By Charles G. Macdonald, Carole A. O'Leary
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Extra resources for Kurdish Identity: Human Rights and Political Status
Saddam’s intended policy was to reduce the Kurds to a status of a nonpeople. One can find an element of Kurdish identity in a variety of sources. For the Kurds, the uprising of the spring of 1991 and what followed has been a threshold event with unparalleled consequences. It notably affected the dynamics of Kurdish politics in its domestic, regional, and international dimensions. Regardless of what triggered it and how it was led, the 1991 uprising shook the Kurds out of their trauma caused by the violence inflicted upon them in the late 1980s.
It also assumes that a Kurdish settlement can and will be endorsed by all major political groups within the coalition and thus will lessen the chances of the ruling party’s arbitrary disavowal of responsibility later. The peripheral status of the Kurds within the states ruling over them and their general lack of access to power within the larger central political system seem to rule against the possibility of the Kurds dictating or even strongly influencing decisions in their favor. Solidarity with the Kurds is one form of alliance that could be aimed at establishing democracy and extending equal rights of self-determination to the various nationalities of a pluralist country.
Social scientists need to look for alternatives to encourage reconciliation. As long as the Kurds battle each other, no one can do anything for them. External forces will continue to manipulate events. As long as the Iraqi question is not settled—an outcome that affects everyone—Kurds will be manipulated. Something has to happen in Iraq. Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani need one another. They should write a position paper together on reconciliation. What is the possibility of integration in areas where the Kurdish standard of living is on the rise?