Kurds: A People in Search of their Homeland

In ‘The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland’ Kevin McKiernan draws parallels – using examples of culture, language and genocide – between Native American history and the experience of the Kurds.

With a population of more than twenty-five million, the Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without their own state, but until recently their long struggle for autonomy has received relatively little attention. Following World War I, the Kurds were promised a homeland, but the dream collapses amid pressures of Turkish nationalism and the Allied realignment of the Middle East.

For the remainder of the century, the story of the Kurds is one of almost constant conflict, as Middle East governments repress Kurdish culture, language and politics, destroying thousands of Kurdish villages, “disappear” and even gas the Kurds–often as the West provides military assistance or simply looks away.

Politically and ideologically diverse, the Kurds are never a “nation” in the modern sense, and their struggles for self-determination have been repeatedly betrayed by outside powers. His complex portrait of the Kurds includes interviews with Jalal Talabani, the first Kurdish president of Iraq, members of the legendary Barzani family, and Abdullah Ocalan, the now-imprisoned leader of the long Kurdish uprising in Turkey.

The Kurds: A People in Search of Their Homeland
St. Martin’s Press (March 2006) ISBN 0-312-32546-0

“ Written from intimate knowledge and rich personal experience in war and peace, laced with sympathy and understanding, this remarkable memoir-history is at once painful and inspiring. It provides incomparable insight into the suffering and courage and undying hopes of people who have suffered far too much, not least at our hands.”
– Noam Chomsky

“Kevin McKiernan’s astonishing book is investigative journalism at its best. He lays bare the open secret of Kurdish genocide that fuses past to present, the Then to Now. His story-tellers offer us an oral history that reveals the sources of all genocide. It is as contemporary and prophetic as tomorrow’s news.”
– Studs Terkel


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