Known together with the peoples of Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Algeria, the Kurds constitute the greatest linguistic and ethnic minority groups in the Middle East. They speak the Pashto language -a dialect of Middle Eastern Arabic and have their own written language called the Dari language. The majority of the population is divided into three groups: the Arabs, the Assyrians, and the Chechens. There are also large minorities of Arabs and Turkmen.
The largest single religious group in the community is the Muslims. The Arabs are the largest group and constitute around eighty percent of the total population. The second largest group, the Assyrians, comprise mostly of Ninevehites who are mostly of the minority population in the region. The third, the Chechens, are mostly of the Turkmen minority.
A number of non-Arab ethnic groups call themselves kurdish. They are mainly of the Berbers of Morocco, the Arabs of Algeria, the Assyrians of Syria and Iraq, the Turkmen of northern Iraq, and the Chechens of the Pamir Mountains. The word kurd is derived from the kel, a name used for the mountain where the four groups above reside. The word “kurd” means “one whose mind is ruled by an iron rod.”
Unlike many Middle Eastern countries, the structure of the kurdish society is made of a consultative assembly at its local level, which consists of a president, a prime minister, a ministers, and an supreme leader. All of these members have to agree on any major decisions concerning the country, and all major decisions are carried out by a consultative assembly. In addition, there are local autonomous regions, which practice a system of local governance similar to that found in Turkey. Although there are no special constitutional arrangements, the supreme leader represents the entire country, though he only presides over certain municipalities. Alliances between the different municipalities are formed betweenatible units of power. The system of decentralized authority provides the citizens with a sense of equality, as they can choose their representation without worrying about who will get their vote.
The root of the modern-day state of Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, both were structured on the collapse of the socialist Bloc of states created after World War II. The remnants of these nations had to decide whether or not to stick with the failed program of left-wing politics, or pursue a more nationalistic path towards progress. For decades, the survivors of these failed states remained divided, and some groups fought among themselves for power and resources. This has caused several divisions in both peoples’ ideologies, and has hindered their development into functional, viable states. However, the upsurge of kurdish nationalism in the country has brought these once feuding communities together again, to forge ahead with a common cause and vision.
In fact, Turkey’s modern history has seen a significant rise in kurdish nationalism, following the breakdown of the Soviet Union. There have been many instances where a group of villagers have banded together to form the most democratic and prosperous nation in the region. Now, with the help of a new Turkish constitution and a strong military presence, the country is once again becoming a beacon of stability in the region, and is beginning to regain its place as a key player in the region. As the rest of the Middle East begins to reevaluate its relationship with the United States, it appears that the Kurds may well be the people the region has been waiting for.