Commentaries #24

Colonial continuities in the Kurdish liberation
By Jan Yasin Sunca, Bielefeld University

Executive summary: 

his commentary seeks to examine the extent to which Kurdish liberation projects are free from the global colonial continuities. While the discussion on colonialism and Kurdistan typically centres on the Kurds’ relationships with their immediate colonisers, it obscures at least two forms of colonial continuities in Kurdish liberation projects. A decolonial perspective built on the coloniality concept enables these colonial continuities. Firstly, the manifestation of politico-tribal domination in Başûr (South Kurdistan, Iraq) is a common feature of postcolonial states that perpetuates the originally colonial power relations within internal structures. Secondly, the Rojava (West Kurdistan, Syria) revolution, which, despite its extensive criticism of orientalism, inadvertently reproduces the frustration of Rojava’s people arising from the feeling of abandonment, by equating “we fight for humanity” with “we fight for Western values.” The reproduction of internal coloniality and Western superiority are, I argue, inextricably linked to the colonial nature of modern power. 

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