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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

The Case for Kurdistan

By Chia N. Mustafa

Chia N. Mustafa ’09 attends Harvard College and is a Government concentrator living in Kirkland House.

I.

As I learned it growing up in Kurdistan, the myth of the creation of the Kurdish people goes something like this: long ago there lived an evil Assyrian king named Dehaq, cursed with two giant man-eating snakes extending from his shoulders. The snakes grew and slowly took control of the old king’s mind. To sustain the snakes, the king ordered that human brains be mixed into a stew and fed to them everyday. As the snakes began to demand ever more food, the king sacrificed ever more of his subjects. One of the palace guard sabotaged the king’s plan to slaughter innocents by mixing sheep’s brains into the vile stew and saving half the people who would otherwise have been slaughtered. These survivors were sent to the far eastern corner of the kingdom, where they lived in the mountains and became the mythic founders of the Kurdish nation.

On their inadequate diet of sheep’s brains, the snakes grew weaker. The king soon uncovered the deceit of his guard, who was promptly killed and fed to the snakes. After weeks of welcoming new arrivals to their refuge in the mountains, the Kurds noticed that something was amiss when the stream of visitors and exiles stopped. Even though they now thrived, they could never forget the terror of King Dehaq and constantly thought of those who were still suffering in their homeland.

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By Joel B. Pollak

Joel B. Pollak is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Cape Town. He was a political speechwriter for the Leader of the Opposition in South Africa from 2002 to 2006 and is a first-year student at Harvard Law School.

“The Palestinian situation itself is remediable, since it is human beings who make history and not the other way round.”
-Edward Said, “These are the realities,” Al-Ahram, April 2001[1]

 

I.

On January 23, 2007, former President Jimmy Carter addressed a packed forum at Brandeis University’s Shapiro Gymnasium to defend his recently released book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The largely Jewish audience applauded him warmly (defying the canard that Jews are viscerally hostile to criticism of Israel), and did so in spite of Carter’s refusal to debate Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz—or anyone else—at the event.

Dershowitz—who had written several scathing reviews of Carter’s book[2]—was only allowed to address the gathering after Carter had already left. After rebutting Carter’s claims, he opened the floor to questions and invited each of his interlocutors to ask a follow-up question as well. The more hostile, the better, he said.

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