Kurdish, Kurdistan, Kurdistan Independence

Letter: Why We Support the Outcome of the Kurdish People’s Referendum for Independence

In a joint letter addressed to the UN, the European Parliament, and the US and UK Governments, over 100 leading academics and activists support the outcome of the Kurdish people’s referendum for independence.

We, the undersigned, support the outcome of the Kurdish people’s referendum for independence.

According to the Charter of the United Nations, all people have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

The Kurdistan Regional Government held a referendum on Kurdistan’s independence on the 25th of September 2017. The vast majority of voters, approximately 93 percent, voted in favour of an independent Kurdistan. The people of Kurdistan have peaceably made their democratic and legitimate decision to secede from Iraq.

The ongoing unilateral policies of the Federal Government of Iraq and its hostile, totalitarian, and divisive policies against the Kurdish people were the main motives behind the Kurdistan Regional Government’s decision to hold a referendum on Kurdistan’s independence. The result of the referendum for an independent Kurdistan is a clear message to the divisive, sectarian, reactionary, and colonist behaviour of the Iraqi Government.

The people of Kurdistan are now being collectively punished for their decision by the regional countries, including Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, which have denied Kurdistan’s existence and subjected the Kurdish people to all forms of violence for almost a century. The Iraqi, Turkish and Iranian governments’ repressive measures against the will of the people of Kurdistan are politically and ethnically motivated, aiming to subordinate the people of Kurdistan again.

We are equally and deeply shocked and disappointed by the ignorant and uncalculated responses from the so-called “free world” to the democratic and peaceful decision made by the people of Kurdistan. The reactions of the UN and Western governments have been used by Iraq, Iran, and Turkey to justify their racist and colonist policies against the people of Kurdistan.

The refusal of Western countries to recognise the outcome of the referendum has already caused a political crisis and has fanned the flames of hatred that will no doubt destabilise Iraq and, specifically, imperil the Kurdistan region.

We, the undersigned, while supporting the outcome of the referendum, call on the UN, the EU, the governments of EU member states, and the US Government:

  • To recognise the result of the referendum in Kurdistan, in which the vast majority of its population voted in favour of independence;
  • To politically pressurise Iraq, Turkey, and Iran to stop their collective punishment, threats, and economic sanctions against Kurdistan;
  • To pressurise the Iraqi government to respect and recognise the will of Kurdistan’s diverse population in seeking independence;
  • To preserve peace and negotiate in goodwill;
  • To not stay silent while many countries in the region clearly show their aggression and their colonialist, discriminatory attitude towards the people of Kurdistan.

No more threats, no more genocide, no more colonialism.

The Undersigned:

