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The Kurds a contemporary overview

Éditeur : Routledge Date & Lieu : 1992, London
Préface : Pages : 250
Traduction : ISBN : 0-415-07265-4
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 140x220 mm
Code FIKP : 2219Thème : Politique

Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
The Kurds a contemporary overview

The Kurds a contemporary overview

Philip G. Kreyenbroek / Stefan Sperl


The tragic events of 1991 in Iraq brought the Kurdish question to the centre of the world stage.

What is the future of Kurdistan, with a people divided by religious affiliation, dialect and state boundary?

The Kurdish problem has attracted growing international interest and concern over the last two or three decades. This book offers valuable background information to the complexities of the problem, discussing social and political issues, legal aspects, religion, language and the modern history of the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the Soviet Union.

The book is intended for anyone whose interest has been stimulated by media coverage of Kurdish issues. It will appeal particularly to students and scholars concerned with questions of nationalism and cultural identity, and to those with a professional interest in the region or the immigrants and asylum seekers coming from it.

Philip G. Kreyenbroek is Lecturer in Modern Iranian Languages at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He has published widely on ancient and modern Iranian religion, literature and civilisation. Stefan Sperl is Lecturer in Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He was formerly a staff member of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Middle East studies/politics/anthropology


The aim of this volume, which contains articles about major aspects of the life and recent history of the Kurds by leading scholars, is to introduce the reader to the plight of the Kurdish people, and to generate greater understanding and support for the many Kurds who have been forced to abandon their homelands in recent years.

Most of the papers in this book were originally presented at an orientation seminar on the Kurdish problem organized in June 1989 for a group of United Nations Staff members by Dr. Sperl and the External Services Division of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London (SOAS). The papers have since been revised and updated by the authors. Other contributions, in particular those on Turkey, Syria and the Soviet Union, have been especially commissioned for this volume.

In a book of this type transliteration is a major problem, as different conventions are normally used to transliterate Arabic, Kurdish, Persian and Turkish. The editors have sought to achieve some degree of consistency, but it proved impossible to reach complete uniformity. The use of diacritical signs has been kept to a minimum, and in some cases preferences of individual contributors have been respected.

The editors would like to extend their special thanks to Professor Tony Allan and to Ms Diana Matias, without whose help and encouragement the project would not have been realized. We also received much valuable help in editing the papers from Ms Jane Connors, and from Mr George Joffe, Dr. Bengisu Rona and Mr Eralp Alışık. Some of the publication costs were met by the SOAS Research and Publications Committee and the SOAS Middle East Centre. The final typescript was compiled with the help of Ms Diana Gur and Ms Fiona McEwan of the Middle East Centre. We are very grateful for their expertise and for their unfailing good humour in dealing with the text.


The material in this volume reflects the opinions of the contributors. Officials of the School of Oriental and African Studies, where the material appearing here was coordinated and edited, do not necessarily share the views expressed.


Sami Zubaida

The collection of papers in this volume brings together many aspects of Kurdish history, politics and culture. They are valuable scholarly contributions. Their interest, however, at this particular point in time, goes beyond the scholarly. The Kurdish nation is living and suffering a particularly critical conjuncture in its history. At a time of advances in democracy and respect for human rights in many parts of Europe and elsewhere, the transgressions against Kurdish lives and liberties are getting worse. The outcome of the two recent regional wars frame the problems and the prospects for the Kurds.

The aftermath of the Iraq - Iran war brought calamity to Iraqi Kurdistan, which suffered the concerted savage onslaught of Iraqi forces, killing thousands with chemical weapons, uprooting and relocating even larger numbers, and razing towns and villages which have been Kurdish habitations for centuries. The face of Iraqi Kurdistan has been dramatically transformed, making the very territorial identity of the Kurds precarious. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds, uprooted by the war, by Iraqi deportations, first of Faili Kurds to Iran before and in the early years of the war (estimated at 130,000, see Morad in this book), then more recently of Kurds expelled from their towns and villages and resettled in government "new towns" with no tangible means of subsistence, and refugees in make-shift camps in Turkey estimated at 60,000. These are in addition to the many thousands deported to other parts of Iraq since the early 1970s.

In Iran, Kurds suffered the depredations of war, being in the border regions between the combatants, and coming in, in the earlier years of the war, for the special attention of the Revolutionary Guards fighting Kurdish insurgents, destroying villages and generally imposing a harsh and violent regime on …


Hamit Bozarslan is a Member of the Equipe de Recherches sur la Turquie et l'Iran contemporain, CERI, Paris.

Martin van Bruinessen is a frequent visitor to Kurdistan and a well-known specialist on Kurdish affairs.

Jane Connors is a lecturer in the Law Department of SOAS, London. Kurdish affairs are among her special fields of interest.

Fereshteh Koohi-Kamali is an Oxford-trained specialist in the modern history of the Middle East generally, and of the Kurds in particular.

Philip G. Kreyenbroek is Lecturer in Modern Iranian Languages at SOAS; he is currently working on religious movements in Kurdistan, and on oral traditions in Iranian languages.

David McDowall is a specialist in Middle Eastern affairs, and author of several publications on the Kurds and the Palestinians.

Munk Morad is a Member of the Centre of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, SOAS.

A. Sherzad is a Kurdish researcher currently studying the influence of `modernity' on Kurdish culture and politics.

Stefan Sperl is currently Lecturer in Arabic at SOAS; he worked for UNHCR for ten years, and has a special interest in Kurdish refugees.

Ismet Chériff Vanly has represented the Kurdish people at an international level for many decades, and has published widely on Kurdish affairs.

The position of the 19 million Kurds is an extremely complex one. Their territory is divided between 5 sovereign states, none of which has a Kurdish majority. They speak widely divergent dialects, and are also divided by religious affiliations and social factors. It has taken the tragic and horrifying events in Iraq this year to bring the Kurds to the centre of the world stage, but their particular problems, and their considerable geopolitical importance, have been the source of growing concern and interest during the last two to three decades.

There is a remarkable dearth of reliable and up-to-date information about the Kurds, which this book remedies. Its contributors cover social and political issues, legal questions, religion, language, and the modern history of the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the Soviet Union. The Kurds will be an invaluable source of reference for students and specialists in Middle East studies, and those concerned with wider questions of nationalism and cultural identity. It also offers extremely useful background information for those with a professional concern for the numerous Kurdish immigrants and asylum seekers in Western Europe and North America.

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