Komala and Kurdistan
If Eastern Europe is any indication of how national question develops in this day and age, we saw the same nationalities that went for complete independence in one country, did not choose separation in another, the main factor being the attention to democracy in the country in question, among different nationalities who live together. People under free conditions, live together out of choice and not by force, and intimidations and calling them separatist, will not stop nationalities from going their own way, and it may even impel them to do so.
If a democracy develops in Iraq, Kurds will be the main
force in the central government of the whole Iraq, and will not give up such a
position to become a small national state in the North. Of course if the Shiite
Islamists in the South, succeed in creating an Islamic Republic, then they can
push Iraq into partitioning.
Nonetheless, I doubt it if the Shiite Islamists can push Iraq away from a secular state too far. They are using all their force with the help of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), to establish a strong foothold in post-US Iraq, after June 30, 2004 deadline, but they are dreaming, if they think post-June Iraq can ever become a Khomeini state. They can try all their best intimidations, to force the world public opinion, that Shiite Islamists are the embodiment of Iraqi Shi'a aspirations, but it is hard to be convincing.
The Iraqi Shiites know well about the experience of
Islamism in the region, and particularly the Shi'a version of it in the Islamic Republic in Iran, the same way the neighbors of Soviet
Union knew well what Communism is, and so the Shiite Islamist leaders cannot
deceive people, to gain more base in the future Iraqi state, and Kurds have the best
chance to fill the vacuum. Also the U.S. is hiring back Saddam's
Sunni generals, and is in a way reviving Saddam's regime, without Saddam, to neutralize
the Shiite Islamists. Therefore for IRI to play a role in Iraq, similar to
Syria's role in Lebanon, is not without serious challenges.
As far as Turkey, the Kurds in Turkey are the most possible candidates for a separate state, and all the aspiration for such a solution of Great Kurdistan, has always been coming, more from the Kurds of Turkey, since racism from *people* of a land against the Kurds, is a real thing only in Turkey. Moreover, in both Iraq and Iran, the issue of Kurds has been basically with the *government*, and not with the people. True that prejudices among the people exist too but very minimal.
For example, Iranians make as much jokes about Rashti or EsfahAnis as they make of Kurds, and in fact less for Kurds and more for Rashtis. And none of it is comparable to real fascist attitudes towards Kurds, which one sees in Turkey, attitudes similar to the way racial attacks ended in Armenian Genocide of 1914 in Turkey of the time of Ottomans. So I hope the Kurds from Turkey not to generalize their own experience, to those of the Kurds of Iran, to agitate anti-Persian sentiments.
Some Kurds call non-Kurd Iranians mollah supporter. The non-Kurd Iranians have been fighting IRI for decades now, and this is not right for people who have the strong issue of racism in Turkey, to presume their case to be the same as the Iranian situation, and to create flames between non-Kurd and Kurdish parts of the Iranian pro-democracy movement. Non-Kurd Iranians, contrary to Turkey, have challenged the IRI mollah regime, side-by-side with the Kurdish opposition to IRI, all these years.
Kurdistan of Iran vs Iraq and Turkey
Iranian Kurdistan has developed as part of Iran in contrast to different parts of Kurdistan of former Ottoman Empire.
Even more important is the fact that Iran's Kurdistan has not developed with Kurdistan of Ottoman Empire, even before the Safavids and Chaldran (Chaldoran) treat of 920AH (1541).
Actually at the time of Moghols, Iran's Kurdistan was under the rule of Ardalans, and later
on, during the Safavids, Ardalan rule continued with Sanandaj as its capital,
and Kurdistan had semi-autonomy within Iran, and its situation has been completely
different from Ottoman Kurdistan.
After World War I, the Ottoman Kurdistan, was divided and those parts may have some aspirations to unite again, for example the Kurdistan of Iraq and Turkey, but as noted, even Iraqi Kurds see a lot of opportunity for themselves in a united Iraq, if a secular democracy prevails, and may not pursue united Kurdistan with Turkey. People like Jalal Talabani of PUK, have played an important role in the struggle for secular democratic republic and federalism for the whole of Iraq.
Furthermore, Iran's Kurdistan had nothing to do with the partitioning of Kurdistan of Ottoman empire after WW I. Also Kurds are Iranian like the Tajiks, and the Kurdish language is an Iranian language. So the situation of Kurdish issues in Iran is very different and is
basically oppression by the state than by the people. I wish some Kurdish nationalists of Turkey would not generalize their situation to that of Iranian Kurds.
