Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Call for Progessive Blogs and Progressive News to Cover Kurdish Issues More Thoroughly

First of all, I need to say that I like Op-Ed News and respect all of the people who volunteer and work on it. That is why I feel when a form of ethno-biased censorship emerges; I'd like to suggest that Op-Ed considers putting the issue up to debate and scrutiny.

Here is what happened this past week after I submitted pieces on the bombing of Kurdish territory in Iraq by Iran. (I felt like the subject was not getting but minimal light of day in the Western press and that people still understand too little about the complex journey the various Kurdish groups have made to this junction in history where statehood is within inches of their grasp (as is further annihilation).

So, this is the article I wrote—with the hope that more peoples would dig into what and who are Kurds and come to realize how interconnected and multifaceted we all need to see their complex existence in four separate nation stats now in 2008.

The article was called: Iran Continues to Attack Kurds in Iraq—but West Barely Takes Note

The article was rejected by the OpEd News editor—something that happens now and then.

What was new was the following letter from the Op Ed News Administrator is this response:

Op Ed News Administrator wrote:

“The Kurds of Northern Iraq were given that territory on a silver
platter by the Bush/Cheney regime, and yet they just cannot stop
killing Turks and Iranians.”

“Until the Kurds in Northern Iraq stop the terrorist attacks, Turkey and
Iran will continue attacking. Why is the sovereignty of Northern Iraq
more important than that of its neighbors?”

I wrote back to this editor/administrator stating:

My submission was intended to point out(1), in general, all the news most (let's say 85% of the ) people are getting is that of the Turkish-Kurdish-Iraq angle and (2) there are other angles to be paid attention to if you read the margins of the news--which most people don't do.

So, my intent was to put out a very short news article/editorial--summarizing different news stories over a three year period.

Now, turning to the almost condescending and misleading response the editor/administrator made (see above), you will notice, that that the editor/administrator brings up a third or fourth set of issues.

The third issue is that there is a lot of pent up anger in the Middle East and in the USA towards Kurds--for whatever reason.

The fourth is that the editor was writing to Kevin Stoda, i.e. he is talking to someone who knew who were Kurds were as early as 1980 (before most U.S. soldiers in Iraq were born). At that time, 1980, my first and only professor in Political Science that decade was Dr. Charles Benjamin, who had written his doctoral thesis during the previous four to five years on the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

In short, long before mainstream America knew who Kurds were, I (Kevin Stoda) was seeing them as a case study of a people, like the Kosovors, Slovenians, Croats, Slovakians, or Montenegrins, i.e. an example of peoples who have been looking for a country to call their own for centuries.

The news editor’s hyper focus or self-indignation at certain groups of Kurds (and his turning around and painting all the Kurds in whatever color he wants) skews the less abstract reality that these Kurds live. He brushes away their reality in a cursory and almost racist in tone.

I suggest the news editor do a special report on Kurds in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey to balance out the picture he portrayed to me.

Moreover, this request for more special reporting of the whole Kurdish issue is something, I believe all good progressive newspapers and blogs should be doing in any case.



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