An Expat’s View on Kurdistan: Complainers
This is the second article in a series designed to give an American expatriate’s opinion on discovering, understanding, and enjoying authentic Kurdish culture.
“Which country is better, Kurdistan or America?” This question greets nearly every American expatriate in the Kurdistan region. I usually respond by explaining that both places have beautiful people, culture, and traditions— though they are very different. To which I usually get mixed responses. There are, no doubt, people who are proud of their homeland, yet I find myself continually frustrated by a contingent who feels the need to complain about Kurdistan and only talk about wanting to leave for another country in the west, without offering any solutions to said complaints.
Kurdistan is indeed experiencing a tough time: slowed economy, war with a ruthless enemy, a short list of regional allies, and a huge refugee crisis. Yet, instead of jumping ship as many of the dreamers suggest, now is the time to dig in, commit to the long-term prosperity of Kurdistan and actually work towards the future.
Germany, for instance, was a country economically, politically, and socially ravaged by World War 2. Yet from the ashes, mostly through a stalwart German work ethic, Germany has now arisen as Europe’s largest economy and, again, as a major power in the world. Imagine if those who complained about Germany’s woes left in the late 40’s or early 50’s and never stuck around to see Germany’s return to world prominence decades later.
While some of the complainers dream of an easier life in the West with endless money, government payouts, and better services, this is far from reality—even if it is reality, which it isn’t, it misses the point that the benefits these countries offer were worked hard for.
To the complainers, now is the time to press deeper into making Kurdistan the land you really want it to be and to work towards positive action rather than negative critiques. If you’re unhappy with your economic situation, then innovate and work hard. If you’re displeased with social norms or limitations, then strive for change. If you’re tired of living in tough and unstable times, then grab those around you who can encourage you and push harder to make it through—or at least wake up to the reality that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
Kurdistan is a great place to live, for those who are willing to work for it.