Iranian Kurds and IRI
Iranian Kurds are essentially dealing with the same situation as other Iranians. In fact, some Iranian Kurdish groups have been in the forefront and leadership of the opposition to IRI, long before many other Iranian parts of current Iranian opposition, and I am sure, just as we see in Iraq, the Kurds will have a lot of say in the post-IRI state, since all these years, they have been one of the most important parts of anti-IRI opposition for a secular republic.
About differences of Iran and Ottoman Empire, and the role of Kurds with regards to the history of development of central government in Iran, I have written in details in my book on Kurdistan, where my focus had been Iran's Kurdistan.
The reality is that globalization has made separation of small nations to be easy, and small nations nowadays stay together if they want to, not because they have to, as I explained in Globalization and Federalism.
Basically as I have written in my article Why Federalism for Kurdistan and Rest of Iran, federalism is the best solution to avoid risking the breakup of future post-IRI democracy in Iran. A breakup as witnessed in former Yugoslavia.
Insulting various nationalities like Kurds, is the worst anyone in the Iranian opposition can do, which can infuriate these nationalities and make them lose hope in a united Iran to look for separation. Actually I have seldom seen among the Iranian opposition, and the Iranian pro-democracy movement has a high opinion of the Kurdish opposition, and many non-Kurdish Iranians lost their lives in defense of the movement of Iranian Kurdish people against the Islamic Republic.
The attacks on Kurds have not come from Iranian people but were come from IRI, when Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards (pAsdArs and basijis), who insulted and raped Kurdish mothers and daughters.
Popular Movements In Kurdistan
Among Iranian Kurdish groups, I have seen a few individuals in some groups, who may call the Fars or Persians by racist remarks, equating all non-Kurd Iranians with mollahs, but these people are a very tiny minority among the Kurdish groups.
The Kurdish groups like
Komala are actually a very important part of the Iranian opposition as a
whole, and they do *not* address other parts of Iranian movement by racist
remarks. Komala cares for the success of democracy and human rights in the
whole of Iran, and they see themselves as part of the pro-democracy movement of Iran,
and have contributed a lot to its development and leadership in the last 25 years.
The separatist tendencies in Iranian Kudistan, comprise a very small part of the political spectrum, and most people in Iran's Kurdistan see their future closely tied with the rest of Iran. As noted, I have explained this with a thorough historical research in my book about the formation of central state in Iran, when focusing on the situation of Kurdistan in Iranian history.
After the fall of Shah's regime, Kurdistan was among the first areas of Iran that rose against the Islamic Republic. The reason is not hard to see. During the reign of Safavids when Iranian government was an Islamic State, albeit a monarchy but with a strong role of mollahs, we saw the main opposition first to form in Sunni areas of Iran like ghochAn and Bojnurd and Kurdistan.
Even Afghans who invaded Iran and attack Isfahan, started their commotion when a Shi'a fatwa of Iran's mollahs, who had pronounced anybody raping Sunni women in Afghanistan would go to heaven. And the fatwa had outraged the Afghans to a point that they invaded Iran during Shah Soltan Hossein's reign and ended the Safavid Dynasty.
So the Kurds of Iran being a strong Sunni minority were the first to oppose a Shi'a Islamist state in Iran. Actually Sheikh Ezzeddin Hosseini who has been labeled as a leftist and the like, represents a Shafei Sunni religious opposition to IRI. Ezzedin Hosseini and Moftizadeh were active in Kurdistan even during the Shah, and contrary to what IRI tries to depict, they were not with Shah's agents.
Actually Ezzeddin Hosseini and Moftizadeh used to struggle against Sufism that was promoted at the time of the Shah in Kurdistan. Even Moftizadeh who in the beginning of IRI cooperated with IRI, was later murdered by IRI, because he did not approve of IRI Shi'a rule. So the issue of a Shi'a religious state was always a big fear for Sunni Kurds.
The Kurds were attacked by IRI Revolutionary Guards (pasdArs) with the same wordings of Shiite anti-Sunni verbal curses. The IRI Revolutionary Guards had a religious hatred for Sunni Kurds, whom they would call Omari, etc and they raped and killed the innocent people of Kurdistan, when the first peaceful demonstration against Shi'a rule started in Kurdistan in 1979.
