Saturday, May 06, 2006

UTILITARIANISM


“Nothing can have value without being an object of utility” ~ Karl Marx.


There is a commentary at Israpundit from someone else who distrusts everything that the US and EU, and all their little allies, become involved with. I could find no link to indicate who wrote the comments or what the source is--and it's always important to evaluate sources--but there are some points made about the Kurdish situation in general. As a whole, it would seem that the author has just discovered the fact that there are no "friends" in politics, but only alliances, which I define as relationships to further one's own political interests. On the other hand, friendship is something which I define as only existing at the personal and individual level.

Given Kurdish history of the twentieth century, it is an extreme absurdity to speak of "friends" or "friendship" between the Kurdish people and any nation-state. The verb most frequently employed for the relationship between the Kurdish nation and other nations is the verb "to use," as can be seen in some of the comments on this blog post about Kurds. The ideas expressed by such phrases as "perhaps we are using," or "we should be using," Kurds, should set our teeth on edge. Another thing to notice about these kinds of comments, is that people who make them leave the impression that Kurds exist only in the small piece of land known as South Kurdistan, otherwise figuratively known as the "Good Kurds," with "good" having the meaning of "useful for someone else's interests." This is in opposition to the "Bad Kurds," those troublesome, restive and "terrorist" Kurds of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, who, just as the "Good Kurds" of the South legitimately took up arms against successive Baghdad regimes, legitimately took up, and still do legitimately take up, arms against the occupying forces of the Ankara and Teheran regimes.

As I have noted before, it will be interesting to see if similar comment-writers ever take notice of the Kurds in Syrian- and Iranian-occupied Kurdistan, and, if they do, to see which label they will apply--Good or Bad. In other words, it will be interesting to see how useful the Rojavayî and Rojhelatî will be for the US, the EU, and all their little allies. In all of this, I am reminded of Şêx Mehmûd Berzincî, "whom the British never forgave for trying to use them in order to establish an independent Kurdistan, instead of allowing them to use him in order to subdue it," as Dr. Martin van Bruinessen so accurately puts it in Agha, Shaikh and State.

The most important thing to remember is that these enemies of Kurdistan all work together for their own interests and, by doing so, acquiesce in attempts to destroy the Kurdish people, even if individual self-interests do not have that destruction as their ultimate goal. The US and the EU are accomplices to the ultimate Turkish, Iranian, and Arab cultural and physical genocide, which means they share the guilt of the crime.

The commentary posted at Israpundit mentions that the US government supports HAMAS, which should be interesting to Kurds because of the fact that HAMAS is on The List®, just as the PKK is. We have not heard anything about Rice and Gul's discussions on HAMAS, not nearly as much as we have heard about PKK, which is interesting for two reasons. First, it would not be good for the image of either the US or Turkey to make a media event of the hypocrisy involved with any discussions between the two governments about HAMAS. Secondly, any such public discussion of this subject would be the slippery slope into the abyss of hypocrisy in which The List® was created, and from which it draws all its energy. To fall into that abyss would require a public discussion of Turkish atrocities against the Kurdish people, and America's overwhelming support for those atrocities. It would also involve a discussion of Europe's recent slide into that same abyss, clearly indicated by its recent support for the TSK and all other Turkish security force operations against Kurds, whether aimed at Kurdish military or political targets.

All of those who loudly clamor for the end of PKK, know exactly what they are clamoring for, and that is the complete destruction of the Kurdish people under Turkish occupation, in any way that it can be accomplished--by forced assimilation or by death. There is no way, otherwise, to remove PKK. Every time in the past, when the Ankara regime has declared the end of the PKK, it has always raised a defiant head, because that defiance which characterizes the Kurdish resistance, and which is derived from love of Kurdistan, is the inspiration for Kurds to seek an answer from the mountains. If there had ever been a political avenue under Turkish occupation for Kurds to use to insure justice, or if Turkey's allies, the US and EU, had ever used diplomatic and political means to end the severe repression of Kurds under Turkish-occupation, there would have been no need for Kurdish armed resistance. Apparently, it was not in the self-interests of these parties to seek justice for Kurds, it is not in their self-interests now, and it will not be in their self-interests in the future. Reliance upon them is, therefore, futile. Joost Lagendijk's current visit to Turkey reinforces Rice's recent visit on the matter of Kurds, as well as PKK. In fact, as Lagendijk's recent statement proves, the EU believes that Kurds will, one way or another, be forcibly assimilated.

