Kurdistan Bloggers Union Kurdistan Bloggers Union: December 2005

Saturday, December 31, 2005 

Lets hope 2006 will be a better year for KBU

Thursday, December 29, 2005 

BBC Interview

As most of you know, I write a weekly column covering Kurdish Bloggers for a website called Global Voices. I will be interviewed tomorrow to discuss the year in Kurdish blogs on the BBC Radio show World Have Your Say, from 1845 to 1900 GMT. If you have time, please tune in.


Dr. Kamal Campaign

please spread the words and sign this petition to free Dr. Kamal.
I posted about the subject earlier in my blog. If we don't report about this news and make the world aware of this more people criticising the Kurdish leaders might be thrown into prisons and our prisons might be full of intellectuals and writers.

There is an English petition on this page please consider signing :


Tuesday, December 27, 2005 

Amed Photos

I found this link to a photo set of Amed/Diyarbakir. The pictures are wonderful, the faces familiar to me...Amed is the only place in the world where I have ever felt like I was at home, and these made me rather homesick. Enjoy.

Monday, December 26, 2005 

Oh dear....MOBESE is moving South!

You may or may not have heard about MOBESE, which is a massive surveillance camera system that monitors the streets for the Turkish police. The project was started after some success with similar systems in New York, Athens, and London. At the moment there are cameras in Istanbul and Ankara. Part of me likes the idea of police officers watching the streets and responding when something is wrong, and then the rational side of me screams "IT'S BIG BROTHER! THEY AREN'T THERE TO PROTECT YOU! THEY ARE THERE TO MONITOR YOU!"

Well MOBESE is moving south, Zaman online is reporting that plans are in the works for installing the cameras in Cizre, Sirnak, and Silopi as the FIRST PHASE of the project. Officials are openly stating that the cameras are being installed to find PKK sympathizers in the streets. Forget about fighting crime, trying to protect the people, let's spy on everyone and try to wrongly arrest even more people! If you ask me, the Turkish police would be a hundred times more effective if they were out walking the streets like police officers do all over the world rather than spend their time stopping every car that looks interesting on the highway! -sorry, I got carried away there...

What can be done? Sadly not much, they are going to install the cameras no matter what happens...however there is a group of people, aptly named NOBESE-(ahh! people after my own heart)- who are protesting the cameras' installment by performing in front of them. Their motto is "since we are being watched, why not perform?" So they perform in front of the cameras, partly to annoy (or entertain) the police watching, and partly to make a statement about how they feel about the system. So let's hope that a Kurdish chapter of NOBESE is started soon!

Sunday, December 25, 2005 

NYTimes Book Review

There is an excerpt from the new Stephen Kinzer book Kurds in Turkey: The Big Change. I am not the biggest Kinzer fan, but it looks like it might be an interesting read. Here is a little bit of it:

A book fair was underway while I was in Diyarbakir. At the first stand I visited, wedged between Turkish translations of War and Peace and For Whom the Bell Tolls, I found a selection of books with titles like History of Kurdistan and Turkey's Kurdish Problem. No such books could possibly have been sold here during the 1990s, when the very word "Kurdistan" was taboo and the term "Kurdish problem" was taken to refer to an illegal form of separatism.

"Before, we were afraid to speak out," a Kurdish writer named Lutfi Baski told me at the fair. "The government was insisting that there were no Kurds, that there was no Kurdish language or culture. They arrested us and closed our organizations. Now, so much has changed, especially in the last few months. Our problems haven't been solved, not at all, but at least we can talk about them honestly. It's a huge difference."

Later that day, I walked past city hall and saw a large banner advertising a conference that was being held inside. Its subject was "The European Union Accession Process and the Kurdish Problem." When I walked into the packed hall, a local politician was delivering a passionate harangue.

"For so many years, the Turkish state called us criminals, saying that it was not possible to have dialogue with us and that we had to be crushed," he told the rapt crowd. "This is the repeated tragedy that created the Kurdish problem. The only reason Kurds were forced to begin armed struggle was the way the Turkish state has treated Kurds at every stage in the history of this country."

These would have been highly dangerous words a couple of years ago. Even now, police agents monitor and videotape conferences like this one. Their presence, however, did nothing to intimidate the speakers in Diyarbakir. "They watch us just like before, but they can't do anything to us anymore," one man told me. "This is a democracy now. We're becoming European. The state can't touch us."

Saturday, December 24, 2005 

Hyphenated Ethnicity

The subject of hyphenated ethnicity is not new to this forum, I know that I have advocated it in the past. Within Turkey the advocation of acceptance of hyphenated ethnicity (a Turkish-Kurd or a Kurdish-Turk for instance) would lead to alot of the unrest being quelled. However that would also have to change a lot of Turkish ultranationalist mindsets in order to happen. Amerikan Turk, which is a blog written by a moderate Turk (yes they DO exist) living in the United States, has a post about this topic. I draw attention to it today because I think that it represents hope as the it shows how the mindset of the average Turk is changing. He also has a rather amusing post about wanting to find a t-shirt that says "I am not a Turk".

