Three years ago I met them at the Frankfurt International Book Fair. They didn't have to explain me about themselves, knowing them since I was a child in Jerusalem and due of the fact that many of my friends and even a member of my family came originally from that part of the world which they came from. Those were the Kurds.
But, this was the first time which I was introduced to the Kurdish culture, and indeed they had a lot to offer and not only music, they had books, many books. Almost all of the Jewish Kurds immigrated to Israel and most of them are living today in Jerusalem. On one of the corners of the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem one can find some Jewish Kurds merchants who are known for being trustworthy and for respecting work and family values.
It's not a secret that the State of Israel had and probably still having a strong relationship with the Kurds. One of my best friends, Kak Ghazi, was the last head of the Mossad station in Kurdistan and was working with the legendary Molla Mustafa Barzani. Since then, the Kurds built themselves in order to become an independent state among the other states in the world. After the first Gulf war the Kurds faced prosperity and continued to develop their autonomy. But the last years and especially the "Arab Spring" and all the political changes in the Middle East forced them to fight more and more for their independence. This war collected from them not only casualties but money and brought them to another dangerous edge.
On October 2015 I had a second chance to meet at the Frankfurt International Book Fair the Minister of Culture & Youth of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mr. Khalid Abdulrahman Dosky. After visiting my stand at the Israeli pavilion, I paid a visit to the Kurdish pavilion and was astonished to discover again that in spite of all the fights which the Kurds involved with they didn't loose their cultural spirit and they didn't give up on the written words. Many new books were presented to me, and to be honest, even if that is their way to show to the world that they are not different from the independent countries by means of literature, they have a real and long history of culture which is part of them as a nation, as a people.
"We are the frontline of the western democracies," said to me Mr. Khalid, "on the ground we fight on behalf of the international community. We are divided into four parts; each part has a problem with its central government, in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran. In southern Kurdistan our enemies attack us in different names such as: Baath party, Al Qaeda, Isis and so on. Then we must fight them ideologically and we need more support to organize more cultural events. We thank the international community for their military help but we need cultural help as well. So many enemies and we are doing the work in order to keep the safety of the western democracies and we don't have enough money to pay the salaries." The minister added that at the moment there are almost five millions citizens in Kurdistan plus nearly 2.5 millions of refugees because of the fighting.
A week ago the Kurds declared their independency. There's no doubt that now they should receive more aid from the west and particularly money. Personally I don't think that the Kurds are looking to destabilize the order in the Middle East, on the contrary, they are a very important asset and this is the time to invest in this new and yet unrecognized country.
The Kurds are known as daring and brave warriors but the question is whether it's enough. Here in Israel we learned the meaning to be surrounded by many enemies and we are still paying in blood. The war in the Middle East would easily reflect on the whole world if we won't do the right thing. As an author and publisher I can't ignore the suffer which the Kurdish authors and publishers are having, I know for sure that even those among them who were involved with activities against the armies of the other surrounding countries did that because they didn't have another option in order to gain their right for independency, the right to protect their life's.
I don't justify violence and I do believe that there's always a solution for everything, the question is whether the fat and wealthy democracies are willing to accept another new state and help it to gain its right to spread its culture all over the world. Please don't compare that to the situation in my country, Israel, these days. As a citizen of the city Jerusalem I have to live now with the risk that someone can surprise me and stab me on the back. I prefer to use a pen rather then a knife in order to gain my goal because it's more elegant to sign on an agreement with a pen and not with a blood of millions of corps.