  1. Houzan Mahmoud Feminist activist; cofounder of Culture Project – UK
  2. Ismail Hamalaw Writer; Novelist; Cofounder of Culture Project – UK
  3. Dr.Janroj Keles Research Fellow, Middlesex University Business School – UK
  4. Mehmet Kurt Queen Mary University-London – UK
  5. Benjamin David Activist; writer; director of Culture Project; and founder and Editor-in-Chief of Conatus News – UK
  6. Sarah Mills Writer and Editor of Conatus News; Editor of Culture Project – Italy
  7. Muhammad Kamal The University Melbourne – Australia
  8. Avan Anwar Artist – Australia
  9. Melanie Gingel Barrister; human rights activist – UK
  10. Meredith Tax Writer, New York – USA
  11. Dr Ibrahim Malazada Writer; Lecturer – UK
  12. Isabel Käser PhD candidate SOAS – University of London
  13. Mehmet Ugur Professor of economics and institutions – University of Greenwich
  14. Lisa Mary Taylor Feminist activist – UK
  15. Shahrzad Arshad Feminist activist; multidisciplinary artist – Canada
  16. Arif Goran Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist – UK
  17. Sara Mohammad Chairwoman for Never Forget Pela and Fadime Organisation – Sweden
  18. Cemal Knudsen Ycel Founder and Leader of Ex-Muslims of Norway
  19. Bahar Munzir Women’s rights activist – Kurdistan
  20. Hakan Sandal PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge – UK
  21. Nabaz Samad Ahmed Assistant Lecturer, Sulaymani University – Kurdistan
  22. Sakar K.Zereen PhD Candidate at Humboldt University- Berlin – Germany
  23. Jasim Ghafur Visual Artist – UK
  24. Professor Creston C Davis Founding Director of The Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS); Professor; Writer
  25. Zahra Ali Rutgers University – USA
  26. Lazo Azad Writer and poet – UK
  27. Rommel Mamand Health and Safety Consultant – UK
  28. Nadje Al-Ali Professor of Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  29. Atta Qaradakhi Critic; writer, Sulaymani – Kurdistan
  30. Maryam Namazie Spokesperson of Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation in Iran; One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; Producer of Bread and Roses TV – UK
  31. Fariborz Pooya Producer of Bread and Roses TV – UK
  32. Fateh Saeidi PhD Candidate at University of Gottingen – Germany
  33. Rahila Gupta Writer – UK
  34. Alejandro Velasco Associate Professor, New York University – USA
  35. Dr Nazand Begikhani Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol – UK
  36. Gill Hague Professor Emerita, University of Bristol – UK
  37. Nurettin Erkan Visual Artist, Madison Wisconsin – US
  38. Muslih Irwani Chair, Center for Peace and Human Security, The American University of Kurdistan, Duhok – South Kurdistan
  39. Dr Ayshwarya Rajith Sriskanda Rajah Writer; International Relations Scholar
  40. Dr Dilshad H. Khidhir Academic; Humanitarian specialist, Erbil, KRI
  41. Negar Nadir Director for National Studies (INS), Master in International Security and Writer – Kurdistan
  42. Zafer Yoruk Lecturer, Izmir University of Economics – Turkey
  43. Rosangela Barcaro GCAS – Reserch Institute Ireland, researcher, writer – Italy
  44. Deanne Rauscher Journalist – Sweeden
  45. Sakine Madon Journalist, political scientist – Sweden
  46. Tanyel Bedia Taysi International Development and Human Rights practitioner – USA
  47. Mahabad Qaradaghi Poet and Writer – Kurdistan
  48. Shara Tahir Social Psychologist and writer – Sweden
  49. Zineb El Rhazoui Journalist and writer – France
  50. Shakila Taranum Maan Activist and film maker – UK
  51. Yeghia Tashjian Researcher and founder of New Eastern politics online forum
  52. Khanda Hameed Writer – Kurdistan
  53. Jiyan Khalaf Architect – UK
  54. Xebat Abdullah Writer, Erbil – Kurdistan
  55. Ophelia Benson Writer- Seattle – USA
  56. Madeh Piryonesi PhD Student, Civil Engineering, University of Toronto
  57. Naif Bezwan Univeristy College London(UCL) – UK
  58. Halil Ibrahim Yenigun Stanford University – USA
  59. Nil Mutluer Humboldt University – Germany
  60. Dr Veli Yadirgi Post-Doctoral Research Associate-SOAS
  61. Haje Keli PhD candidate in the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London
  62. Dr Burçe Çelik Loughborough University, London – UK
  63. Sabah Mofidi Researcher and Lecturer – Eastern Kurdistan
  64. Vera Eccarius-Kelly Ph.D Professor of Comparative Politics Siena College NY – USA​
  65. Dr Huseyin Dogan  Senior Lecturer in Computing at Bournemouth University – UK
  66. Djene Rhys Bajalan Historian, Missouri State University – USA
  67. Derek Wall Joint Green party of England and Wales International Coordinator.
  68. Sherko Kirmanj Senior Lecturer, Utara University – Malaysia
  69. Rebar Kurdo Journalist-Duhok – Kurdistan
  70. Halil Ibrahim Yenigun Stanford University, Abbasi Center for Islamic Studies
  71. Kumru Toktamis Associate Professor, Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, Pratt Institute
  72. Dr Mehmet Rauf Kesici Research Fellow, University of Duisburg-Essen – Germany
  73. Nicola Stott Social Worker – UK
  74. Kazhal Nuri Women’s rights activist – Netherlands
  75. Kajal Ali Poet; writer – Switzerland
  76. Aven Aziz Writer; feminist – Sweden
  77. Gailan A Ismail Artist – Kurdistan
  78. Kner Abdula Writer – Kurdistan
  79. Amal Jalal Political activist; Civil society activist – Kurdistan
  80. Khanim Rahim Civil and social activist – Kurdistan
  81. Viyan Mayi Film maker-Duhok – Kurdistan
  82. Rebin Rasul Writer, Cologne – Germany
  83. Ramyar Mahmoud Poet – Kurdistan
  84. Homar Qaradaghi Education manager – Sweden
  85. Halgord Samad Journalist – France
  86. T M Murray Director of Studies, Hampstead college of Fine Arts – UK
  87. Lawk Salah Ahmad Writer; Communications Specialist
  88. Mohammed Saeed Freelancer writer – Kurdistan
  89. Dana Marouf Writer; theatre director – Sweden
  90. Omer Hama Ali Tofiq Lawyer – Kurdistan
  91. Diyar Abdulaziz Journalist – Kurdistan
  92. Dr Deniz Yonucu Research Fellow –  ZMO – Germany
  93. Trefa Ahmed M Biomedical scientist – UK
  94. Stran Abdulla Editor in chief of Kurdistani Nwe paper – Kurdistan.
  95. Murat ISSI Panteion University / KENI – Greece
  96. Rody Naso Journalist – Netherlands 
  97. Deniz Cenk Demir Researcher; MA Candidate, McGill University – Canada
  98. Aziz Aşan Phd candidate, University of Fırat – Turkey
  99. Tebessüm Yılmaz Feminist Activist; PhD Candidate at Humboldt University – Germany
  100. Taimoor Aliassi UN Representative of the Association for Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva (KMMK-G) – Switzerland
  101. Lana Askari PhD candidate in Social Anthropology, University of Manchester – UK
  102. Stanley Thangaraj Assistant Professor of Anthropology – US
  103. Hanifi Baris PhD Candidate, University of Aberdeen, Scotland – UK 
  104. Dr. Latif Taş SOAS, university of London – UK

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Article Discussion

  • Government of India must extend all help diplomatic and otherwise to the brave and tenacious people of Kurdistan. Theirs was the only force who could steadfastly make a stand against the ISIS for past 3 years. They are the only progressive people and only real friends of free world in all of the middle East. I salute them and pray for their united Kurdistan consisting of parts of Iran, Turkey and Syria as well. May God fulfill their wish of a free Kurdish Nation.

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