Status Quo Iranian opposition and the Kurds

20. September 2012 – KURDISH GLOBE  – One would think that the Iranian intellectuals and political currents, especially those opposing the oppressive regime of Islamic Republic, would welcome this agreement.

The two Kurdish organizations of Eastern Kurdistan (Iran), Democratic Party of Kurdistan and Komala Party of Kurdistan have newly signed an agreement on coordination of their activities in the future. The agreement is the foundation of a Kurdish national front in Iranian Kurdistan. The two parties suffered organizational and military debacle in Eastern Kurdistan, but possess considerable sympathy among the population in this part of our country. An impending turmoil in Iran can set about major activities among the highly politicized Kurdish population, who probably will be mobilized around these two parties. Hence, this uniting step among Eastern Kurds is not only welcome, but also of immense importance for the future of the Kurdish people there. It is also crucial that the agreement is signed on the principles of democratic values, human rights and even environmental awareness. The Kurdish political establishment and the Kurdish intelligentsia in the East should conduct major studies on the issues concerning human rights, democracy and power sharing. This is vital so as not repeat the mistakes of the 80s in East and to be better equipped with mass mobilization tools. The mindset of political establishment in East should also be integrated with the demands and expectations of a new generation of Kurds, particularly the urban middle class and the highly politicized intellectuals. Together they can create the discourse of a democratic nation-building in the East. Thus, the agreement is an important first step towards this discourse.

One would think that the Iranian intellectuals and political currents, especially those opposing the oppressive regime of Islamic Republic, would welcome this agreement. A united Kurdish front with democratic values and respect for human rights should even make the Iranian opposition happy. But several so called liberal or nationalist-religious organizations, which make out that they are moderate, express not only their disappointment on the agreement but also strongly oppose it as threatening the territorial integrity of Iran. As in my earlier article, Iran is a relic from a time bygone. It was created by dynasties; its nationhood has not a historical legitimacy on basis of a common cause and not even a common national narration, that the citizens could share as common national memory.The gentlemen of the Iranian opposition have objections agains the discourse that the two Kurdish partie use in their common statement. The Kurdish parties have labeled the Kurdish national movement as “liberation movement’; a fact that has infuriated the Iranian “liberals”, who in their bigotry ascribed to the Iranian mindset state that Kurdistan has not been colonized, hence the Kurdish parties should not use this terminology. The former dynastic Iran was multilingual, multicultural and multireligious; its diversity was even expressed by the official discourse of the rulers. The royal inscriptions on rocks were always multilingual. The country as a whole was some kind of confederacy, with local Kings (shahriyar) and the central one, shahanshah, that is the King of the Kings. The efforts to create the Iranian nation-state in the manner of colonial powers was ill-fit with the reality of diverse pattern of Iran. The nationalists in Iran went so far to adapt the basic assumptions of the evolutionism of colonial masters, that is domination relying on social Darwinist ideology. An this justified and still justifies their approach that they should be the masters, the best fit among ill-fit minorities. Just like modern nation-states in the West, they dream of creating a homogenous society, a sleek national body consisting of cizitens who are supposed to share same culture and history and loyal to the policy that is ruling them. The dominating Persian thinkers are convinced that the peripheries should be lifted from their alienation to something that they consider Iranian, pure and legitimate!

In quest of consolidating their nation-states the Iranians have maximized and militarized their boundaries in the manner ofan imperialist power, thus blurring distinction between nationalism and imperialism. The Persian megalomania is deepened further due to the historicist discourse of Persian nationalists who believe that a people who has a long history and civilization has a natural right to a territory and state of its own opposed to other ethnic groups who should be dominated and subjugated by the historical Persian nation. Thus, Persians have legitimate right to be the eternal rulers of a country, whose dominating ethnic group, i.e. Persians do not even constitute the majority of the population, but the largest minority.

Many of the oppositional Iranian organizations are opposing the notion of federalism, stating that “Iranian Kurdish leaders should abandon their illusions to achieve the same rights as the Iraqi Kurds, since they (Iraqi Kurds) have oil resources and the Iraqis are easily divided between Kurdish and Arab nations”. Do these gentlemen mean that Iraqi Kurds would not make these tremendous sacrfices if they knew that they didn’t have oil resources, And do they think the Iranian Kurds would not survive without those resources, It is amazing that the the Persians really believe that the Kurds in different parts of Kurdistan do not share the “historical memory” and urge their “Kurdish fellow-countrymen” to avoid, interpret and apply classic and cliché formulae that were implemented in other countries. By this they mean courds should not even mention the decentralization of the notion of sovereignty embodied in for instance autonomy, federalism, confederalism or even independence. What the “Persian fellow-countrymen” mean is that we Kurds should restrain ourselves from basic demands of human rights and self-determinations. These notions are part of parcel of the modern world, as much as their own notion of “nation-state’. Amazingly, they believe they should enjoy the fruits of modernity; relying on modern conceptions, but when it comes to the Kurds, then it is cliché.

The Iranian oppositional organizations, including liberals, republicans, moderate islamists, monarchists and leftists, all make common cause in one particular case; namely denial of the right of self-determination to national minorities and concentration of the sovereign in the notion of central state. These organizations can surpass the Islamic Republic in illiberality concerning national rights to minorities. The try to preserve the status quo in Iran, but change the regime.

My Persian “fellow-countrymen” should bear in mind that their nation-state does not represent any high goals or ultimate values of humanity that I, as well as my Kurdish brothers, would desire. Iran as a political contruction and a nation-state wannabe has been anything other than amiable. The national memory of the Kurds about Iran and Iranians (read Persians) is in frontal collision with that of Persian memory of it. Iran (Ecemistan) and Iranians (Ecem) to my mind as a Kurd means dissimulation, deception and humiliation not any great history of conquest and pride. Those conquering kings of Iran, to me, means oppressors and marauders. To me the Persian language is the language of the oppressor; the first words I learnt of this language were insultings directed to me from the Persian educators. I welcome any changes in Iran that disturbs the status quo Iran, including diminishing it to a petty country.