All Writings
April 11, 1991

An Orphan Nation On The Run

A shortsighted and a premature cease-fire that preserved a brutal despot – Saddam Hussein – in power is behind the Kurdish tragedy today. Unfortunately, America stood idly watching with cruel indifference the destruction of the Kurdish people.

President Bush has failed a mortal test, and some may say he has brought dishonor to America. The glorious victory in the Gulf is now stained with the bolld of Kurdish men, women and children. We have managed to desert America's moral principles, while proclaiming with renewed pride the shaping of a new world order. This is, indeed, the cynicism of our time, and sinister to American ideals.

There is a long history to the Kurdish peoples' basic aspiration, to be left alone and live an autonomous life. But they were always destined to live in fear, an orphan nation – like a pawn in a vicious political game – a nation on the run. Dispersed between Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran, and the Soviet Union, they were always viewed as strangers with no security, no sanctum, no real sanctuary. In short, an aberration of time and space, a bastard of humanity.

For decades the Kurds in Iraq experienced a life of deprivation, they could not play their music or chant a Kurdish love song. To speak their language or to teach a lesson in their native tongue was forbidden. Heeding President Bush's call, they rose to taste freedom, believing in the American way. They won but a fleeting victory that lasted only for a cruel moment. They were betrayed by the numbness of Realpolitik, and abandoned to the whims of a ruthless ruler.

Slowly the tragedy began to unfold. Thousands of Kurds died in battle, others marched to mountain tops until they succumbed to starvation. Frozen out of life by harsh weather and cold political calculation. Innocent faces, of so many children, tiny bodies of helpless boys and little girls, all stung by hunger, sobbing from frost bite, awaiting silently the bitter cold of yet another night. Their faces shrunken to their skulls, and their eyes filled with pus and pain. Thrashed against the harsh ridge of the mountain grappling with disease, dehydration and death. In the end they surrender without ever feeling the warmth of their mothers again.

The Saddams of the world must stop rampaging their own country and people creating a sea of human misery, and an ocean of suffering. Whereas massive relief efforts should continue to be rushed and a temporary safe haven established to contain the disaster, a permanent and fair solution must be found to restore Kurdish dignity and rights.

An autonomous rule within Iraq could be established for the Kurds to run their own affairs. This would satisfy their needs, provided they are left alone and their security is guaranteed. Such a solutionis both consistent with the U.N. charter and it does not compromise Iraq's territorial integrity. Saddam Hussein will find a way to cooperate as long as Iraq can expect some economic relief.

A new world order must guarantee human rights and the rights of oppressed people everywhere to live in safety and peace. America has the capacity and the might to project such a new order without resorting to political expediency. The Kurds are entitled to live in peace and with dignity. The President of the U.S. must bear the moral responsibility – to be the catalyst, and to have the vision and the moral strength to lead.