The people of Kurdistan took arms only in *self-defense* and not because of being guerrillas, which they were not. It is important to note that the armed struggle in Kurdistan has*never* been a guerrilla warfare like the cheriki movements in other parts of Iran, not even at the time of the Shah.
The jonbeshe mollA AvAreh and Sharifzadeh in 1966, at the time of the Shah, were an armed *mass* movement, and not a guerrilla movement, and it was the peasants who rose up against the Shah's regime, and some intellectual groups and individuals from abroad joined them later, and some of them like Parviz Nikkhah betrayed the movement in Shah's prison, but those groups were hardly any important part of that mass movement.
The history of Komala actually starts at the time of the Shah from the 1966 movement led by Mollah Avareh and Sharifzadeh. Foad Mostafa Soltani who was killed during IRI, as well as current Komala leadership like Abdollah Mohtadi, date back to that time, when Mollah Avareh and Sharifzadeh were killed. The leadership actually were like many other Iranian political groups that originated from Aryamehr University in Tehran.
Before the 60's, many leaders of Iranian political movement
originated from Technology Faculty of Tehran University, people like my own
cousin Ahmad Ghandchi of
Komala dates back to those years and to Aryamehr University, and
actually these activists did not view the issue of democracy in Kurdistan as
separate from the rest of Iran. They were *not* even related to the hezbe demokrAte kordestAn, which dated from the
Komala just like all other Iranian intellectual groups of 60's and 70's, was more of a new leftist organization, with the difference that its base was in country-side of Kurdistan. Also because of opposing guerilla movement, Komala in those years, sided more with Mao, and engaged in successful political mobilization of the masses, in contrast to all other intellectual groups of other parts of Iran that remained intellectual groups with negligible success to create a mass base.
As time passed, and Komala saw the issue of dictatorship of socialist countries, they rejected China and Albania, etc and started searching beyond the existing socialism, although they still refered/refer to themselves as socialist. I should note that even when they were Communists, they opposed Soviet Union and even their support of China, when they did, was not like some other groups that were lackeys of the Chinese Communists. Komala leadership were always independent thinkers.
In the years after 1981, they united with a very small group from other parts of Iran by the name of Sahand, and formed a Communist Party of Iran. But soon they saw this is not what they see as their ideal. They had one split where basically the old group they had united with, became the Worker-communist Party of Iran, seeking a Leninist policy. In a short while, Komala even separated from the Communist Party of Iran, and called itself Komala again.
A few from Komala stayed with Workers Communist Party. Also there were a number of people from original Komala, who stayed with the Communist Party of Iran, call themselves Komalah (with an "h" at the end), rather than going with the revived Komala, and they are still part of Communist Party of Iran.
Most of the original team is with Komala, who after discarding support for China and Albania, started looking beyond Communism . Even what they call socialism, in their interviews today, they clearly state their ideals are not anything like what they see in current socialist countries. In their ideals, they emphasize democracy, human rights, and social justice within the new world development and progress of our times and they support a secular democratic federal republic in Iran.
After studying the relevant literature, the above is my understanding of Komala and its development. To read heir own views on these issues, please consult their web site.
Federalism and IRI
The issue of Kurds and federalism is one of those issues that touches on the region, and IRI wants to broadcast a view that non-Kurd Iranian political groups do not want federalism, and tries to depict the proponents of federalism as separatists, whereas the majority of Iranian opposition today is beginning to side with federalism, and the Fars ultranationalists is a very small minority.
As I have explained on numerous times, those acting as nationalists calling the federalist programs as separatist, are more Islamic Republic proponents rather than being Iranian nationalists, and their fear is that accepting federalism, would open the way for asking for more democratic rights for the whole of Iran by all Iranians.
It is IRI misusing ultranationalist
facade, just as they did during the Iraq War, to justify the IRI despotism.
Ultranationalist slogans are a preposterous flag for Islamists, when they have
had no respect for national demands of all Iranians all these years, and when
they have been pushing
Islamism on Iran trying to eliminate even
Norouz from Iran, a New Year
Kurds celebrate, as much as any other part Iranians, if not more.
