May 16, 2016

Events that normally happen once in a hundred years in Europe and America are taking place in a week one after the other in the vicinity of Kurdish lands with profound consequences for the Kurds.

Stunning pictures from Baghdad reveal the destruction of the parliament building, as if someone was hoisting a “Rest in Peace” sign on the poisonous experiment called the state of Iraq.

The news may be bad for Arabs, but there is a silver lining for the Kurds: Baghdad may soon assume its proper mission as the capital of Arabs—only, leaving us—Kurds, free to opt for a capital of our own.

Warlike news also swirled from the Turkish capital of Ankara, where bare-knuckle deputies—Kurdish and Turkish—brawled like back-alley cats and dogs in parliament, outdoing the unpredictable Shiite protestors of Muqtada al-Sadr.

That too can be considered good news for the Kurds.

State-shunning Kurdish deputy Idris Baluken, who thinks states are relicts of the past, was nearly lynched by his state-worshipping Turkish colleagues.

Perhaps the beating cured him of that fantasy.

Incredible as both events were, neither can match the new Turkish video that premiered on YouTube on April 26, 2016.

Titled, “I am lonely Ataturk,” a portly Turkish soldier took to the airwaves in Amed (Diyarbakir), the unofficial capital of Turkish Kurdistan.

For those unfamiliar, the Sur district of Amed, which encompasses the old walled city, has been declared a military zone since December 2015.

Hundreds of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish fighters have died battling each other in its narrow alleyways for the past six months.

Dead Turkish soldiers have been lionized with elaborate state burials—while Kurdish partisans have been forcibly left to rot where they fell.

Twenty million Kurds in Turkey and two million Kurds in Diyarbakir cannot persuade the Muslim president of Turkey to let them give an Islamic ritual, immediate burial, to their dead.

While Kurdish bodies continue to decay on the ground, the Turkish prime minister announced plans to rebuild the city like Toledo, Spain, even promising to invest in one of its refurbished homes for himself.

Alarmed at that prospect, our rap-singer-wannabe Turkish soldier must have said, “I better hop to my song now, before the destroyed Sur blossoms into that sparkling new Spanish city.”

The upshot is a video clip that has entertained the Turks, who lavishly praise it on the Internet.

It has enraged Kurds.

The video plays one song, but there are two voices.

The first one is a nameless commanding officer shouting orders while our amateur rapper is squatting in a destroyed Kurdish living room imagining his next kill.

He hears:

“Kill them in the name of God.

“Kill them in the name of Prophet.

“Kill them in the name of martyrs.”

Being an obedient soldier, he grabs his pistol and starts crooning his lyrics as he swaggers through war-ravaged Sur district alleys, passing occasional Turkish flags for dramatic effect.

His dreadful drivel celebrates Turkish ignorance and brutality disguised as valor and enlightenment.

The song starts with a lament addressed to Ataturk, the founder of Turkey.

The singer mourns the loss of Ataturk’s six ideals: Republicanism, Nationalism, Populism, Revolutionism, Secularism and Statism.

He urges the founder of Turkey to rise from his deep sleep and notice the despised “Armenians” and their “counterfeits.”

The “Zionists” have plotted with the “Greeks” to open our harbors to all kinds of shenanigans, he says.

He also slams the “lie” of Kurdish nationalism.

Having identified the problem, he bellows his solution from his cowardly camouflage:

“If you ask me, the answer is simple: if they don’t change their ways, I say, shoot them all in the head.”

The song then lists the names of Turkish soldiers who were killed in Sur with the voice of commanding officer paying them a tribute:

“You have saved the oneness of God. You are as famous as the lions of Badr [a battle the Prophet Mohammed fought]. No grave is big enough to hold you. And even if I try to bury you in history, it will not accept you.”

Is this any different than how Sultan Abdul Hamid II, a favorite of Turkish president, honored his dead soldiers?

There are several problems with the video.

There is a profound disconnect between the racism of Turkish soldier and the religiosity of his commanding officer.

Ataturk insisted on keeping religion out of government affairs—even wrote it into the Turkish Constitution when the republic began in 1923.

Today, this video and Turkey are ridiculing that founding principle, and hurdling toward a theocracy with breakneck speed.

The deluded Turkish soldier may think he is secular. But his officer, his prime minister and his president aren’t, and that doesn’t seem to bother him as much as the secular Kurds do.

But it exposes his rank ignorance, which James Madison, “the father of the [American] Constitution,” felt: it will always bow to knowledge:

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.”

Knowledge, unfortunately, is the missing ingredient from the toolbox of the Kurds, which can erase the shroud of Turkish ignorance, and usher in the bright sunshine of freedom throughout Kurdistan.

Kani Xulam

This opinion piece first appeared in Rudaw.

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