Iraq: "These People"

by Chihchun Yuan

Turkish President Abdullah Gul revealed recently to Euronews his solution to the conflict with Turkey’s Kurdish minority: “to those who want to fight to [the] death and not give up their weapons, then our military must tackle that and fight these people to the end.”  I got the impression that the Turkish government has no other strategy to make people lay down their weapons except fighting them.  I also know that Gul’s determination to subjugate Kurds is directed, in part, at another country.

Turkey has used its military power to chase the Turkey Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, into Iraq.  Justifying its actions by saying it is fighting “terrorism,” Turkey has destroyed Iraqi farmers’ houses, orchards, animals, and lives for more than 15 years.

One Kurdish girl said she had to learn how to use a gun when she was 13 years old. “What can you do,” she sighed, “when you have seen too many innocent people killed or disappeared by your own government since your childhood?”  On her face were old burn marks from some kind of torture.

My favorite Japanese novelist, Haruki Murakami, said, on the occasion of receiving the Jerusalem Prize, “If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg; because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile shell; each of us confronting a high wall.  That high wall is the system.”

Why can’t governments respect the unique soul of every person?  How can a government turn its own citizens into rebels?  How can a government point its people to the way of death rather than life?  These are some of the many questions in my mind.