This may seem to be an odd post, but I find that at times we all tend to get rather pessimistic about the future (with the exception of the current happening in Southern Kurdistan), and in a little way, this sort of shows that all hope is not lost.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 

The Importance of Voice

I have been relatively blessed in being born in America, I have grown up in a world where I can state my own opinion without fear of reprisal...in fact, until I left the country and saw how others lived, I didn't even know that others could be persecuted for their thoughts and beliefs.

I now know better.

In my dealings with the issue of Kurdistan and the Kurdish blogger friends that I have been so fortuate to make, I have realized the extreme importance of the individual voice and ensuring that voice is protected.

I believe that there are many many other Kurdish voices just waiting to break out and say what they have been so desperately wanting to say to the world. I also believe that many of those voices remain silent because they are afraid that they will not be protected if they speak out. Rest assured, you are part of a larger community, a larger family, who wants to ensure your welfare. There are many guides out there that can help you learn how to blog anonymously and safely. The best guide out there by far is the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents from Reporters without Borders. There are many Anonymous Blogging Guide sites out there to use as a resourse, as well as the Committee to Protect Bloggers. These guides are also translated into multiple languages to aid you as well.

So remember my friends, you have a family here just waiting to take you into our arms. Let yourself be heard.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 

Kurdish Bloggers in the News

Charles Chapman of the Is-Ought Problem, recently had an article of his published on KurdishMedia, Will Iraqi Kurdistan teach Turkey about Freedom of Speech?

He has consistantly proven himself to be an objective voice of the Kurds, and should be on your read list.

Bilal Wahab from Better Kurdistan and Iraq got to meet the President of the United States on December 15th, the day marking the parlimentary elections in Iraq. I have seen his photo all over the news in the US, and I think that it is wonderful!

And for some work that should be in the news....The wonderful job Roj Bash! and From Holland to Kurdistan have been doing in bringing some of the personal stories of Kurds voting in the Iraqi elections in Europe. Hiwa Hopes and Kurdo's World have also had some excellent election coverage.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 

Kurdish Tea?

I find something new everyday. Today I found a recipe for Kurdish Tea. I have never had tea like this when I lived in Northern Kurdistan, does anyone know what region it is from?


1 tb India tea leaves
1 Cinnamon stick, 4"
2 c -water, boiling
Sugar cubes

The Kurds like this sweet, aromatic tea. The cubes of sugar are dissolved in the mouth as the tea is drunk,the sweeter the better.

Put the tea and cinnamon in a tea pot and pour in the boiling water. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Serve hot with sugar cubes. Serves 4.

From: "Sephardic Cooking" by Copeland Mark -- 600 Recipes Created in Exotic Sephardic Kitchens from Morocco to India -- Copyright 1992 Published by Donald I. Fine,Inc., New York, N.Y.

Friday, December 16, 2005 

An alternative opinion?

So I found this post today from a blog entitled Agnoiologist. He has an interesting perceptive about an independent Kurdistan and why the US should have pushed for it:
We should've pushed for an independent Kurdistan, and I wonder if it's still not too late. I guess so because of the constitution. Perhaps certain persons in Iraq would not have liked it, but it would've been in the best US interests. I do not believe the insurgents would've attacked Kurdistan. It does not make any sense. Also, the Kurds would've been more willing to allow the establishment of a US base and maybe even to share in the oil revenue. I guess we'll never know for sure, but I think it would've helped stabilize Iraq. It would've been one less faction to worry about when drawing up the Iraqi Constitution and during elections in general. Heck, we might've even been able to set up a government more to our tastes in Kurdistan.

I think that he is correct on the possibility of an independent Kurdistan stabilizing Iraq, but I don't think he is on the mark about the United States setting up a government that is "more to our tastes". Either way, I thought that it was an interesting example of what people who are not well versed in the nuances of Kurdistan and typing about.

*This is an aside, but I just ran the blogger spellcheck and the term "blog" came up as incorrect. Can somebody tell who was the numbnuts who let that slip by.

Monday, December 12, 2005 

New Badge

I know that I am personally not someone to want big logos on my site, I prefer little badges. So I decided to make one for KBU, you are more than welcome to use it---and if you think that it is utter crap, you can make your own. However if you like it, just put the following code into your template:

Image hosted by TinyPic.com

Add our badge :

Sunday, December 11, 2005 

New Project from Delal

Hello everybody!
I have been toying with this idea for quite a while and I finally managed to get around to setting the whole process up. There is now a Kurdistan Blog Count. (Designed around the same purpose as the Iraq Blog Count) I felt that it was important to have a place to link all of the Kurdish links, and moniter the Kurdish bloggers to see if they are alright. For example, Medya's site appears to be down, so is someone checking to see if he is ok--he is as he is posting on the Roj Bosh forum--but the question remains, what happens if someone stops blogging and we don't notice? We all hope that the worst wouldn't happen, but if something does, we need to be ready to mobilize. Other items...Kurdish Lily's site link has apparently been hijacked. As well as the Kurdish Club site has been hacked into by the Turks. We need to be monitoring these types of things and help out where we can.

