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 Kurdish Uprising inspired by Tunisia unlikely to succeed 

 Analysis — Opinion 
  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


Kurdish Uprising inspired by Tunisia unlikely to succeed ‎ 29.1.2011 
By Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar

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January 29, 2011

There isn’t a single Arab leader that is not shaken up by current waves of democracy running through Middle East. Many have called it the ‘Domino effect’ after Tunisia’s successful ousting of a 23-year-old dictatorship. Egypt, following Tunisian eagerness for change and freedom is in a long struggle to radically change it’s governmental face. On the other hand we have seen Yemen’s largest protest to date of more than 30,000 citizens calling for the government to step down on Thursday. Alongside this, calls for reform have been made in other countries infamous for human rights violations in the Arab world such as Syria and Jordan.

Nawshirwan Mustafa – head of the opposition party in Kurdistan has initiated a desire for an uprising against the current Kurdish government in federal Kurdistan. What is of great concern is the delicate situation of Iraq and Kurdish minorities. An uprising could potentially destabilise the region which has been called an ‘haven’ in Iraq. Kurds enjoy a great level of security, cohesion and most importantly an increasing economic success unlike their neighbouring Iraqi Arabs.

Any uprising in Kurdistan is unlikely to succeed, mainly because there are no collective desires for reform, contrary to what we have witnessed in Tunisia and Egypt. There are genuine supporters of the current Government in Kurdistan which consequently renders any uprising weak because it would initiate a backlash from government supporters and opposition, as well as ‘riot police’.

Lets look at Tunisia, 50% of the population was unemployed and the countries economy was contingent upon tourism. In a country with high rates of unemployment and a large percentage of the population being under the age of 25, there wasn’t much to loose by protesting. Especially since a large percentage of the population had only seen one president – Ben Ali. In fact, Tunisians burning themselves and protesting were an illustration of desperation and absolute resilience to the ex-government.

Arab leaders didn’t believe Tunisians could do much when the protests began. It wasn’t even properly covered by major news agencies. Tunisians worked together,
www.ekurd.networking both abroad and inside to bring the worlds attention to their struggle. Twitter, Facebook and Mobile phones were used to give coverage for the protests as they unfolded. They were relentless, and defied the government. And most importantly they did not compromise. It was the Tunisian people’s strength and ability to fight a corrupt government.

Soon after Tunisia’s ousting of Ben Ali, Egyptians were inspired. Tunisians enabled them to overcome the ‘fear factor’ against governmental regimes. For decades Arabs were thought to be passive and submissive but Tunisia and Egypt have proved the world wrong. With a growing poverty rate of 20% in Egypt, the uprising was quickly popularised and resistance gained momentum despite a complete Internet lockdown by a scared, and weakened government.

When we look at Kurdistan we have to keep in mind that Kurds do not have excellent international relations, and secondly Kurds are not used to using social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Many have argued that Twitter & facebook have played a crucial part in current uprisings because of the flexibility it gives to socialising and communicating with large numbers of people simultaneously.

It is crucial for both the opposition and Kurdish citizens to pressurise the government into reforming certain parts of Kurdistan as opposed to initiating an uprising that could potentially be detrimental to the successful links built with outsider investors. Many areas need reform, in particular retirement plans, and the ways new businesses are conducted but calling for uprisings and revolution is not necessary because the Tunisia situation was remarkably different from the situation in Kurdistan. In addition, the most reasonable approach towards reform is through lobbying and pressuring the government that has been shaken up like many other states due to contemporary resilience among Middle Easterners.

Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar (born in 1989, Kurdistan) is a British-Kurdish writer, and law student at Kingston University law school. She has travelled eastern countries throughout her youth, and has written several articles about gender, Islam and Kurdistan. She is currently the editor of, and the founder of MCS -- a student-based community support group for those diagnosed with cancer from an ethnic background. You may visit her website at
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  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


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