The last item in the commentary article at Israpundit mentions the approval of the US for Turkish action against Kurds, even against South Kurdistan, saying, "Condi Rice has given the Turks the go-ahead to butcher the Kurds once again." Continued US support for butchering Kurds is consistent with past policies. However, there is an new angle from which to view future butchery, and that is the recent discovery of oil in South Kurdistan by the Norwegian company, DNO. It is no longer merely Kerkuk or Mûsil that are lucrative possibilities for Turkish militarist expansionism, but now all of South Kurdistan is a cash cow to be milked dry by the perpetually dismal Turkish economy. Why should Turkey be content to serve as the terminus for so many pipeline schemes, when it could own, by invasion, one entire system, at least, from beginning to end?

For a backgrounder on the energy question, the Baku Ceyhan Campaign site is a must read.

Everyone agrees there are deals to be had and profits to be made, with the only fly in the ointment being "terrorism," Kurdish "terrorism" in this case. Since HAMAS doesn't suffer from the region's curse--oil--they are acceptable partners for everyone. Kurds, on the other hand, are not acceptable partners, because the Kurdish dream of independence would reduce the control of Kurdish oil by occupiers. It is in the self-interests of the US, the EU, Turkey, and the rest of Kurdistan's neighbors to manipulate the current political situation in order to guarantee their full exploitation of Kurdish resources. Since it has become clear, through the experiment in self-rule in South Kurdistan, that Kurds are more than capable of governing themselves, it means that all Kurds are more than capable of the same.

Will the future, shaped by the enemies of Kurdistan, guarantee places on The List® for the KDP and PUK, as it does now for the PKK? Will the Kurds of the South become "Bad" then? When that happens, will it serve as the catalyst to Kurdish unity, or will it fuel greater division? The answer to such a question is moot, but the proposal of such a question means that it is time to remove all blinders and see the situation as it truly is. Now is the time for Kurdish political organizations to engage in pan-confederalism, leaving behind the divisions of the past and working together to use all others for pan-Kurdish self-interest.

If you listen carefully, you will hear the sound of hoofbeats. This is the sound of the Four Horsemen of the next Kurdish apocalypse. They may be distant yet, but it sounds to me as if they are coming this way.




[An NPR report on Iranian bombing of PKK/PJAK can be heard here]

ON A MUCH LIGHTER NOTE . . . There are some great photos of Yezidi kids here, here, and here by Onnik Krikorian from Oneworld Multimedia. The main page for this blog is in the sidebar, and I suggest you check out Onnik regularly, as he posts a lot of info and photos on Yezidi Kurds and Kurds often. The photos are always great.

10 comments:

Dymphna said...

I take exception to your interpretation of my blog's report on what Turkey and Iran are doing around Kirkuk. As I said, the Kurds deserve their own sovereign territory and they've earned it.

Here's a quote:

"The problem in Iraq right now is: The Kurds seem to be the only ones who know what they are doing and why. They’re a motivated people with a HISTORY of having, and desiring independence."

There were other complimentary things said, except for one person who wanted to dismiss it all as "terrorism."

Americans in general admire the Kurds.

Thanks for the links to the photos.

PHILIP said...

Mizgin, I have to concur w/Dymphna on that, her [?] thread on the blog was extremely sympathetic to the Kurds, the phrase of "using the Kurds" seemed 100% non-cynical, shorthand for "support for the Kurds that will have many benefits for the US," and many references to the injustices that the US has done to the Kurdish cause over the years.

I urge the Rasti readers to read it themselves and draw their own conclusions.

