Saturday, 16 July 2011, 07:41 GMT
South Sudan could be a model for Kurdistan

An official counts voting cards in Erbil during the 2005 semi-official referendum that involved the choice of an independent Kurdistan or unity with Iraq./ GLOBE PHOTO/Safin Hamed

Globe Editorial
By Azad Amin

Following a long and arduous conflict and civil war in Sudan a final solution to resolve the issue through referendum brought a fruitful result. The overwhelming majority of South Sudan opted for independence to set up their own nation-state. The decisions of the South Sudanese people were recognized and a new member entered the 192 nation-state club, making it 193.

The entry of new nations into the club has increased since the fall of Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Out of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, more than 20 new states emerged. Kosovo is the newest nation in Europe.

Although the U.N. Charter recognizes the right to self-determination of nation, the charter has not always been applied fairly to various national conflicts around the world. Establishment of new nation-states, in most cases, come out of a combination of several factors, such as the strategic importance of the region, national awareness and determination of nation in search of its independence, and consensus of global powers on establishment of new states. For South Sudan, these factors were abundant. For years, the people demonstrated their determination for freedom and confirmed it in the referendum. There was a consensus by global powers to recognize South Sudan as an independent political entity.

The South Sudan model can be a sample method for Iraq and Kurdistan. Similar to Sudan's referendum, there was a semi-official referendum in Kurdistan Region during the general elections in 2005. Similar to South Sudanese, 98 percent of people in Kurdistan opted for independence. Despite the people's wishes the Iraqi Kurdish leaders considering the global political position toward Kurdistan opted to remain as part of a new Iraq, which was supposed to be federal, democratic and plural. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, there is no major indicator that confirms the qualities of a so-called new Iraq.

The Kurds, as a collective political community, have long demonstrated the qualities and determination to be recognized as a nation and to gain independent statehood. Independence is the right of the Kurdish nation and this right should be recognized without any further delay. Some arguments, here and there, warns the Kurds not to hope or wish for such a right. Whether it is Real Politik or other arguments, they have always tried to convince the Kurds of the "consequences" and "heavy price," should they attempt to declare their freedom. David Romano in his column in Rudaw, for example, demonstrates this clearly: "I know my Kurdish friends watched carefully as the world congratulated the beaming new South Sudanese members of the Club. I hope they will understand and forgive me when I say, 'I hope there is no Kurdish state anytime too soon.' I worry that Iraqi Kurds have so far paid only enough blood to buy autonomy. They should finally enjoy it and work to make it last. Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran paid heavily since the 1920s as well, and hopefully the sums will soon add up at to at least enough to buy democratic minority rights. A state in this expensive neighborhood will cost even more, so I hope no one feels desperate enough to seriously shop for one."

Argument that compares freedom with price, independence with blood, is nothing but shallow and despicable philosophy. It is the negation of the history of Kurdish national liberation movement. The Kurdish nation paid a heavy price for their freedom and national rights throughout the 21st century. When the nation embarked upon the path to freedom, they did know the price and consequences. So far, they paid it voluntarily.

Without fearing whatever the consequences may be, it is time for the Kurdish leaders to hear the voices of their people that in a crystal clear form appeared in 2005. Freedom is the right of every individual on earth. It is an absolute essential, like air and water, for any person to have a healthy life. When it comes to independence and freedom, there is no price to compare it to.