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A Brief Overview of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq
The “Country” of Kurdistan
Pre-1919 Kurdistan • • Earliest known culture: 6000 -5400 BC Kingdom of Gutium: 2400 BC First records of the word Kurd: 1000 BC Classical – Medieval periods: Roman rule, Muslim Caliphate, Salahdin, Mongols, etc. • Marco Polo mentions Kurdistan: 14 th cent. • Battle of Chaldiran: Iran/Ottoman split
Greater Kurdistan after 1919 http: //www. globalsecurity. org/military/world/war/kurdistan-maps. htm
Distribution of Kurds
Kurdish Diaspora – FSU
Kurdish Diaspora – Rest of World Germany 700, 000 - 800, 000 France 120, 000 - 150, 000 United Kingdom 80, 000 - 100, 000 Sweden 80, 000 - 100, 000 Netherlands 70, 000 - 80, 000 Switzerland 60, 000 - 70, 000 Austria 50, 000 - 60, 000 Greece 20, 000 - 25, 000 Belgium 10, 000 - 15, 000 Denmark 8, 000 - 10, 000 Norway 4, 000 - 5, 000 Italy 3, 000 - 4, 000 Finland 2, 000 - 3, 000 United States Canada Afghanistan Lebanon Israel 40, 000 6, 000 200, 000 80, 000 100, 000
Kurdistan Region in Iraq AKA “The Other Iraq” or “The Taiwan of the Middle East”
Kurdistan Region Symbols
Kurdistan Region National Anthem Ey Reqîb Hey Enemy (or Guard) Hey enemy, the Kurdish nation is alive with its language It cannot be defeated by the weapons of any time Let no one say the Kurds are dead The Kurds are alive and their flag will never fall We the youth are the red of the revolution See the blood that we shed on the way Let no one say the Kurds are dead The Kurds are alive and our flag will never fall We are the children of the Medes and Keykhosrow Our homeland is our faith and our religion The Kurds and Kurdistan are our faith and religion Let no one say the Kurds are dead The Kurds are alive and our flag will never fall The Kurdish youth has risen like lions To adorn the crown of life with blood Let no one say the Kurds are dead The Kurds are alive and our flag will never fall The Kurdish youth are ever present And always ready to sacrifice their lives Sacrifice every life they have, every life they have. By the poet Dildar (pen name; also known as Yonis Reuf, 1917 -1948) Translated by Brusk Chiwir Reshvan
Kurdish Language • Indo-Iranian language distinct from Semitic Arabic or Altaic Turkish • Kurmanji dialects – Bahdinani (North Kurmanji) – Turkey (and Dohuk in Iraq), Syria, and FSU (15 million) – Sorani (Central Kurmanji) – Iraq (Erbil and Suleimaniyah) and Iran (6 -12 million) • Pahlawani dialects – Dimli (or Zaza or Hawrami) – Turkey (3 million) – Gorani (or Kermanshahi or South Kurmanji) – Iraq and Iran (3 million) • Latin (Kurmanji) vs. Arabic (Sorani) vs. Cyrillic scripts • Arabic is also an official language and is widely spoken or understood in the Kurdistan Region. • Assyrian Neo-Aramaic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, and Turkmeni are also spoken by their respective communities.
Linguistic Composition of Kurdistan
Religion in the Kurdistan Region • Majority of population are Sunni Muslims, mainly of the Shafi’i school. • Some Muslims belong to Sufi orders. • About 15% are Shi’a. • Some Christians denominations: – – – Christian Kurds, Syrian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, Armenian, and Catholic Chaldean.
Indigenous Kurdish Religions • Yezidism (“Cult of Angels”) is a religion practiced only in Kurdistan is with about 140, 000 followers in Iraq, most living in the Mosul region. • The Ahl-e Haqq in Iraq are called Kaka'i and in Iran Yaresan. The total number of members is estimated at around 1, 000, primarily found in western Iran and Iraq.
Kurdish Politicians & Activists • Jalal Talabani – President of Iraq since 2005/Head of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan • Massoud Barzani – President of KRG/Head of Kurdistan Democratic Party • Leyla Zana (Turkey) - first Kurdish woman to win a seat in the Turkish parliament in 1991, currently in prison in Turkey • Roya Toloui (Iran) – Iranian Kurdish journalist & human rights activist, in U. S. since 2006
Business & Investment • Mainly in construction, oil & gas, and infrastructure projects – American Village & Dream City – Korek Tower – Tarin Hills – Kurdistan Gas City • Over 105 projects worth over USD 16 billion • 16% by foreign investors • 25% by foreign & local investors • 59% by Iraqi investors
Tourism • Erbil Int’l Airport • New hotels like Hotel Khanzad (80 rooms) • Erbil Citadel • Kurdish Textile Museum
Higher Education Institute Internet Domain Est. Date Salahaddin University (SU) www. salahaddin-ac. com 1968 7, 048 (2007) www. univsul. com 1968 (3067) (2006) www. uod. ac 1992 1, 689 (2007) University of Koya (KU) www. koyauniversity. org 2003 (? ) (2006) University of Kurdistan – Hawler www. ukh. ac 2006 400 (2006) (closed for 2008/09) American University of Iraq - Suleimaniyah www. auis. org 2007 50 (2007) www. hawlermu. org 2006 (? ) (2006) www. bmu-me. net 2007 (? ) (2007) University of Sulaimania (US) University of Dohuk Hawler Medical University (HMU) Business & Management University (BMU) Students
Kurdish Culture • Bahman Ghobadi – Kurdish. Iranian film director – – • Hiner Saleem – Kurdish-French film director – • Vodka Lemon (2003) Jay Jonroy – Kurdish-US-UK film director – • Time for Drunken Horses (2000) Marooned in Iraq (2002) Turtles Can Fly (2004) Half Moon (2006) David & Layla (2005) Zakaria Abdulla – – Popular Kurdish-Swedish musician Involved in construction of Naz City in Erbil, a joint venture with Nechirvan Barzani
Half Moon/Kurdish Hip Hop
References • • • • • http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Kurdistan http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/History_of_the_Kurdish_people http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Kurdish_nationalism http: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Iraqi_Kurdistan http: //kurdistanica. com/ http: //www. krg. org/ http: //www. institutkurde. org/en/ http: //www. instituteforkurds. org/index. htm http: //www. askurds. org/ http: //mediastorm. org/0011. htm http: //www. theotheriraq. com/ http: //www. globalsecurity. org/military/world/war/kurdistan-maps. htm http: //www. globalsecurity. org/military/world/war/kurdistan-iraq. htm http: //www. xs 4 all. nl/~tank/kurdish/htdocs/facts/ http: //findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m 2267/is_1_70/ai_102140955/pg_1? tag=art. Body; col 1 http: //ngm. nationalgeographic. com/ngm/0601/feature 1/ http: //www. kurdmedia. com/default. aspx http: //www. tourismkurdistan. com/index. asp http: //www. bartleby. com/65/ku/Kurds. html