to do so through state channels.

In the end, Armenian revolutionaries were not suppressed and Kurdish leaders, whose authority the state sought to diminish, were empowered. The tribal militia left a lasting impact on the region and on state-society and Kurdish-Turkish relations. Putting a human face on Ottoman-Kurdish histories while also addressing issues of state-building, local power dynamics, violence, and dispossession, this book engages vividly in the study of the paradoxes inherent in modern statecraft.

Reviews

‘Klein sheds light on some of the most important and complicated relations and negotiations the Ottoman officials were engaged in as their empire crumbled around them. She never loses sight of the broader implications of her work in this original, highly valuable look at a significant period in the history of the Middle East.’—Resat Kasaba, University of Washington

‘This is a most welcome and very significant contribution to Kurdish history and to the history of the eastern provinces during the late Ottoman period. The rich documentation of the saga of the Kurds as they undergo a very difficult transformation will generate healthy scholarly debate. An excellent book.’—Fatma Müge Göçek, University of Michigan

See Table of Contents here.

Read an excerpt from the Introduction here.

Order book here.

The Kurds of Syria: from the latest Syrian Studies Association newsletter

The Kurds of Syria is the focus of the latest issue of the Syrian Studies Association (SSA) Newsletter (Vol XVI No. 1, Spring 2011)

Below are the articles from this latest SSA newsletter with links to the full article at the SSA website. If you wish to download the entire 52-page newsletter, click here (.pdf).

Scholarship on the Kurds in Syria: A History and State of the Art Assessment (Jordi Tejel)

A summary of the history of scholarship on the Kurds of Syria from the beginning of French Mandate to the present with emphasis on the importance of historical context in evaluating the current state of Kurdish affairs in Syria.

Studying the Kurds in Syria: Challenges and Opportunities (Robert Lowe)

This article provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities of studying the Kurds in Syria.

Ten Years of Bashar al‑Asad and No Compromise with the Kurds (Eva Savelsberg and Siamend Hajo)

The Kurdish population of Syria continues to suffer significant human rights violations at the hands of Syrian security forces ten years into Bashar al-Asad’s presidency. The resulting tensions led to an unprecedented uprising across Kurdish Syria in 2004.

Sufism among the Kurds in Syria (Paulo Pinto)

Sufism has a pervasive presence in the religious and cultural life of the Kurds in Syria. The vast majority of them are Sunni Muslims and their Islamic practices and beliefs are marked by a strong influence of Sufism. This analysis shows how Sufi communities and holy places constitute social spaces where discrete articulations between Muslim identities and Kurdish ethnicity emerge, allowing the Kurds to mobilize various forms of affirming cultural distinctiveness and negotiating their insertion in the Syrian society.

Book Reviews

A Work of Reference on Syria’s Kurds (Boris James)

Jordi Tejel, Syria’s Kurds: History, Politics and Society. New York: Routledge, 2009. 208 pages.

Syria’s Undocumented Kurds (Ahmet Serdar Akturk)

Nevzat Bingöl, Suriye’nin Kimliksizleri Kürtler (Syria’s Undocumented Kurds). Istanbul: Elma, 2004.

New book: Kurdish Identity, Disourse, and New Media

About the book
Informed by the interdisciplinary approach of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and theories of identity, nation, and media, the study investigates the ways Kurds, the world’s largest stateless nation, use satellite television and Internet to construct their identities. This book examines the complex interrelationships between ethno-national identities, discourses, and new media. Not only offers the first study of discursive constructions of Kurdish identity in the new media, this book also the first CDA informed comparative study of the contents of the two media. The study pushes the boundaries of the growing area of studies of identity, nationalism and transnationalism, discourse studies, minority language, and digital media.

Dr. Sheyholislami’s book will be available in mid-June from Palgrave Macmillan.

Contents
-Discourse, Media, and Nation
-Kurdish Identity
-Kurdish Media: From Print to Facebook
-Discourse Practices of Kurdistan TV (KTV)
-Textual Analysis of KTV
-Discourse Practices of Kurdish Internet
-Textual Analysis of Kurdish Internet
-Discussion and Conclusion

About the author
Jaffer Sheyholislami was born in 1960 in the city of Mahabad in Mukriyan Province. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of Linguistics and Language Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He teaches courses in the areas of applied linguistics and discourse analysis on a variety of topics such as language and power/ideology, sociology of language, research and practice in academic writing, and language and media.

He earned his PhD in Communication at Carleton in 2008. His main research interests lie with a critical understanding of language and other semiosis in social life. Currently, with Co-editors Dr. Amir Hassanpour and Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, he is preparing an edited volume on the Kurdish language with a focus on the social, political and legal aspects of the language and how these are intertwined with education and identity in Kurdistan. His other areas of research have included: critical discourse analysis of the representation of Kurds in the US and Canada, Iranian ethnic media and citizenship in Canada, the semiotic construction of Canadian national identity, the dialogic nature of blogging in educational settings, and the place of blogging in the construction of Kurdish imagined communities.

