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This story was originally published in Christianity Today and can be read here


Despite intense opposition, a referendum that could lead to the establishment of an independent Kurdish nation appears set for Monday, September 25.

Upwards of 35 million Kurds—a majority-Muslim community and the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, spread across Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria—are on the verge of setting their century-old dream of a homeland on the path to reality.

Victimized by the Ottomans during the Armenian (and Kurdish) genocide of the 1910s and regularly persecuted since, the Kurds have long been a marginalized population. Ironically, the recent upheaval in the Middle East has presented them with an opportunity. Many are moving to take advantage of regional mayhem and political malfeasance, filling a void of security and governance with self-determination.

The idea of a free Kurdistan isn’t popular among non-Kurds. Turkey has openly fought with its Kurdish population in a decades-long conflict that has killed between 30,000 and 40,000 since 1984; the Syrian regime readily repressed Kurdish rights; and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq murdered tens of thousands of Kurds in the country’s north.

But as war has ravaged Syria and Iraq, and as ISIS swept from Raqqa to Mosul and nearly to Baghdad, the Kurds are not throwing away their shot.

Read the full story here

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