That is the kind of thing I used to say.
Now, I answer differently. I say that the Kurds are a people who have been unceasingly betrayed by America and yet who hold Americans “upon their hearts,” as they would say—as friends. I say that the Kurds are the only pro-democracy, pro-American and pro-Israel Muslim people in the Middle East. I say, too, that when the U.S. trained Iraqi army dissolved in the face of ISIS recently, it was the Kurdish peshmerga—guerrilla fighting force—that backed ISIS off almost singlehandedly.
And I tell this story.
I was attending an event in Kurdistan that involved a large crowd gathering at a theater. The specifics aren’t important. What is important is that a riot erupted and there was gunfire. Immediately, three Kurds jumped on me to protect me. I often joke when telling this story that it takes three Kurds to make one of me, the Kurds being valiant but much smaller than me in size. They jumped on me to protect me. You see, I had been in some of their homes and in the homeland of all of them. This established a covenant, in their minds. They would protect “Mr. Stephen,” for he had come among them at a dangerous time. He was a friend to “the Kurd.” That is all they needed to know. It was enough to warrant the risking of their lives.
This is typical of the Kurds and I love them. After World War I, they were promised a homeland. Weightier promises to the new republic of Turkey prevailed, though, and the Kurds soon found themselves hammered into an Arab country called Iraq in which they did not fit naturally and were long despised. They survived it, even when Saddam Hussein gassed them by the thousands with chemical weapons sold to him by the U.S. and Europe. They survived until a no fly zone established in the early 1990s gave them enough relief from brutality to begin rebuilding their homeland.
Now, they are fashioning one of the world’s most miraculous national restorations. Though Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of Kurds and decimated over 4,000 of their villages, the Kurds are now creating a homeland so welcoming that Conde Nast and National Geographic Traveler recommend Kurdistan as a top tourist destination.
Hear this: ISIS will fall. Kurdistan will rise. Iraq will likely partition. When all of this occurs, the U.S. will want to have backed it’s most ardent though abused friend in the region, the fiercest fighters, and among the fiercest lovers of democracy on earth The Kurds have earned such devotion. They are, after all, the largest people group in the world without their own homeland. It is time—for the Kurds to have their own homeland, for the U.S. to finally conduct itself honorably toward this ancient people, and for the world to stand with the longsuffering Kurds against the evils arrayed against them.
It is time to back the Kurds.
Stephen Mansfield is Stephen Mansfield is a New York Times bestselling author and a popular speaker who coaches leaders worldwide. Mr. Mansfield has recently published his twenty first book entitled The Miracle of the Kurds, has just been released.
*This article has been published on Stephen Mansfield’s blog too.