Kurdish politics in Syria: a ‘Webliography’ from Chatham House

In February Chatham House put out a Webliography of articles and resources on Kurdish politics in Syria. Given the events in Syria at the moment, it’s a timely resource. And Kurdistan Commentary got included! Below is a list of their resources. If you want to download the original 3-page .pdf version of their webliography, click here.

Selected Webliography

Kurdish politics and Syria, Chatham House Library and Information Service, February 2011

The following is a select list of websites, articles and books on Kurdish politics and Syria, [most] available on the web.

To find out about Chatham House’s research, analysis and events on Kurdish politics and Syria, please visit the Middle East and North Africa Programme’s site.

To search our Library catalogue for books, articles and papers on Kurdish politics, please visit our site.

General Sites

Amnesty International – Syria

Human Rights Watch

Kurdistan National Assembly – Syria

KurdWatch

Political Resources on the Net – Kurdistan

Rojhelat- The Kurdish Observer

Support Kurds in Syria

Articles

Amnesty International: Trial of Kurds in Syria likely to be a ‘parody of justice’. Amnesty International, 15 December 2009

Arsu, Sebnem: Turkey says Syria detains 400 Kurdish separatists. New York Times, 1 July 2010

Damascus Bureau: Syrian Kurds – bolder, but still oppressed. Damascus Bureau, 27 July 2010

Ismaeel, Bashdar Pusho: The plight of the Syrian Kurds: the forgotten kindred. Kurdish Globe, 30 January 2011

Kurdistan Commentary: Syrian Kurds in Europe, 2010: migration, asylum, and deportation. Kurdistan Commentary, 19 December 2010

Lowe, Robert: Kurds in Syria: from the shadows. World Today, Vol 61, No 11, November 2005, pp 7-8

Spyer, Jonathan: The forgotten minority. GLORIA Center, 9 July 2010

Documents, Books and Papers

Austrian Red Cross and the Danish Immigration Service: Human rights issues concerning Kurds in Syria: report from a joint fact-finding mission (.pdf)…21 January to 8 February 2010. Vienna: Austrian Red Cross, 2010

Human Rights Watch: Group denial: repression of Kurdish political and cultural rights in Syria. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2009

Human Rights Watch: Repression of Kurds in Syria. IN A wasted decade: human rights in Syria during Bashar al-Asad’s first ten years in power. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2010

Human Rights Watch: Syria: the silenced Kurds. New York: Human Rights Watch, 2006

Lowe, Robert: The Kurdish policy imperative. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2010 (overview of book)

Lowe, Robert: The Syrian Kurds: a people discovered (.pdf). London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2006

Lynch, Maureen and Ali, Perveen: Buried alive: stateless Kurds in Syria (.pdf). Washington: Refugees International, 2006

Mella, Jawad: Western Kurdistan which is occupied by Syria (.pdf). London: Western Kurdistan Association, 2007

Montgomery, Harriet: The Kurds of Syria: an existence denied. Berlin: Europäisches Zentrum für Kurdische Studien, 2005 (executive summary, .pdf)

Rojhelat-The Kurdish Observer: The current situation of the Kurds in Syria. [s.l.]: Rojhelat, 2011

Tejel, Jordi: Syria’s Kurds: history, politics and society. Abingdon: Routledge, 2009 (on Google books)

Troyansky, Vladimir and Bengio, Ofra: Facing the Ba’th: the Syrian Kurdish awakening (.pdf). Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, 2010

Yildiz, Kerim: The Kurds in Syria: the forgotten people. London: Pluto Press, 2005 (overview)

Ziadeh, Radwan: The Kurds in Syria: fueling separatist movements in the region? (.pdf) Washington: United States Institute of Peace, 2009

If you have any comments or queries relating to this list or any other research issues, please contact us on 020 7957 5723 or libenquire@chathamhouse.org.uk

———–

For articles on Kurdistan Commentary about Syria, click here.

No Kurdish flag at GMU’s International Week celebrations

Meet by the Clock Tower from 1.30-4.00pm, Tuesday, 05 April

Demonstrations in Diyarbakır, Qamişlo, Slêmanî…and now…Fairfax, Virginia. Students at George Mason University’s Kurdistan Student Organisation (KSO) are organising a protest tomorrow to voice their displeasure at being denied the opportunity to display the Kurdish flag during GMU’s International Week celebrations. Students have created a FB page, Mason bans flags representing recognized student organizations, and another page about the protest, Protest at GMU against banning of Kurdish flag.

The protest will take place tomorrow, 05 April, at Freedom Square by the Clock Tower from 1.30-4.00pm. According to the FB pages, this event will be covered by major news outlets including ABC, FOX, NBC, as well as Voice of America (VOA).

