By Kani Xulam
August 15, 2015
When you visited Washington last May, the Kurdish media hailed your trip as a glowing success.
Was it really?
Some Kurds wonder—and with good cause.
First, some general observations: The Turkish pundits said your meeting with President Obama would last five minutes.
It lasted thirty.
That may be bad news for the Turks, who can’t stand Kurds with aspirations of equality and if need be equal time with heads of foreign states, but it is good news for 20 million Kurds inside Turkey who often see the world through distorted Turkish eyes.
The meeting with Vice-President Biden, who also invited you to his private residence for breakfast, was good, since he is the most Kurdish-friendly politician in the Obama Administration.
If it were up to him, our little Kurdistan, which has elected you as its president, would have already been on its way to freedom from the counterfeit state of Iraq when Bush was president.
But Biden, forced to ride the Washington “consensus” bandwagon, urged you, for the benefit of bigots abroad and timid at home, to recommit yourself to the sinking ship of state called Iraq.
He doesn’t believe any of it, and it is our bad luck that he occupies the mansion on Massachusetts Avenue instead of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue!
Away from Mr. Obama and his entourage, I am sure he was his usual self, as he was when he was in Hawler, Kurdistan, and spoke to you in person and from the heart.
What did he tell you Mr. President? I can’t wait to put my hands on his memoirs or yours!
After breakfast, two Washington institutions, Atlantic Council and the United States Institute of Peace, hosted you for a conversation on the complicated Kurdish American relationship.
I watched you as you interacted with a roomful of Washingtonians.
You offered yourself relaxed, measured and kind. You didn’t ruffle any feathers, and committed no blunders.
If you were representing a free country at peace with itself and its neighbors, there would have been no need for this opinion piece.
But a new and different kind of war has cast its ugly shadow over the Kurds and Kurdistan.
Not a day goes by without a Kurdish fighter being buried and some days the figures are in double digits and sometimes three.
In other words, you need help to lead the Kurds to safety Mr. President.
My musings are offered in that spirit.
Take, for example, the question that Jacqueline Isaac, a lawyer and humanitarian, asked you: “Your Excellency, how do you plan to rescue 4,000 enslaved Kurdish girls?”
She then added that she was going to testify before a committee of the United States Congress on the topic in a few days.
You mildly told her that Arab tribes who had secretly sided with the Islamic State had authored this latest Kurdish tragedy, and that you had so far rescued some 1,300 of these girls and are trying your best to free the rest.
That might be a good answer—in Amed, Kurdistan.
Implying that unless Kurds are united, they will forever be the proverbial helpless mouse at the mercy of predatory Arab, Persian and Turkish cats with no prospects of emancipation in our lifetimes!
But the capital of Americans, with all due respect to you, required a different answer, one that should account for the differences between the children of Thomas Jefferson and those of Ehmede Xani.
In other words, you could have made Ms. Isaac’s blood boil—and possibly earned Kurds some firm allies—by tossing her some Ciceronian raw meat:
“Ten months ago, the families of our daughters sadly trusted their Arab neighbors for their safety—only to be betrayed and enslaved by horrific psychopaths of Islamic State.
Today, some of them, it pains me to note, have now given birth to bastard offspring who will be churned into fanatical enemies of all freedom-loving people.
While we have rescued some of these grieving daughters, honesty compels to tell you that we lack the means to free the rest from their despotic cruelty.
Because we desperately need guns.
We badly need training.
We need your indignant pressure to light brushfires of freedom under an indifferent, lukewarm Washington to help rescue our enslaved girls.
I cautioned President Obama of the harsh, unforgiving judgment of history ominously looming over us like the draconian Sword of Damocles if we dilly-dally about rescue efforts.
A future historian might frighteningly observe:
‘The slavery that ended on Lincoln’s bold watch, raised its hateful head again during the timid reign of Obama, the father of two lovely daughters who were descendants of slaves.’
When you testify before Congress, bluntly urge lawmakers to lift the absurd ban on directly arming the Kurds.”
Such a heartfelt answer might have rattled a few status-quo huggers—the collaborating offspring of Benedict Arnold.
But many who love liberty would have stood up and cheered!
And those familiar with the classics would have said, he acted like General Odysseus of Troy fame; he knew how to “fit” the occasion!
For the sake of our girls from Shingal, be like Odysseus, Mr. President!