The Dream City Of The Kurds

Michael J. Totten has some amazing images from Iraqi Kurdistan. Totten actually travelled to the northern Iraqi city of Erbil to learn firsthand about life in the middle of a war zone, and his impressions are nothing short of amazing.

18 years ago, the face of the Iraqi Kurds was the terrible image of a Kurdish boy, mouth and eyes still open, laying dead in a field in Halabja, the victim of an Iraqi chemical weapon attack. It was the image of the dead mother and the dead child, the mother’s last action to hold her child close as Saddam Hussein’s chemical cloud snuffed their lives out forever.

Today, it’s this:

Kurdish Dream City

The image we have of Iraq has always been a place of great suffering, with daily car bombs and the constant fear of terrorist attacks. Yet in the north of the country, the Kurds have created an island of stability. Kurdish peshmerga forces, some of the most trained and effective paramilitaries on the planet, keep the peace and keep groups like al-Qaeda out. Kurdish businessmen are working towards making their “Dream City” a reality, and construction has already began – ironically enough with the help of Turkish construction firms.

The Kurds are fiercely pro-American, industrious, and have made their corner of Iraq into a stable and prosperous place. With all the fighting and terrorism going on in Iraq it seems odd that there’s such an incredibly modern and beautiful city being built in the middle of the desert. Yet that is exactly what the Kurds intend to do, and I’d put good money that they’ll pull it off.

18 years ago, the Kurds were on the run from Saddam’s death squads and chemical attacks. Today, they’re trying to build a better future for themselves and creating ambitious plans to create an island of humanity in a place scarred by decades of man’s inhumanity to man. Given what they’ve gone through, to go from a living nightmare to a dream city is a monumental accomplishment indeed.

One thought on “The Dream City Of The Kurds

  1. One problem continues to be that this new Kurdish dream is one totally devoid of pluralistic vision. Masoud Barzani’s KDP aligned miltias continue a campaign of systematic intimidation of non Kurds living in this so called Kurdistan. The Assyrian National Information Network has documented many cases of abuse and sometimes killings of Assyrians and Chaldeans who live in the Kurdish north. Kurdish people have long been talented at exterminating Assyrians, as they did this with much skill in the early 20th century. The Yezidis, Turkmen and Arabs have fared little better. The status of both Kirkuk and Mosul need to be worked out as these are not exclusively Kurdish cities. The US Administration seems to be turning a blind eye to what Barzani’s thugs are doing on the ground. The Kurdish people have suffered much, and I have sympathy for them. However the image we get of them must be more nuanced and objective. Their hard work and dedication to modernization must be matched by a commitment by a commitment to treat non-Kurds justly and to egalitarianism (in Turkey, the Kurdish regions are where women suffer the most). Jalal Talabani is a more moderate man than Barzani and I hope his influence can lead towards a truly modern and pluralistic Kurdish region in Iraq. However if there is support for the marxism of Abdalla Ocalan or a revival of the Kurdish Hezbollah which is active in Turkey, then I see more problems than success. The jury is still out, but certainly there are enough decent Kurdish people to see of the the chauvanists.

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