Letters: U.S. abandonment of Kurds makes us just another subjugator | ParkRecord.com

Letters: U.S. abandonment of Kurds makes us just another subjugator

From protector to subjugator


One of the best jazz ensembles I ever heard was simply called “The Big Band.” Its home was Aleppo, Syria, and it rocked the region when I lived and worked there in the early 2000s. You can understand why I use the past tense; it hasn’t existed for several years, but in its time it was the only such jazz group in the Arab world, and it was world class. It worked with many international artists.

Many of its artists were Kurdish and it was generally thought of as a Kurdish entity. Not surprising, because it was talented, smart, progressive and out in front culturally. But you might also call it a refugee band, for the Kurds were, and still are, stateless people. This means that in the four countries where they live — Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran — they are essentially invisible people. They have never been allowed citizenship, passports, basic rights, freedom of travel, and so on. There are other such subjugated groups in the world with the same problem, with which we are more familiar.

I knew many Kurds and they were never invisible to me. They were intelligent, fun, loyal and hardworking people, who wore their political rejection with quiet defiance. To know them is to completely understand why they have been the Fertile Crescent’s most effective fighters for decency, humanity and normalcy — all while being stateless and eyeing a dream that waxes and wanes. You would like them.

So the United States’ impulsive abandonment of them makes me especially sad. Overnight we have made the switch from protector to just another subjugator. We seem to be in that habit lately. I know we don’t need another thing to be sad about, but there it is.

Tom Horton


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