Julien Goldstein has been nominated for the Visa d’Or Feature award, for his project Kurdistan: People with No Rights, but Anger. Winners will be announced Friday, September 7. The full feature is on the Reportage site.
The Kurdish people who, for more than two thousand years, have been living in the lands of Anatolia and Persia, have their own unique history. Their land exists: it is Kurdistan, extending from the Anatolian plateau and plains to the Zagros mountains, but the borders of this vast land have never been recognized by any State. There is a land, a language and a culture, yet today, in the early 21st century, the 40 million Kurds of the Middle East now form the largest population of stateless persons in the world.
Everywhere we went, the Kurds we met conveyed the same feeling: the sense of belonging to a population that has been “sacrificed” by history.
In the 20th century in particular, when this region of the world was weakened a number of times and saw its geopolitical map redrawn, the Kurds have never managed to gain recognition of their land and rights. Almost one century after the promise made by the Allied powers in 1920 to establish a “Great Kurdistan” in the Middle East, a promise never kept, the Kurds are still struggling to achieve this goal. With the exception of Iraq, with a Kurdish autonomous region in the north of the country since 1992, this is an ongoing struggle of an entire people, fighting for their rights – the right to their identity and the right to democracy.