Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Kurdish people comprise 40 million across Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria (More than half live in in Turkey) and have been repressed by various governments for centuries. Three of Iraq's governorates (states) - Dahuk, Irbil, and Sulaymaniyah - make up Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds have a unique language and culture and, as a regional CULTURAL group, many different religions as well. Most Iraqi Kurds that we have met claim to be Kurds first with their other local identity (Iraqi, Christian, Muslim, etc.) second....creating both obvious challenges and less obvious opportunities.

We're meeting with all types of Iraqi Kurds to better understand the situation in this part of the country and also to document international human rights violations - particularly the shelling of entire villages by the Turkish and Iranian government with apparently full complicity by the U.S.

NOTE: Spellings. There can be multiple spellings for a city or area in Arabic (ie. Dohuk, Dahuk, Duhok). Additionally, Kurdish names for these places may be entirely different (i.e. Irbil, Erbil = Hawler) so you will see me use various spellings.

Here is a good link for more general information about Iraqi Kurdistan: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/kurdistan-iraq.htm

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