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The Kurdish right to statehood

A promise represents an assurance that an entity will do a particular thing. It is by definition irrevocable et immutable. On August 10th, 1920, the treaty of Sevres was signed, officially dissolving the Ottoman Empire, and creating the foundation of a sovereign Kurdish state and territory. All is well until a newly empowered nationalist government in Turkey threatened to completely exit the treaty if Kurdistan was granted the right to autonomy. The replacement Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 not only failed to fulfill this promise of statehood it also neglected the Kurds as nor they or their concerns were mentioned in its many pages. 

A nation thirty million strong, united not only ethnically but by a shared history of violence, oppression, and betrayal, a characteristic that may seem common of every state but in reality, is very rare. Many states exist without having a single unified nation within their borders or having one that extends much beyond their territorial claim. In Iraq, borders do not represent that of a nation. They are founded on geometry and simplicity rather than concrete geography, history, or demography. The differences between Iraq and the neighboring states of Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen were forged with these forces’ frontiers, they do not precede them. 

The rarity of a nation having the same boundaries as its state should alone be justification for the existence of a Kurdish State. If a state can exist without representing a specific people, then a nation over one same territory should be allowed to form a state and reach true self determination. 

This is further accentuated by the forces of democracy through the will of the Kurdish people. On the 25th of September 2017, Iraqi Kurdistan held a referendum for its independence in which over 92% of voters favored this outcome. The will of the largest ethnic group without a homeland in the world cannot be ignored, nor can it be silenced. A people martyred by persecutions, mass murders, incarcerations, and heavy bombardments. A people that deserves rest and rest after decades of conflict. A people that deserves its own peace, within its own borders, of its own Kurdish State. 

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Gabriel Rousseau is a student at the Lycée Français in Los Angeles.