Ali Afshari - 2008.07.22
The imminent possibility of enforcing the death sentence on a Kurdish teacher named Farzad Kamangar, and the recent heavy punishments that were passed on to other civil and political activists in Kurdistan has turned this western province in Iran into the leading locale for the regime’s suppressive and oppressive practices.
The fear that allowing political and social freedoms may lead to the separation of the province from Iran is the basis of the narrow-minded measures and policies that Tehran is adapting. Certainly the resistance of the Kurds against the government’s use of force and their demonstration of their grievances has had their impact in the form that during all elections, the leanings of the Kurdish groups have been towards either independent candidates or those whom the central government has opposed.
But because of the state’s unfair treatment and policies, a radical movement too has taken shape which erroneously views the Kurdish problems to come from animosity of the Persians, thus leading it to conclude that the only way to “liberation” is to take up arms against the state. This movement, lead by the armed Pejvak group has itself exacerbated the shortcomings and deprivations in the region and has at times even facilitated the legitimacy of the severe policies of the state for the region.
These two views have been like the two blades of a pair or scissors which have harmed the welfare, development and freedoms in Kurdistan.
The resultant conclusion of the long struggle and the turbulent history of this province has been that the dominant movement now is the attainment of the Kurdish rights within a democratic Iran and the provision of ethnic autonomy similar to that given to other regions in the country that were achieved through peaceful and civil means in recent years. From this perspective, the residents of every region, while accepting the larger policies of the country, are free to pursue local policies, disburse local resources, and hold organize events to strengthen their identity in the cultural and linguistic spheres along with the Persian language.
This view is consistent with the conditions of Iranian society and its history as it meets the specific needs and aspirations of the Iranian sub-national groups such as the Kurds, Turks, Arabs, Kurkmen and Baluchis, while at the same time removing the concerns about the territorial integrity of Iran as a whole.
The roots of the recent violent approaches of the central government in Kurdistan stem from the strengthening of this approach whose activists have chosen peaceful means of expressing their views. Security forces (from Tehran) prefer to deal with the violent Pejvak group rather than dealing with the social and NGO groups who strive to strengthen civil rights.
The central government tries to justify its use of violence by linking the provincial events to be directed from outside the country and to armed groups, thus blocking the activities of the peaceful groups.
Under these circumstances, it is important the pro-democracy movement in Iran define its specific and legitimate positions about the ethnic groups and sub-national groups in Iran. At the same time, ethnic groups should stress that their membership in Iran is serious and clearly express their disdain for separatist groups within a democratic and peaceful context.
The state’s inhuman policies that violate human rights in Kurdistan achieve nothing but hate and revenge and can only lead to catastrophic and destructive results.
After all one must not forget that human rights are not confined to a national, sub-national or ethnic group and are above them, and so everybody must strive to enjoy their benefits and combat their absence.
Labels: Ethnic Minorities in Iran