The plunder mentality that the Kurds learned from the status quo rulers

By Suphi Aksoy

The political culture created and implemented by the dominant status-quo powers in the Middle East is anti-democratic in nature. Everyone in the world acknowledges the reality that there is no democracy in the Middle East. However, when it comes to actively solving this gangrenous problem that causes great damage to humans and human values, everyone hides his head in the sand or pretends to be powerless.

“This is the Middle East. Anti-democratic practices are normal here.” We hear this every day. But internalizing and acting on this inhumane and anti-democratic political mindset, means someone is constantly being harmed. In practice it only brings great destruction and plunder because everyone is trying to apply what they have learned from the dominant status quo powers for their own benefit and interests.

The ruling anti-democratic systems have taught the peoples of the region to deny, destroy, plunder, extort, and cheat their neighbors. They have taught them to lie, suppress the weak, and seize their valuables. They label those who do not accept these distorted and unethical systems as disruptors and subject them to all kinds of violence. They are declared traitors, separatists, non-religious, collaborators of foreign powers, and many of them were either executed, rotted away in prisons or put away in torture dungeons.

If we look in more detail at the picture of the states of the Middle East, we see above facts in all their nakedness and tragic stories. The hallmark of the rulers is their predatory and anti-democratic mentality and that they defend a monistic system. The irony is that many families and groups among the oppressed peoples resemble and imitate the rulers. Their numbers have increased significantly in Kurdish society. There are thousands of examples of this.

And many crimes have been committed by these collaborative families and groups; from involvement of Kurdish tribes in massacres of different peoples to the confiscation of the property and assets of Christian and Yazidi families in the own settlements of many of the concerned Kurdish families. The fact that these collaborating circles have become crime machines against different peoples and also against Kurds, in the first place does great harm to the freedom cause of the Kurds itself. Their mentality has been tainted by acts of completely unjustified profiteering. There is no such thing as pity or conscience in them. They use religious beliefs for commercial purposes.

They try to share the looted assets by collaborating with rapist gangs who come to the Middle East from all over the world and attack people. They confiscate the homes of Syriacs, Armenians, Greeks, and even usurp homes and lands of some democratic Kurds who have migrated from their towns and villages for assorted reasons. Some Kurdish families who settled in the homes of the many Syriacs who migrated from Midyat did not want to give the homes back to returning Syriacs. The Kurds insulted and threatened the returning Syriacs. Many Syriacs had to give money to the usurping families to get their homes and lands back. Many houses, lands, and businesses were forcibly appropriated in this way throughout all of Tur Abdin.

One of the most recent practices of this usurper mentality was experienced in the village of Kelhok in Beşiriye district, Batman Province in Turkey. When two Yazidi families from the village of Kelhok emigrated to Europe many years ago, they transferred their properties, with a notarial deed of usufruct, to two Sunni Kurdish families. The agreement was that the Sunni Kurdish families were allowed to use the property for themselves until the Yazidi families would return. However, the Yazidi families could not get their property back on their return, because the two Kurdish families decided to confiscate the property of the Yazidis.

The Yazidi families took the matter to court in Batman and, after many years of litigation, won the legal battle in court. However, Sunni Kurdish families attacked and assaulted two Yazidi family members on December 17, 2019. Everyone should know that such attacks are not isolated events and certainly no exception, but stem from a profit-seeking and plunder mentality. And existing social problems cannot be solved by linking the Kurdish families who perpetrated this attack to this or that political view because Kurdish families from all kinds of political affiliation have perpetrated such crimes.

This plunder mentality which the Kurds learned from the status quo rulers is the biggest obstacle to social development and change. The struggle for democracy, freedom, peace, and brotherhood of the peoples can therefore never reach further than an unfounded claim. Representatives of the ruling political system have always recruited collaborative Kurds and bought their loyalty. These collaborators are used as chestnut tongs. When the tongs hold the chestnut, they may think it is theirs. However, it never belonged to him.

There must be a new debate among the Kurds so that the property of the other peoples is not left to these collaborators. The Kurds should develop a democratic system that prevents behaviors like this that harm their own cause. If the Kurds go on a generalization tour and try to relativize their crimes comparing them with the crimes of others or by pointing out that such incidents also take place in the settlements where Turks, Arabs, and Persians live, there will certainly never be an atmosphere of mutual trust with the other peoples. For this reason, it is of foremost importance for the Kurds to deal with the facts correctly, to show their sincerity in facing their own history and to get rid of this disease of predatory plunder mentality.

This op-ed was originally published in Turkish by Gazete Sabro on January 22, 2020. The original can be found here

The views expressed in this op-ed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SyriacPress.