Wednesday, February 01, 2006


"Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of a free society." ~ Felix Frankfurter, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court.

Hmmm, you know what? I'm not the only one who thinks I should buy Danish to counter some of the stupidity we've seen in the last few days.

Big Pharaoh is urging everyone to buy Danish.

In fact, he's got some pretty funny and facetious stuff on the Muslim world's reaction to the situation in Denmark. I suggest you give his blog a read.

He also says some pretty important stuff, with which I agree. From his 1 February post:

See ladies and gentlemen, this is what's drawing this region backwards into the abyss of stupidity and irrationality. We invoke religion in everything. We see everything through the prism of religion. Our false religiosity that lacks the power of our God-given mind has crippled our ability to rationalize and make sound judgements and come up with reasonable conclusions. Katrina becomes God's judgement on America while Pakistan's earth quake had killed far more people. The Tsunami becomes God's punishment for the sex industry in Thailand while most of the dead were Muslim Indonesians. The US invasion of Iraq becomes America's war on Islam while the ones who are ramming suicide car bombs into Shia mosques are fellow Sunnis. And the list goes on and on.

I am sick and tired because I feel so hopeless. I can't do anything about it. Well, in fact I can do something. All what I can do is urge you to: BUY DANISH.

I never understood that Indonesian earthquake rationale, but I guess it's because I am not very religious. In fact, you could say I'm not religious at all.

I even learned something from Big Pharaoh's links to Danish products (which I urge you to peruse). Tuborg is a Danish beer! I didn't know that! WOW! I wonder if Vladimir at From Holland to Kurdistan can find out if the Hewlêrî protestors caused any trouble in Ainkawa, because Ainkawa is positively plastered with Tuborg signs--as much as the North is plastered with Efes signs. I remember plenty of Tuborg signs in Ain Sifne, too.

Big Pharaoh also makes some excellent comments on freedom of expression, from 30 January:

The reaction of the Arab/Muslim public points out the fact that we still do not know what a free press is. In our countries, we are used to see total government control over the media. Even our so called independent media (Al Jazeerah, Al Arabiyah, etc) are linked to one government or another. We believe that the Danish government can somehow punish the newspaper or issue a degree banning it from publishing what we consider as blasphemous stuff. The truth is, even if the Danish government is against what the paper did, and I am sure they are, they still cannot do anything to Jyllands-Posten.

The very same words can be applied to the press in Kurdistan, especially with this business of "total government control over the media." And you all know what I'm talking about, don't you?

The idea of a free press, or of free expression, completely divorced from the government--or parties. . . and any other political organization--is still a foreign idea in Kurdistan. It is as foreign as the idea of a free-standing government that is not dependent on parties, but exists as a separate structure within society, a separate structure which serves the people and not the party elites.

Freedom of expresion is the foundation of all other freedoms. Without it, all the other freedoms are merely illusions.

I am hopeful that Kurdistan will overcome the foreigness of the idea of free expression. Most of my hope comes from the Kurdish diaspora because there is already a good foundation in diaspora for practical use of and experimentation with free expression, an experiential body of knowledge which needs to return to Kurdistan to make the hope a reality.


Nistiman said...

Hi Mizgin,

I find it interesting that freedom of expression is very much an expression of the importance we place in a liberal democracy on the worth of the individual. You can make fun and criticize every political leader, party, organization without serious repercussions...but do it against an individual in the private realm and suddenly you can face a lawsuit for slander, libel, defamation, etc...

For Kurds, I suspect that as the ties to our parties, tribes, ideologies weaken we will see a greater deepening of the concept of the individual. And once the individual becomes central to political life, then perhaps we can begin to understand how freedom of expression is the foundation for all other freedoms.

Vladimir said...

Ainkawa is 100% safe. Christians are in fact fleeing to Kurdistan now. The KRG has build 30 villages for christians in Kurdistan.

Barzani last year said christians are welcome. And if any fool trie to do something towards christians they will end up in jail.

Because of this Danish mess... Christians in "Iraq" fear for the live. I should do some translations..

Xua hafiz,


Litmus said...

this might amuse you, from our own intelligent designist Mustafa Akyol in the National Review:

"The caliphate was abolished in March 1924 by that supreme secularizer Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the Young Turk hero of World War I and the Turkish war of independence....Today many Turks see this act as a great leap forward in Turkey's modernization. Yet it also had terrible side effects. The religious Kurds, who had been loyal to the Ottoman state for centuries, mainly out of Islamic brotherhood, were shaken. In 1925, a group of them revolted against secular Turkey with the aim of reestablishing the caliphate. They were crushed, and this trauma was the source of Turkey's never-ending Kurdish question."

Litmus said...

ed--the Weekly Standard not National Review

Mizgîn said...

Litmus, the only problem with these comments on the Shêx Seîd rebellion is that they do not take into account the evolution of Kurdish nationalism from the Shêx Ubaydullah rebellion, the Koçkiri rebellion, and the continual radicalization of Hamidiye cavalry officers to Kurdish nationalism.

The Shêx Seîd rebellion was organized by Ciwata Azadîya Kurd (Azadî), a nationalist organization, whose leadership chose Shêx Seîd to lead the rebellion. The one thing that most helped Azadî in trying to organize the rebellion, was the decision to declare formally a republic, not to reinstate the caliphate.

I would have to think and balance the trauma of the failure of the Shêx Seîd rebellion with the trauma of Dersim to decide for myself which contributed the most to the continuing Kurdish question, although many more complex layers were added in the 50s, 60s and 70s, as well as the 1980 coup.

The view from Amed is not always so simple.