A view on Rahman the Kurd and the history of armed struggle in Iranian Kurdistan
The world is witnessing major changes lately, and these changes have been more rapid and apparent with the recent revolutions in the Middle East. Iran, one of the most brutal states in the Middle East, is doing its share to make sure the change is backwards. After failing to manipulate the Kurdish demonstrators in Slemany to think backwards, the Iranian authorities went back to their old tactic, killing. The followers of the Persian Ayatollahs restarted bombing Kurdish villages to fight the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK). PJAK is a new Kurdish guerilla organization that is using armed struggle to achieve justice. This outdated method has been tried unsuccessfully many times. Carol Prunhuber has written a remarkable book about Ghassemlou titled The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd. It is a comprehensive review of the history of armed struggle in Iranian Kurdistan.
Carol has gathered her information from various reliable sources ranging form personal observation in Kurdistan to legal documents and interviews with many politicians from around the world. To name a few, Ben Bella, the former president of Algeria, Talibani, the current president of Iraq, Bani Sadr, the former president of Iran, Ghasemlou himself, and his successor Sharafkandi, the general secretaries of KDPI are among the interviewed. Carol describes the life style, the hardship, and the sacrifices of Kurdish freedom fighters known as pishmerga and the manipulative, aggressive, and merciless behavior of the Iranians towards them even during negotiations.
She writes about the passion and death of many Kurdish pishmarga leaders from Simko to Ghassemlou, or Rahman the Kurd. Rahman had asked to write in his biography that he was born when Simko was murdered. In fact Rahman was born in 1930, the same year when Simko was murdered by an Iranian emissary during peace negotiations. Carol writes: “While the echoes of soldiers’ booths reverberated, Kurdish blood ran through the streets of the city. In the house that had drawn one of the Simko’s final glances, a women heard through the mist of her labor the first cry of her newborn son”. The son is meant to be Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou. Like Simko, Rahman too was murdered at the peace negotiation table on July 13, 1989.
Carol writes about the character traits, personal and professional life, devotion, and beliefs of Rahman, a democratic and worldly intellectual, a fighter, and a negotiator for democracy for Iran and autonomy for Kurdistan. One of Carol’s interesting quotes from Rahman reads: “In line with our principles, we do not hijack airplanes, we do not take hostages, nor do we put bombs in cities. We do not do this even in Iran, despite the fact that if one does not commit this type of actions, no one even speaks about you. Neither do we fight directly against the United States to induce the socialist countries to support us, nor fight against the Soviet Union to garner support form the United States”.
In addition to being a documented history of Kurdish armed resistance in Iran during the twentieth century, the book points out the role of foreign powers in shaping Kurdistan, Iran, and the Middle East. It reviews how these powers support and overthrow regimes, how they engage in financial, political, and military deals. It is a reminder about these powers hypocritical passivity and inability to bring Iranian state sponsored terrorists to justice. She points out the role of the Iranian leaders and their agents in assassinations of political opponents around the world, including the role of Ahamdinejad in the assassination of Ghassemlou.
The book is a must read for anyone interested in liberty, justice, and equality for all including the Kurds. A conclusion from the book is that the Kurdish movement cannot be stopped despite all the pain and suffering afflicted on the Kurds and their leaders by their enemy. Taking the life of a Kurdish leader has led to the birth of many new ones. Neither violence nor secretive single party negotiation with a merciless enemy has been fruitful. Unity among the Kurds to promote their national interest, peaceful negotiation under the protection of international community, and passive resistance should be the strategy of the Kurdish movement.