An Ex­pat’s View on Kur­dis­tan: Com­plain­ers

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By J. Watt

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.

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