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LA Times marginalizes Kurdish heritage

Kurdishaspect.com – By Kay Azadabeen

I was made aware of the following article in LA Times online blogs titled “Iraq’s Kurds flock to parks to mark Persian New Year”.

I was surprised that there was no explanation that the paper had made a mistake. Neither the title of the article nor the accompanied picture is representing the identity of the Kurds celebrating their Newroz. For those who are not aware what Newroz means to the Kurds I like to refer to one million people who gathered on March 21st in Amed and celebrated their national holiday so enthusiastically.

Of course Kurds and Persians are cousins and culturally related. In fact they are as close to each other as Jews are to Arabs or Irish are to British. However, calling the most important national Kurdish holiday that was celebrated by the Kurds as belonging to another ethnic group is nothing but humiliation and insult to most Kurds who value their own identity.

No paper would say Arabs in Baghdad celebrated the Persian Tasuaa/Ashura, or the Jewish boys perform Arabic circumcision rituals. I am not aware of any journalist reporting that American celebrate Roman, Greek, or British New year, they just celebrate their own new year. Newroz and March 21st are as important for the Kurds as New Year and January First are for the most part of the Western world.

It is the responsibility of Los Angeles times to apologize to the Kurdish people for the mistake its untrained reporters made. The reporter might have been also thinking to get the attention of the Persian dominated LA media by calling the multi national new year in spring as only a Persian matter. Persian heritage has its own unique beauty and deserve recognition, but not by marginalizing the Kurdish identity. LA times might be forgiven by the Kurds, if the paper admits its error as National Geographic did when they erroneously named the Persian gulf as the Arabic gulf.

It is also the responsibility of every Kurd to remind the LA times and other established media not to intimidate and humiliate them by marginalizing their heritage and culture as a subdivision of the dominant cultures in the Middle East. Kurds might share many things with Persians, Arabs, and Turks, but calling their heritage anything but Kurdish is simply an insult. Please either write a letter to LA Times or post a comment here, if you are interested to defend the Kurdish heritage and identity.

Encyclopedia of Kurdistan Online “KURDISTANICA