Kur­dish Fe­male Con­tes­tant Sparks Iden­tity De­bate on Arab Tal­ent Show

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

In­tro­duc­ing Parwaz Hus­sein, the con­tes­tant, as be­ing from Iraq made very Kurds an­gry. They asked the jury board to in­tro­duce her ori­gin as from “Kur­dis­tan”.

A singer from Iraq's Kur­dis­tan re­gion has made it to the semi-fi­nal of an Arab tal­ent con­test, ig­nit­ing heated de­bates over Iraqi iden­tity and politi­ciz­ing the pop­u­lar TV show.

A panel of judges praised 24-year-old Parwaz Hus­sein and she was voted through to the next round of "Arab Idol", in which as­pir­ing pop­stars from Morocco to Bahrain com­pete for a record­ing con­tract.

Many Kurds have ral­lied be­hind Parwaz, who wore a pen­dant in the shape of "Greater Kur­dis­tan" - the term used to de­scribe the ter­ri­tory Kurds claim as their right­ful home­land, which cov­ers swathes of Syria, Tur­key, Iran and Iraq.

"If be­fore you were a singer, now you bear a great pa­tri­otic re­spon­si­bil­ity," one Face­book user called Kur­dis­tani Kur­dan wrote on Parwaz's page.

Num­ber­ing more than 25 mil­lion, the Kurds are of­ten de­scribed as the world's larg- est eth­nic group with­out an in­de­pen­dent state and re­gard na­tional bor­ders as an his­tor­i­cal in­jus­tice that has led to their sys­tem­atic op­pres­sion.

In Iraq, the Kurds were the tar­get of chem­i­cal at­tacks on the hand of the top­pled Iraqi for­mer pres­i­dent, Sad­dam Hus­sein, but now en­joy a large mea­sure of self-rule in the north of the coun­try, where they run their own ad­min­is­tra­tion and armed forces.

At her first au­di­tion, Parwaz, who speaks bro­ken Ara­bic, was ac­com­pa­nied by a trans­la­tor so she could com­mu­ni­cate with the judges. She has sung in both Ara­bic and Kur­dish.

Un­like two other Arab Iraqi con­tes­tants who were de­scribed as be­ing from Iraq, Parwaz's ori­gin was re­ferred to as "Iraqi Kur­dis­tan".

"I am against the coun­try ti­tle that says Parwaz is from Kur­dis­tan, be­cause Kur­dis­tan is an in­sep­a­ra­ble part of Iraq," said Ah­lam, a pop­star from the United Arab Emi­rates. "I want your in­tro­duc­tion to say that you are from Iraq and not Kur­dis­tan."

The com­ment pro­voked an an­gry re­sponse among Kurds, who said it was ev­i­dence of Arab racism to­wards them.

"Tell Ah­lam we are not Arabs," said Ako Jaff on Parwaz's Face­book page.

Ah­lam later apol­o­gized on her Face­book page, but many Kurds said they would not ac­cept the ges­ture un­less it was broad­cast on tele­vi­sion. Some Arab na­tion­al­ists took um­brage at that.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.