Below is a statement sent to Kurdistan Commentary by the Kurdistan Student Organisation at GMU. If you’re in the area, grab a Kurdish flag and head to the Clock Tower to show your support!

————————————

Every year the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) makes an issue out of the displaying of certain flags during International Week, and we as students with active, dedicated and recognized student organizations are tired of meeting, begging, and fighting every single year to have our flags flown because an oppressive government on the other end of the globe would be offended by American freedom. We are Americans and we are good law abiding students and citizens that demand that GMU behave the way George Mason himself would have behaved.

We have been told by staff members themselves, point blank, that it IS about the money (The Chinese government has many international Chinese students on campus and has threatened to withdraw them and their funding if their demands for only nation-state flags to be displayed are not met. This is because of the HUGE problem they have with East Turkmenistan, a region in China whose inhabitants are viewed by the Chinese as being terrorists and separatists. In a meeting with Chinese students in 2008, one Chinese student spoke up and said, “They are all Muslims so we all know they’re terrorists!”

The evidence is clear: this was never an issue before the Chinese embassy, and by extension the Chinese government, made an issue out of it in 2008. Since then, it has been one battle after another with false promises being made to students–such as in 2009 when they were told that all flags not “randomly selected” to fly in the JC would fly in Mason Hall instead, only to find a completely bare Mason Hall when I-Week began. Random students all over campus were at one point asked by KSO members to sign a petition to see if students would support all groups being represented on campus and within two hours they had over 500 signatures (this was in 2009) But OIPS didn’t take those signatures into account at the various meetings that were held.

Recently, in an email released to the KSO, Judith Green, the director of the office of international programs and services (OIPS), stated that it was impossible to have all flags displayed, as that there is only room for 81 flags to be displayed in the JC atrium, but regardless, the flag of Kurdistan would not be displayed because on the I-20 form, no international students are listed as being from Kurdistan. The I-20 form, she states, is what will be used to determine which country flags are flown. The form is a supporting document that goes along with the awarding of a student visa for international students wanting to study in the US. So all non-international students would not be represented, according to her argument.

According to mason’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE): “George Mason University draws students from all over the world, but its student body is dominated by residents of northern Virginia.” A student body that, according to OIPS, would not have the luxury of being represented, regardless of whether or not they make up one of the most active student organizations on campus.

Since when are international students the only students recognized during International Week?! And what about 1st generation Americans who were born here but are proud to have both an American and an additional ethnic/national background? And what about the fact that the MAJORITY of participants in international week via their student organizations are active AMERICAN students with additional ethnic or national backgrounds and thus would not be included on the I-20 forms because they never had to fill one out? Or better yet, what about students who came to the US as REFUGEES and thus came to the US under a different set of pretenses and would have fill out a completely different form–like the majority of Kurds who fled here during the years of Saddam Hussein’s brutal Anfal campaign?

Moreover, while Kurdistan is not listed on the I-20, the Kurdistan Regional Government IS a legitimate government entity, recognized in the Iraqi Constitution as well as by all of her neighbors, members of the G-20, the EU, and NATO. Why then does GMU deny our existence? The sad thing is, even if Kurdistan was on the I-20 form, we still wouldn’t be represented because we are all either American citizens that were born and raised here or we came here seeking political asylum. Unfortuantely, not all of us have the luxury of coming here as international students. Many of us were actually fleeing for our lives and came to the States hoping for a better future–like many Americans have throughout our vibrant history.

Finally, while the official statement from OIPS is that their decision was based on three workshops that asked students to fill out surveys and questionnaires about their attitudes toward the issue, KSO members attended all three of those sessions and not a single student from any other student organization attended. In fact, during the last session the only other representative there was a representative of the Confucius Institute who was not a student.

At the last official meeting with OIPS, we were told that it was decided that countries that were recognized by the UN would be able to fly their flags. Then, in a separate email correspondence with Judith Green we were told that it had nothing to do with UN recognition but rather census information gathered from the I-20. At the last meeting that was held when an OIPS representative agreed to simply meet with us when we were told nothing could be changed because the guidelines had been made official, they’d admitted that the newly drafted guidelines were based on discussions that were had at the workshop—discussions that only the KSO as a student org attended along with a representative of the Confucius Institute–and yet the report came out in favor of the latter. We were also told at that meeting that there had indeed been fears that the Chinese embassy may in fact remove Chinese students from campus and that, of course, the presence of international Chinese students on campus was highly valued. So valued in fact, that they opened the opening ceremony in 2010 during I-week and had a “passport to China” event, complete with games, prizes, information booths, etc. focusing solely on China-something that, in our 6 years of I-week experience at mason–is a privilege that has not been afforded to any other international student org.

When we asked OIPS if there had EVER been ANY complaint against the display of the Kurdish flag in recent years by ANY student OR organization, the answer was “no”.