Recently in Iran, the Islamic Republic agents issued a fake communiqué, against the rights of Iranian nationalities in education, forging the signature of Jebhe Melli leaders . The forged document has been condemned by Jebhe Melli leadership inside Iran. Thus it is important to know how IRI is trying to attack the Kurdish movement with such despicable ultra-nationalist fabrications.
The reality is that the slaughter of leftists by IRI in 1981 and 1988, and the murder of leftists by the Shah's regime, were because the left had been the most ardent part of the opposition to monarchy in the 50's, 60's, and 70's, and to IRI in 80's and 90's. This is why they killed even the activists who only had one year jail terms, and were inside the IRI prisons in 1988, by Khomeini's decree.
IRI miserably accepted the peace with Saddam, on Saddam's terms. Khomeini committed a mass murder of the leftists and others in September 1988 to ensure to keep the society silent after signing the accord. And IRI did not stop at killing the leftists, and even slaughtered Forouhars later, people who were never leftists.
Let me note that my own disagreement with the left is not because of their struggle against IRI and Shah's despotism. In fact, in that regard, I support them fully, and I think they have given the most number of sacrifices in Iran's movement for democracy, both during the Shah and during IRI, and this is why the intelligence agents of Shah and IRI have the most hatred for the leftists.
My disagreement with the left is because I think their program is obsolete at
the time of post-industrial development and globalization. I have written my
views about the left in
the past, in details and do not need to repeat.
Other Groups in Kurdistan
Many groups that talk of presence in Kurdistan, may have a few sympathizers there. However, Komala, in my opinion, is the only new political group, not just in Kurdistan, but in the whole of Iran of post-1953 years, that ever had and has a mass base, first in the country-side and then in the cities.
It is true, that in the years of 1941-1953, before the CIA coup, hezbe toodeh (Tudeh Party ), and Jebhe Melli (Iran National Front), both had a mass base. And in Kurdistan, in the same period, hezbe demokrAte kordestan had a mass base. But after 1953, basically I would say all groups, including mojahedin and cherikha, which were bigger, hardly had any mass base, and were basically intellectual groups.
Even hezbe toodeh and JebheMelli of the 1953-1979 period, hardly had any mass base. I believe Komala is the only exception, being a real mass party, which I think is a good subject to study, as to why they were so successful in organizing the ordinary people, while others elsewhere in Iran failed.
When Komala was fighting IRI, almost 90% of the left in other parts of Iran, not only supported Khomeini in 1979, but the left supported hostage-taking and the overthrow of Bazargan's government. And unfortunately 90% of Iranian progressive movement was leftist in those days.
It is true that some small groups viewed khordad 1360 (may 1980) as an reactionary coup like Mohammad Ali Shah's bombardment of majles, and tried to reverse it by an uprising in 1981, which did not work, and they were slaughtered with no result, because the progressive movement, including those forces themselves, had made error after error in appeasing Islamists, and that is how the 1981 IRI massacre of the left in all areas of Iran, except Kurdistan, was successful.
Needless to say that, in 1981, in Iran, I was even threatened to death by a leftist groups for questioning Marxism. Nonetheless, I condemn the anti-Communist bigotry of Islamic Republic of Iran, and I condemn the violations against the human rights of leftists by IRI forces, just as I condemn the suppression of human rights of all other pro-democracy activists of Iran.
There are so many errors in Iranian progressive movement. I have discussed those issues in details, and have noted the major trends in the historical turns of the last 25 years in my book Futurist Iran.
I do not care much for the
including IRI president Khatami, although I support a real peaceful change to a
federal secular republic in Iran.
Iran and Iranians are different from IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran) and IRI officials. Iran and Iranians are very modern, and we had a constitutional revolution calling for civil law and modern society, with a system based on Constitutional Law, over one hundred years ago.
In fact Islamic Theocracy has now helped the *grass root* in Iran to resent mollahs, and to call for secularity and futurist modernity, and a referendum for new constitution, and regime change, at the deepest levels of society, unprecedented in any other Middle Eastern society:
Iranian political groups should recognize a federalist solution for Iran, before the Islamic Republic falls apart, or else Iran may turn into another Yugoslavia. The Komala Party can be play an important role to help the success of a democratic solution in Iran.
Hoping for a Futurist, Federal, Democratic, and Secular Republic in Iran,
Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher
April 28, 2004