Kurdistan my dearest birth place,
My hope, the reason for my happiness and love, Ramin Vakili
For those of you who have never heard of my beautiful country and don't know where my homeland is I included this map of Kurdistan.
More about Kurds and Kurdistan
Kurdish New Year
For Kurdish people, March 21, holds a special place in their hearts, for this is the day that their New Year begins. In Kurdish, New Year's day is called Newroz, which means a new day. Newroz has been celebrated as a national holiday since 612 B.C. It is important to the Kurds not only because it is the beginning of their new year, but also because it marks the day that their national existence was first recognized. It was on this day in 612 B.C. that the ancestors of the Kurds united to resist and rebel against the leading great power at the time, the Assyrian empire and constitute confederation of Median principle. The victory against this empire resulted in liberation for the people of this region. This is the reason why the people of Kurdistan, Iran and Afghanistan all celebrate Newroz, but in their own different ways.
There is another side to Newroz. Newroz falls on the first day of spring. Spring is a time of transformation on Earth. After a cold and dark winter in the mountains of Kurdistan, spring brings warmth and new life to the land and the people whose beliefs are bound with nature. For those who have never seen the spring of Kurdistan it is hard to imagine. The beauty is indescribable.
There is a popular Kurdish legend known as "Kavah the Blacksmith and Zohak" which explains the origin of the Newroz. This legend has been handed down from generation to generation. Now the Kurds recite the story of Kavah the Blacksmith with deep felt emotion.
According to the legend, there was once an evil king by the name of Zohak who enslaved the Kurds and brought great suffering to the people of the region. (Zohak is a symbolic figure for cruelty, abuse and enslavement of the people.) Daily prayers were held in which people begged God to help them get rid of Zohak. One day, a popular hero by the name of Kavah the Blacksmith, led the people in revolt against Zohak and succeeded in surrounding his place. Kavah then dashed through the besieged guards of Zohak and grabbed Zohak's neck with his powerful hands. He struck Zohak's head with the hammer he was carrying and dragged him down from his evil throne. With his heroic deed, Kavah set the people free and proclaimed freedom for the people. Fire was set on the tops of the mountains to send a message to tell the people throughout the land that Zohak was dead. Since the day when Kavah struck Zohak and dragged him down from his evil throne, Newroz has become the day of liberation and freedom.
This is one of the many versions about the story of Kavah the Blacksmith and the liberation of the people in Kurdistan. Today, celebrating Newroz has become an important event in the life of the Kurdish nation. After World War I, Kurdish borders were determined by regional and international political powers, therefore disuniting the Kurdish people. Today, Kurdistan is divided into five regions which have been occupied by Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and the Soviet Union. Thus, Kurdish pe ª'p 2ê ª°0solidated as õ ation. Because of this, Newroz is celebrated in five separate regions in the middle east.
The Newroz festival is not legal in every part of Kurdistan. This Kurdish national day was prohibited by the Turkish government since 1923. This is one of the reasons why Kurdish people of north-western Kurdistan demonstrate extraordinary resistance against aggressive rules. In Newroz 1982, one of the original founders of the "Kurdish Worker Party and Liberation Struggle" burned himself to death to celebrate Newroz and salute the contemporary struggle. This region also recognizes Mazlum Dogan, who also burned himself, as a contemporary "Kavah" against colonial domination. Since then, many young men and women burn themselves to salute and celebrate the struggle for independence on Newroz in north western Kurdistan.
In many Newroz celebrations the main message has been the unity of the people. In 1988, four days before Newroz, in southern Kurdistan, over eight thousand Kurdish people were massacred by chemical weapons. Today many thousands of the victims still suffer from this inhumane act by the government of Iraq. This attack did not interfere with the making of money by the western countries, thus it was not made public to the citizens of those countries. Therefore, the government of the United States, who was aware of these attacks, is just as guilty as the Iraqi attackers.
Newroz of 1992 had a certain significance for north-western Kurdistan, since this is a day of "betrayal". For the first time in seventy years, the Turkish security force, police and army, agreed to allow for a peaceful Newroz celebration. However, going against their word, they attacked the defenseless Kurdish civilians. The Turkish government, in fact, did not want the civilians to defy their authority by celebrating Newroz. Hundreds were wounded and injured, including a western journalist, a member of a human rights organization, and western parliament members. There were 103 deaths in this attack. Kurdish people who announced this attack to the public were executed. Thus, this Newroz celebration of 1992 cost the Kurds a great deal of sacrifice and loss of life.
Newroz of 1995 was no different than the last few years since Iranian, Iraqi, and Turkish governments still continue to terrorize Kurdish people. In the last few months, Kurdish people have been recording intimidating military build-up that has been occurring in the middle of Kurdistan from the aggressive powers. This past Monday, March 20, the government of Turkey once again attacked Kurds. Defenseless civilians were faced with thirty-five thousand Turkish military soldiers who had advanced 40 km into the Kurdish boarder within three days. More than 200 Kurds were killed in this attack by Turkey. May their lives be in our memories. While Turkey was criticized for its assault on Kurds, the United States asked Ankara to keep the operation as limited as possible when they could have put a stop to it altogether. This is one of the reasons why Newroz has became a symbol for a struggle and independence. More and more Kurdish people believe that in order to destroy the un-united Kurdistan the boarders need to be changed to one boundary not five borders.
A Chinese proverb claims that a thousand mile journey starts with a single step. This is true for Newroz which began as a single day in a year. Newroz is a single step towards liberating our people and country. In the 2607 years that have passed, our beliefs concerning Newroz remains the same. When we celebrate Newroz, we still celebrate it as the New Year and as the day of national unity and revolution that lead to liberty for the Kurds in the past and will lead to liberty once again in the future.
It is not just a dream that one day we will be able to stop all the killing in Kurdistan.
It is not just a dream to be able to live in our homeland like any other nation on the earth.
This century or the next, we will salute the Country with United Independent and democratic Kurdistan.
Long live the Country.
Long live the revolutionary struggle in every part of Kurdistan
Kurdistan is a name of an area that stretches from the Taurus mountains in the west of Turkey to the western plateau of Iran in the east, and from Mount Ararat in the northeast of Turkey to the plains of modern Iraq in the south. It is an area of about 533, 000 sq. Km. which, politically and economically, is divided amongst five separate states; Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Armenia in the hearth of the Middle East.
Kurdistan is reach in water resources. The two well known rivers of Euphrates and Tigris originated from the highlands of Kurdistan.
The climate of Kurdistan has two patterns; semiarid and summer-dry. The temperature in winter drops below -35 ºC whereas in summer rises as high as 45 ºC.
Kurdistan has various mineral resources. The most important of all deposits is oil. In fact, the largest oil reserves in the Middle East is Kurdistan. The oil deposit of Kurdistan ranks the 6 th in the world. Other significant deposits in Kurdistan are: iron, coal, lead and copper. Also Kurdistan is reach in magnesium, zinc, uranium, silver and gold.
The kurds population is over 30 million. About 14 million in Turkey, 9 million in Iran, 6 million in Iraq, 2 million in Syria and 100,000 in Armenia.
The language of the kurds is kurdish which is an indo-european language with two major dialect kurmangi and sorani. Kurmangi is spoken in northern Kurdistan, whereas sorani is in the south.
Before the emergence of islam most of the kurds embraced zoroastrianism and some were Christians and Jews. Today 75% of the kurds are sunny Muslims, 15% are shiai Muslims, 4% are atheists, 3% are kakis and 3% are Christians and others.
Other Related WWW Pages Regarding Kurdistan