The Un­ex­pected Ben­e­fit of Sacrifice

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - J. Watt

While the at­tacks of the Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIL) on the Kur­dish peo­ple have brought eco­nomic hard­ship and loss felt by many, an un­ex­pected longterm ad­van­tage has come of it: sig­nif­i­cant recog­ni­tion and re­spect for the Kur­dish peo­ple has echoed through­out the me­dia out­lets of the world.

News­pa­per head­lines across Europe and the Amer­i­cas tes­tify of the Pesh­merga’s de­fense of their peo­ple’s lib­erty. Tele­vi­sion chan­nels broad­cast up­dates from the Kur­dish cap­i­tal of Er­bil, speak­ing plainly of the re­li­gious tol­er­ance the Kurds have man­aged for them­selves in a re­gion plagued with eth­nic vi­o­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion. Daily, web­sites and so­cial me­dia re­lay the hon­or­able hopes of the Kur­dish peo­ple.

With­out ques­tion, the events of the past six months have stirred more in­ter­na­tional press for Kur­dish is­sues than dur­ing any pe­riod in re­cent his­tory—per­haps only ri­valed by the time sur­round­ing the 1991 up­ris­ings and sub­se­quent refugee cri­sis. As the Kur­dish story goes into the world, with it comes recog­ni­tion of Kurd- ish as­pi­ra­tions for greater au­ton­omy and part­ner­ship with es­tab­lished gov­ern­ments and economies.

The Kur­dish peo­ple have sac­ri­ficed greatly through con­flict with ISIL. Car­ing for 1.4 mil­lion dis­placed peo­ple amidst one of the worst refugees crises in our mod­ern era is no small feat. Yet this sacrifice does not go un­no­ticed among the de­vel­oped democ­ra­cies of the world who are be­gin­ning to rec­og­nize that Kur­dis­tan is join­ing their ranks as a sig­nif­i­cant part­ner. Dozens of na­tions have be­gun pro­vid­ing aid and mil­i­tary train­ing for the Kurds while em­bassies and con­sulates con­tinue to open in Er­bil.

While the world watches, wait­ing to see what un­folds in the con­flict be­tween ISIL and an in­ter­na­tional coali­tion, the name of Kur­dis­tan arises as a bul­wark of re­li­gious free­dom and as a de­fender of democ­racy in the re­gion, and, in fact, the whole world. As Ger­man De­fense Min­is­ter Ur­sula von der Leyen said re­cently of the Pesh­merga, “[they] are not just de­fend­ing their coun­try, they are also de­fend­ing all of us . . . .”

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