The KODAR leadership council: We are Demanding a Democratic-Nation instead of a Nation-State26 June, 2016
Why is the democratic-nation preferable to the nation-state? What is the meaning of Democratic-Nation? How seriously have the problems of different nations been worked out in Iran? What is the importance of regional changes and Kurdish actions to the changes and their effect on the Kurds’ situation in Iran? These topics are covered by Fuad Beritan, a member of the Leadership Council of the “Free and Democratic Society of Eastern Kurdistan,” KODAR, for Firat News Agency. Translated by Rojhelat info and Kurdish Question.
– When the time comes to talk about solving the problem of the Iranian peoples, different models are discussed. What is the difference between the model of the nation-state and the democratic-nation that you propose as a solution to the people’s problems?
In this context, we can say that there are two basic concepts. First is a Nation-State and second is a Democratic-Nation. Theoretically, both aim at problem-solving, but the method and the result of these two formulas are different. In history, the Nation-State model appears about 400-500 years ago as a political system with social classes and a government. Governments always seek ambition and power. The nation-state has been the final form of the modern state. These days, the world’s global capital sees the nation-state as a fundamental barrier to its progress, which is why they want to surpass it. In some cases they have overcome it successfully, however, one cannot say that they have completely rejected the nation-state frame of mind. Rather, global capital, to expand its borders, has made changes to management structures. A global empire is today’s debate, which proves that the nation-state is not only defined within a government organization, but organized at a global level.
We can see the structures that the nation-state has brought; structures which are against cultural and social diversity, and different identities, attempting to assimilate them. The nation-state projects one particular model which people are forced to accept and follow.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, as with a nation-state, denies all cultural, ethnic and political diversity, trying to take control of all of them. The Iranian regime’s inhuman policies, such as starving people, promoting drugs, militarising and creating a background of terror, also attempts cultural genocide by destroying all diversity. In fact, it can be said that the nation-state mentality is a background which leads towards fascism. At this point an important debate is needed on how to solve the system of democracy and find alternatives to the nation-state.
– In contrast to this model, how exactly would a democratic-nation describe itself and provide an answer to the current conflict?
Today, you see our people in northern Kurdistan “Turkey”, western Kurdistan “Rojava” and recently in Sinjar “Shangal” who have also come to a democratic self-rule solution, which is also based on organizing the democratic-nation model. The democratic-nation is diverse and inclusive of different identities, rejecting the imposition of a single religion and language, and segregation through sex and class. The Democratic-Nation is based on a diverse and pluralistic society, rather than a homogenous nation. It is based on a society which been founded on basic democratic principles, which allows for distinct colours and sounds and cultural diversity to flourish. It is based on freedom and equality in people’s relation to each other and to their society.
A democratic-nation not only includes Kurds, but other peoples such as Fars, Arabs, Balochis, Azari, etc. It is based on a common mentality, not on a single language, religion or race. A democratic-nation will value a democratic and communal society, as well as all languages and groups in that society. Today, the Free and Democratic society of Eastern Kurdistan, KODAR, is trying to build a communal society in Kurdistan and also in Iran. This means that all the people who have accepted the conditions of communal and democratic life, who live in Iran and Kurdistan, are a part of the democratic-nation of the Eastern Kurdistan and Iran. These people form a “democratic-nation”.
– If you could be a little bit more specific, what are the essential expectations of the Iranian political system?
It is clear that the fairest option for the Islamic Republic of Iran would be to create internal democratic change, resolving crises and risks ahead, instead of accepting the ideas imposed by other forces (external and internal). If the Islamic Republic of Iran took a path towards greater democracy, then great change could take place in the region. The source of problems in Iran is that it chooses to stay away from democratic principles and eliminate the Kurds, amongst others. This position has only perpetuated tragedy, massacre, and the spread of the crisis. Today the Kurds are the vanguard of democracy, united with other people in the region. Kurdish political capabilities are all thanks to this. In the past, the division of Kurdistan led to the formation of a geopolitical crisis in the Middle East, but today the establishment of a democratic united agreement with neighbouring people and a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem will finally be able to resolve the crisis.
Without the correct dialogue and outlook, solving the problem of the Kurdish people, amongst other issues, is impossible. Rouhani’s government should provide a platform for dialogue with Kurds. The Kurdish freedom movement is just the surface, with the potential to lead Iran to a democratic model which could spread throughout the region. This is not based on a breakdown of the state or an assertion of Kurdish nationality, as the Kurds do not need such a solution. If we look at Rojava, especially Kobane, and Sinjar, which have already lived this model successfully, we can see that the Kurds not only overcame an intensive crisis but did so through serious and honest democratic means.
The Islamic Republic of Iran should understand that the way to solve problems cannot be through a politics of fear and conservatism. With such an approach they only lose opportunities presented to them, making a solution more difficult. The only solution for Rouhani’s Office would be to pave the way to developing strategies for change, as discussed in their election rhetoric.
If problem-solving continues to be attempted through the centralisation of government power and the continual dismissal of people’s demands, the current crisis will only be further exacerbated. Neither the centralised government nor the nationalist opposition can offer a solution.
The Islamic Republic should stop its policies of increased security and militarisation of society, fear and repression, arrests, torture and execution, which are all contrary to the promotion of democratic politics. If the government changes its security policy, this will in turn gain the trust of the people, as well as allowing long term problems to be solved by both sides.
Free Kurdish participation in Iranian politics will only strengthen the country. Iranian history has been enriched by many peoples: Kurds, Azaris, Balochis, Mazanis, Gilakis, Arabs and many others. Today, the Kurds and these other peoples want to participate in the political system in a free and democratic manner, not one based on dominance or submissiveness. In the social arena they also want to form a democratic-nation of democratic autonomy status.
– If the Islamic Republic continues to insist on the suppression of the Kurds, what position will you take?
It should be aware that it can no longer control the Kurds, especially with the current political organization in the creation of self-defence which cannot be destroyed. By following repressive policies these governments expect us to give up freedom, but they know well how we have dedicated ourselves to fight for freedom all our lives. Kurdish hands are reaching out in a handshake for peace and democratic coexistence for everyone, but these hands will also fight against any power that wants to sacrifice Kurds for their own interests and greed. This is the dual aspect of freedom fighters!
KODAR has its own strategy and tactics but is prepared to integrate with other democratic parties and organizations in Iran and the region, such as feminist and environmental ones. We have the ability to discuss politics and organization in a peaceful and democratic way. If the Iranian regime rejects a resolution and insist on its anti-Kurdish stance, we will expand the scope of our campaigns. If there is not a political resolution to the demands of the Kurdish people, then KODAR defence capabilities can confront all the dangers which threaten the Kurds.
The Kurdish democratic movement, under the umbrella of KODAR, has always been ready to propose a democratic approach. In this regard, the effort to create a democratic alliance with all Iranian people, including leftist forces, democratic Muslims, feminist movements, organizations of civil society and the law, has been worked out, in addition to the efforts towards building a democratic-nation.
Source: Firat News Agency
Translated by Rojhalat.info & Kurdish Question