Tuesday, January 01, 2008


"Contrary to the received wisdom, global markets are not unregulated. They are regulated to produce inequality."
~ Kevin Watkins

What happens when globalization comes to Kurdistan? Slavery. From the right-wing reactionaries at the NYTimes:

Thousands of foreign workers have come to the Kurdish districts in the last three years, a huge turnaround for a place that had hardly any before, making it one of the fastest-growing Middle Eastern destinations for the world’s impoverished. They come from Ethiopia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Somalia, supporting an economic boom here that is transforming Kurdish society.

But nearly all foreign workers interviewed over a two-week period here said they had been deceived by unscrupulous agents who arrange the journeys. Unable to communicate, some arrive not knowing what country they are in. Once here, their passports are seized by their employment agencies, and they are unable to go home.

[ . . . ]

Nisha Varia, an investigator with Human Rights Watch, said the combination of unscrupulous brokers in the workers’ home countries and labor practices in Kurdistan left the workers with few options.

Each side denies that it knows what other is doing,” she said. “In reality, they are much more interconnected than that. They are doing business together, and that leads to these recruiting fees and debts, and puts the workers at risk of forced labor.”

I wonder why the NYTimes didn't contact the KRG's Ministry of Human Rights? Surely the ministry should be investigating this situation and the companies involved with this kind of abuse should be kicked out of the South. Additionally, employers in Kurdistan should be hiring Kurds but to do so, they must pay a just wage. After all, all the talk of the "economic boom" is highly misleading. There's only an "economic boom" for those on the take, for the elites, and not for the average Kurd.

But I think we all know very well why this contemporary slavery is tolerated in South Kurdistan. It's tolerated by both the KDP and PUK.

What else happens when globalization comes to Kurdistan? Your enemies take you over. In his interview after the US and Turkey began their air strikes against South Kurdistan, HPG Headquarters Commander Bahoz Erdal noted that the Southern Kurdish leadership "stepped back" after the Turkish parliament's cross-border operation vote. That stepping back has its answer in the tightly interconnected business interests between Ankara and the Barzanîs and Talabanîs. From the hevals at Firat News:

Turkish corporations in South Kurdistan provide heavy financial support to KDP- and PUK-affiliated press and broadcast organizations in order to divert the people from the real face of current military operations, by broadcasting advertisement and variety programs.

Turkish corporations in South Kurdistan began to support KDP- and PUK-affiliated press and broadcasting organizations. At first, the KRG warned Southern media to cut off broadcasting about PKK. Now it has been revealed that Turkish corporations have given over $1 million as "gifts", for advertisement, and as tax.

Immediately following Turkish military operations in South Kurdistan, Turkish corporations which have marketing shares there, such as Oyak, Arçelik, Ülker, Nursoy, and Gürbağ, started to broadcast variety programs on TV, radio, and other satellite-based broadcast media which are affiliated with the KDP and PUK. It is believed that the goal of these attempts is to distract people from Turkish military operations.

KDP General Secretary Fadil Mirani's broadcast organs, such as Vin TV, are heavily supported by Turkish corporations.

Arçelik-Ülker and OYAK corporations organize street competitions and variety programs through Korek Telecom and AsiaCell telephone service operators, which are affiliated with KDP and PUK. These operators promise to give gifts ranging from $100 to $1,000 USD for text messages sent.

Arçelik had promised to deliver large appliances and electronics through the regional and satellite-based TV. As an example, when Turkish military operations began on 16 December, Arçelik started delivering large appliances, such as refrigerators, televisions, washing machines, ovens, and the like, to the people.

In addition, Arçelik is operating a lottery in South Kurdistan. Using the Bayram and New Year holidays as a pretext, it promised to give a brand new car, money, and such gifts to the people.

In addition to this, OYAK, Ülker, and the other Turkish corporations are arranging competitions on the streets where golden Kurdistan flags, made by Southern Kurdish jewelers, are delivered to people.

The irony here is that even though the Ankara regime does not trust the KRG, as HPG's Bahoz Erdal noted, and the Turkish prime minister opposes Kurdish autonomy "even in Argentina. Another irony is that OYAK is the Turkish military's holding company and the other Turkish corporations mentioned in the Firat article (Arçelik, Ülker, Nursoy, and Gürbağ), along with the AKP, belong to Fethullah Gülen's Islamist empire . . . or should I say "caliphate"?

For more on that, see something from Aland Mizell, and his latest, at KurdishMedia.

No wonder the cehş Talabanî is urging Northern Kurds to support the AKP.

No invasion is necessary. The cehş of the South have capitulated for personal gain and the barbarians are inside the gates.

Gordon Taylor at Progressive Historians has translated something of interest to Kurds from Le Monde, and his own comments are to the point [original emphasis]:

Turkey is not, cannot, will not be a truly viable candidate for membership in the EU as long as its government continues in its present form. And there is no power, domestic or foreign, that can change that government in any substantial way for the foreseeable future. Turkey is what it is: a nation where the politicians pretend to govern and armed bullies pretend to let them, a land where the average liberal has more courage than a thousand Americans. Those like me who cherish their memories of this land need to start speaking out. The years of diplomacy and forbearance, of hope for democratic change, have left us with ruined villages, imprisoned journalists, and good people murdered while their killers are congratulated by the police. With that kind of record we may as well try truth.

Too bad the leaders of South Kurdistan cannot admit the same, but it may be too late for that now anyway. They have become irrelevant.

1 comment:

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