BTW, is there any org in the US devoted to defending the rights of the Kurds in Turkey? Armenians and Greeks are well-organized to lobby for their interests here, why not the Kurds? As supportive as the US people are for the Kurds, they will never have an adequate understanding without the best-informed guidance "straight from the homeland."

Such an org wd be SOOOOOO valuable these days, as the cynical slobs at the USDOS are preparing to sell out the Kurds...AGAIN. :-(

Mizgîn said...

Dymphna, I was specifically refering to "some of the comments on" your blog post, not your post per se, because it was some of the comments that refered to the use of Kurds.

This idea of "using Kurds" is nothing new and even if it hasn't been articulated in the past, everyone is fully aware of it and Kurds have put up with it, to a certain extent, in order to survive. But I have sensed lately that it is a fact of life that needs to be articulated and discussed, plus I think it is time that the tables were turned.

Americans, in general, admire Kurds of Iraqi-occupied Kurdistan because those Kurds fought a guy that ended up not being useful to the US anymore. They don't really know or care about the majority of Kurds on the planet. They never have.

Even if Americans, in general, admired the Kurdish people as a whole, admiration does not count for anything in the face of continuing repression of Kurds. Admiration is not going to release Kurdish children from Turkish prisons, pressure the Syrian Ba'ath regime to release Kurdish political prisoners, end Iranian repression, de-arabize Kerkuk, or end the question of so-called Kurdish "terrorists." Only Kurdish resistance will do these things.

There have been a number of bloggers recently who have written about their trips to South Kurdistan, but these are merely exotic travelogues and they will not inspire Americans to become serious about demanding any changes in American foreign policy, because Americans, in general, don't care. There is a chasm between Kurdish interests and American interests, between the Kurdish view of the world and the American view of the world. Too many Kurds have been lost in that chasm.

Phil, instead of a lobby, which will also be useless in changing American foreign policy, why doesn't the US sell aircraft and heavy weapons systems to Kurds so that they can defend themselves? Isn't this what the Jews wanted in 1947, which the British denied them? Isn't this what the people of Kosovo wanted, which the entire international community denied them?

Ultimately, no one will rely on the sale of weapons systems either, because there are always the mountains, always a few AK47s, always the legendary Kurdish stubborness that not even the US can overcome.

philip said...

:Phil, instead of a lobby, which will also be useless in changing American foreign policy:

WRONG!! A lobby is THE ONLY THING that changes any foreign policy.

:, why doesn't the US sell aircraft and heavy weapons systems to Kurds so that they can defend themselves?:

Because a conglomeration of LOBBIES [Turks, Arabs, etc] is opposed to it, and there is insufficient countervailing lobbying to change that.

: Isn't this what the Jews wanted in 1947, which the British denied them?:

And so did the US. The pro-Israel lobby really did not gain any traction until the late 1970's.

Mizgin, why didn't the US EVER recognize the Soviet occupation of the Baltics? Was it because our govt steadfastly believed they'd be liberated, while Poland or Czech never would? NO, it was because those states at the time of their enslavement had active and demanding emigre' communities here that agitated for their cause even when they were far more captive than the Kurds ever have been, and that lobbying continued right up until their liberation in 1990-91.

philip said...

:Admiration is not going to release Kurdish children from Turkish prisons, pressure the Syrian Ba'ath regime to release Kurdish political prisoners, end Iranian repression, de-arabize Kerkuk, or end the question of so-called Kurdish "terrorists." Only Kurdish resistance will do these things.:

Totally agree, but those achievements can be done much quicker, and at far less cost, if the Kurds have more international support. You're not really denying that, are you?

Anonymous said...

There IS an American-Kurdish organisation devoted at defending the rights of Kurds in Northern Kurdistan(a.k.a. "southeast Turkey").

It's called American-Kurdish Information Network and can be found at www.kurdistan.org

And Mizgîn, I read your blog comments with the greatest interest and check it every day for new comments, thank you for doing this for the Kurds.

philip said...

Anonymous, thanx, I am planning a letter to my Congressman and Senators, so I want to have some info that is not based on a blog (not that it is inaccurate, it just carries less weight than some org, political reality).

