Being a Kurd in the 21 Century: Reflections on the History of the Present
Opening lecture by Abbas Vali
The Kurds constitute the largest stateless nation in the contemporary world. Some forty million Kurds live in Kurdistan under the national jurisdiction of the four sovereign states of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria which in various ways deny Kurdish national identity and suppress its political and cultural manifestations by the means of law and the force of arms.
The division of Kurdistan after the First World War and the subsequent structural diversity of the Kurdish communities, administered by different political and economic regimes, have deprived the Kurds of political unity and cultural cohesion. Opposition to the suppression and denial of Kurdish identity and resistance to the imposed national identities and strategies of forced assimilation remain the primary cause of Kurdish uprisings and rebellions.
In this lecture, Abbas Vali, born in the Iranian part of Kurdistan and today a Professor of sociology at the Bogazici University in Istanbul, seek to explain the dynamics shaping the contemporary Kurdish history and politics, focusing on the relationship between domination and Kurdish resistance to subjection and assimilation since the advent of the modern nationstate in the Middle East.