ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Kurdish Quest

Prison Writings: The Roots of Civilisation (Volume I) by Abdullah

The Kurds are often said to be the world’s largest people who lack their own country. Numbering approximately 40 million, and mostly divided by notorious “great game” treaties in the 1920s between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria (apart from large refugee populations in Germany, Britain and other countries), their repression, set against determined assertions of cultural and political identity, represents an enduring problem in west Asia as deep-rooted as the Israel-Palestinian divide, but far less understood.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has a long and complex history of guerrilla warfare, with a large number of women fighters, and a tradition of open discussion about socialist theory. Unlike, for example, the Tamil Tigers, the PKK has been notable for its observance of Geneva Conventions towards captured soldiers, and deserves the “terrorist” label even less than the African National Congress during apartheid in South Africa or India’s Maoists. There are significant parallels, as well as differences, with the Maoist insurgency in central India and the suppression of adivasi movements.

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