I know that the link list will never be complete, but if anyone else would like to help with this it would be much appreciated. I especially need someone who would be willing to help with the links/posts from bloggers who blog in Kurdish as there really isn't a list of blogs that include all of the languages that Kurdish bloggers blog in. (But I will take anyone that wants to help.) So if you are interested in helping out, please send me an email, or comment directly on the site itself. And before anyone asks, no this is not meant to take over the space created by the Kurdistan Bloggers Union, only to supplement it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 

Problems with Kurdish democracy: Unrest in Duhok

Today in Duhok [South-Kurdistan] the political office of the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) went up in flames reported Nefel.com. This happened after a group of youngsters got into trouble with with members of the IUK. As a result a big fight broke out.

The Asayish (Kurdish security forces) were right at the spot and the firemen tried to extinguish the fire. But this was in vain. The building could not be saved. Because of the unrest 24 people got wounded including 7 civilians, 7 members of the KIU and 10 Asayish policemen. According to Reuters there also were 4 deaths, including the leader of the Islamic Union in Duhok. Rumours say he was only wounded. But the reports about this event are very unclear. According to Netkurd there were also attacks in Zakho (a place near Duhok) against the KIU.

Yesterday there were also problems, when young people tried to take away the Kurdish flag of the KIU building. These Kurdistan alliance supporters claimed, that the KIU doesn’t have the right to use a Kurdish flag, because they aren’t part of the Kurdistani Alliance, but went to the elections separately. The Islamic group has been criticised for the decision to leave the main Kurdish electoral bloc at a time when competition for votes is getting tougher. This decision of the KIU reflects rumblings of discontent with the two main Kurdish parties and their supporters, which are already predicted to lose some seats as more Sunni Arabs seek representation.

The unrest in the city is still there. People tried to evade all political offices. This case is very sensitive and will be a big influence on the people of Kurdistan, because of the elections in 7 days.

In the election three big parties will participate: PCDK 779, Kurdistani Alliance 730 and Kurdistan Islamic Union 561. (Thanks to Hiwa for translating the manifests of the parties)

I translated this, because it’s important for the Kurdish people to realise this isn’t democracy. You cannot burn down someone’s office, because you don’t agree with them. Several KIU adverts were smashed too.

Smashed Yekgirtu (Kurdish name for KIU) advert in Hawler

The Kurdish president of South-Kurdistan Massoud Barzani condemned the attacks and promised to arrest the people who were behind the attack. He said that every party is free in his opinion. Although he claims to be democratic, the security agents of his party arrested the writer Dr. Kamal Said Qadir for criticism on Barzani and the Kurdish people. (Read more here TheKurdistani.com). It’s not clear if Barzani wanted the writer to be arrested, but later he said he could walk out, if he [the writer]wrote an apology letter. It’s clear there has a lot to be done to democratise Kurdistan after decades of war and insecurity. There was also an article of Michael Rubin, who spoke about corruption in the Kurdish government. He wrote that "the Iraqi Kurdish leadership is more consumed with self-enrichment".

I am not saying that South-Kurdistan is a non-democratic regime now or that I am against the ruling Kurdish parties. I am just saying it's still a long road to democracy and that this is a logicial situation. It was a long road for all countries and nations in the world to become fully democratic. But it's in my opinion that Kurdistan cannot become democratic without criticism!! If South-Kurdistan is really a democracy, the democratic forces [media, people, etc] will bring the system in check.

Alastair Farrugia used to say:"Freedom is when the people can speak, democracy is when the government listens." It's time for the government to listen more, but also for the Kurdish people to think about the meaning of democracy.

- Vladimir van Wilgenburg

Sunday, December 04, 2005 

Delal has been very active recently..She has been doing a great job in introducing us to new bloggers..I would like to announce some great news for the Kurdistan Bloggers.

A Kurdish website has agreed to support bloggers... They have created a page for technical support page. (such as the two codes I use on my blog)... Feel free to ask them any questions regarding your blog issues...

They have also agreed to create an active platform with a better blogging tool to host Kurdistan Bloggers Union.

Weldone Bloggers... We are almost there...


Friday, December 02, 2005 

Someone explain this to me....

Last week, Vladimir posted an article from Rebar Jaff from The Globe, siteing an incident where Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Erdogan left a news conference after learning that reporters from Roj TV were there. Erdogan has a history of not liking the Kurds in general, and just when we think that we have everything figured out he makes statements like this:

"We are all citizens of the republic of Turkey under that upper identity," he said. However all Turks have "sub-identities," Erdogan said. "No one should be offended by this. A Kurd can say 'I am a Kurd.'"

Whoa! Please raise your hand if you saw that one coming. Yeah, I didn't raise mine as well. This sounds wonderful for the Kurds of Northern Kurdistan, but I feel a little apprehensive.

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