Kurdish Community in Nashville rallies for independence
Nashville’s Kurdish community, which is one of the largest in the United States, held a rally on July 25 in support of an independent Kurdistan. It is believed to be the first such rally in the United States. Kurdistan includes a region that’s currently part of Iraq, which is dealing with violent insurgents and is having increasingly strained relations with the ethnic groups of the country. Kurds already have an autonomous government in northeast of Iraq and see the situation as a golden opportunity to break away. The Kurdish President, Massoud Barzani, recently took the initial steps to hold a referendum on independence. About 100 people were in front of the Federal Building in downtown Nashville, waving flags in a demonstration for an independent Kurdistan. Tabeer Taabur, one of the rally’s main organizers, said that the thought of independence is so emotional it almost made him cry. “I’ve always had joyful moments in my life, but for an independent Kurdistan, to enjoy recognition from the world, I mean, no other feeling compares to it,” Taabur added. The largely Muslim Kurdish population in the Middle East is divided between four countries: Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Camran Wani, one of the rally’s organizers, sees these divisions as artificial boundaries. “Each of these countries really tried to annihilate the Kurds as a nation,” he said. “Kurds have gotten to the point where they now say enough is enough.” Wani said that right now, they’re just rallying for independence from Iraq. But they hope one day Kurdistan will include the rest of the Kurdish region. The Kurds have yet to garner official support from the United States. Secretary of State John Kerry recently urged them to remain part of Iraq.