The sheep and the Chevrolet, a journey through Kurdistan
Paul Elek publishers, ltd.
The Kurds are a very ancient people. Deeply rooted to their ancestral soil, which lies astride three countries - Turkey, Irak and Iran - they have been there, so history tells us, for more than three thousand years, close to what is probably the cradle of their race, the Zagros Mountains. Small wonder that they have always intrigued me.
The famous Hittites, in whom the modern ethnologists of Ankara have discovered a kinship with the Turks, cannot boast of much greater antiquity, for their occupation of Asia Minor hardly goes back beyond 1900 B.C. Moreover, about a thousand years before our times, such semblance of unity and civilisation as they had evolved began to disintegrate; their dominion was therefore limited, whereas the vigour and stability of the Kurd are almost unique.
Their neighbours and masters, the Turks (for long masters in name only), consented to marriages with immigrant peoples, perhaps losing thereby a little of the race's individuality; but in the sixteenth century they attained the zenith of their power under the Khalifs with Soliman the Magnificent and then, after a long decline, their present-day political zenith under the Republic. During all this time the Kurds remained barbarians; clinging to their mountains, their sole interests were for their flocks of sheep or buffalo.