Mizgîn said...

Philip, my reference to 1947 was regarding arms sales, not lobbies.

"Totally agree, but those achievements can be done much quicker, and at far less cost, if the Kurds have more international support. You're not really denying that, are you?"

Define "quicker." Quicker than what? The international community, especially in Europe, has known about the situation for years and it remains the same. Diplomacy has not worked. Political avenues have not worked. Ceasefires have not worked. EU accession doesn't work. So it seems to me there is only one way left to go.

I would definitely prefer a kinder, gentler way, but that way does not work.

You're welcome, Anonymous. Consider this a labor of love, and by that standard, love far outweighs labor.

I would say that I have one major criticism of AKIN, and that is that it does not appear to have a strong grassroots base. I don't know why, but that is simply my observation.

philip said...

MY reference to 1947 was also to arms sales, whch the US denied to Israel except for some pathetically insignificant exceptions. Remember that the Eastern Elite DOS Establishment was far MORE dominant ~60 years ago, and ALSO was wired in with many Arab oil sheikhs, foremost Ibn Saud.

Israel was able to fight back in 1947-48 w/weapons [illegally] smuggled from WWII stocks by sympathetic Jews and gentiles from all of the Allied countries, as well as some fairly significant help from Iosif Stalin, who saw it as a means to break up the British Empire in the Mideast. If the Jews had a REAL lobby in 1947, and the US had really come down on their side, suffice it to say that the "West Bank," Golan and Sinai wd not need to have been captured in 1967, and many Israeli lives and limbs would have been spared.

I can't quantify "sooner" for you. I guess that it only matters to you if you or your loved ones are the ones killed/maimed/imprisoned/tortured in the time frame that is "longer."

However, do you think the Kurds have EVER had any kind of international support vs Turkey? How can we say a theory has failed when it has never been tested? As you rightly document on this blog every week, Turkey has led a charmed diplomatic life for ~75 years. with no substantive pressure, or even skepticism, from any international quarter.

BTW, I hope you are not inferring that I am recommending the Kurds abandon their armed resistance. I merely think their resistance will be complemented, and thus more effective, if it will be supplemented by international diplomatic pressure (as well as domestic pressure from within Turkey).

I agree that AKIN tries hard, but it really seems to be a one-man gang. Effective lobbying groups can be quite small (a few dozen people?), but there seems to be some irreducible minimum, that is more than "one."

Mizgîn said...

Philip, Kurds have never had any international support that didn't melt away eventually.

As for documenting the problem, I am not the only one. For the moment, it is the only thing I can do, although I think I will have as much success as Senator Pell did, documenting numerous genocides, day in and day out, in the US Senate, during the years he was there.

No matter what I do or say, legitimate armed resistance will continue. Turkey continues to close every political avenue to Kurds, no matter if they are in Turkey or outside, so armed resistance, because it isn't as easy to deal with as arresting politicians or activists or expelling human rights workers, must continue.

I am really surprised at people who think that only peaceful means will help Kurds, because it was brilliantly clear to me last year that things were going to get worse. A person would have had to be totally blind or totally stupid to be ignorant of the whole atmosphere (and I mean specifically those peaceniks who go to Kurdistan, close their eyes to all that's going on around them, so that they can sing a few lines of "Michael row your boat ashore" and feel good about peace), in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan last year.

Before last year, people would say that things had gotten better, but now, of course, we can look back and see that things really did not improve, it was simply that the war was in a lull due to the ceasefire, but nothing, in fact, had changed. The five years of the ceasefire were an opportunity which the Turkish state failed to make use of and now we see clearly that no matter what happens, the state has no intention whatsoever of improving anything for Kurds.

And I know you are not opposed to the use of arms, but a reminder: As far as PKK goes, and in spite of the lies of the Turkish state regarding all things PKK, the ARGK (military) was always subordinate to the ERNK (political), with the ARGK being used, as it should be, as a tool to help reach political goals. The majority of Kurds (and non-Kurds) affiliated with PKK, were affiliated through ERNK and they were working politically.