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By: Daniel Sugarman

Edwin Shuker’s Iraqi school report turned up in an exhibition at the US National Archive. He told a Limmud audience the remarkable story of how it got there

 (Left) Mr Shuker's school report, as featured in the National Archive exhibit, (Right) Mr Shuker in Baghdad (Photos: Courtesy of Edwin Shuker)

In May 2003, in the wake of a month long invasion of Iraq which saw the toppling of the country’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, a man approached an American army unit with a story — and an offer.

In front of a spellbound audience at the Limmud Festival, Edwin Shuker, Vice President of the Board of Deputies, told the story in full.

“The man said, ‘I want to make a deal with you… I was the head of the Intelligence Service [Mukhabarat] unit in Iraq that deals with Israel and the Jewish people.

“‘I have been hiding. In return for safe asylum, I will show you a treasure of Jewish archives and documents which will blow your mind.’

“At the time, luckily, there was a guy there known to many of us as Harold [Rhode], who was embedded into the Pentagon’s unit, but he is a scholar in Semitic languages, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew — and he’s an Orthodox Jew.

“He was negotiating with the man, and the deal was ‘take me there, I’ll decide if you are telling the truth, and if so the Americans will consider giving you asylum.’”

Mr Shuker was born in Iraq. He and his family fled the country in 1971 in response to the increasingly repressive treatment of Jews by the Iraqi government, a key member of which was Saddam Hussein.

He described how the man took Mr Rhode and colleagues to a “huge building in the centre of Baghdad… whichhad been penetrated by a colossal, unexploded bomb.

“The guy said ‘in the cellar, you will find everything I promised you’.

“And Harold with his team and the guy went into the cellar. What they discovered was that the bomb actually destroyed the water system of the building, and that cellar was in 5ft of dirty water.

“Harold started picking things up from the floor, and he realised that the entire cellar was full of documents. He pulled out a Sefer Torah, and papers that had been in water for days.

 Books from the archive prior to the restoration proces (Photo: Courtesy of Harold Rhode)

“Harold called his general and said, ‘I want you to send people to drain the cellar.’ The guy’s answer was ‘we are an army at war; you think we are a drainage service?’ and put the phone down.”

Mr Shuker, who knows Mr Rhode, said that he and others had been calling him and asking him what was happening in Baghdad.

“He was literally in tears. At that moment, Natan Sharansky calls him from Jerusalem. And Harold says, ‘I’m watching our people’s history disappearing in front of my eyes.’

“Natan says, ‘I have one person in mind who may be able to save this.’

“He made a call — I am not at liberty to say to who — but suddenly the Americans went into action and the National Archives of the United States of America — for the first time — dealt with something which is not American.”

As Mr Shuker described, the Americans sent a Boeing 747, equipped with a giant freezer — “because the way to deal with documents and archives of that nature in water is to freeze them to start with” — to transport over 27,000 documents, primarily concerning the 20th century Iraqi Jewish community, but also containing works dating back to the 16th century.

There were other fascinating occurrences along the way. Mr Shuker said that the transport plane landed at a military base in Rhode Island, where it was demanded, as a “national security” measure, that the electricity on the plane be switched off. Those flying with the documents made it clear that this would not be possible but officials were firm. In the end, the flight team demanded to speak with the commander of the base.

“The head of the base comes in, with a kippah on his head,” Mr Shuker said.

There were no more issues with the flight’s electricity.

The documents were transported to a facility in Maryland, where they were worked on for the next decade.

“Out of 27,000 documents, ten per cent were written off — they were buried in Washington with a beautiful ceremony.”

Fast forward to 2013; Mr Shuker was in Washington, speaking to a group, when he found out that the National Archive was due to exhibit items from the Iraqi Jewish community. He went to the archive and persuaded the curator of the exhibition and the president of the museum to give him a preview.

“We started working through the exhibit. ‘This is the oldest Torah — 16th century. This is the oldest Talmud.’

They were exhibiting 24 items — out of 27,000.

 US researchers with some of the Iraqi-Jewish documents (Photo:

“And then they said ‘these are personal items’ — divorce documents, marriage documents, very personal — and they said ‘We also have an example of the Iraqi Jewish school called Frank Iny School, and these are the school reports of children.’

“I said, ‘that’s where I went’.

“There were two school reports, one for a boy and one for a girl. And the boy was me. I swear to God. The boy was me.

“I thought, ‘This cannot be’. I was looking for a candid camera around. I asked, ‘Excuse me, why did you choose this boy and this girl out of all the thousands?’

“She said, ‘We are experts in preserving letters, but not pictures. These reports had pictures — almost all of them were underwater and we cannot recover them, except this little boy, whose picture was just perfect.’

“I said, ‘Well, that little boy is me’. And she looked up, and you can imagine the emotion. We hugged each other.”

This, however, was far from the end of the story — and this was where Mr Shuker asked his Limmud audience to consider some issues with potentially very far-reaching consequences for Jewish communities.

“Recently the West has become very conscious and sensitive about things they have taken from the East — antiquities and all sorts of things,” he said.

He described how, “on a recent visit to the Foreign Office here, as part of the Board of Deputies relationship with the British government, they told us, in a great announcement, that they had managed to convince the British Museum to send back to Iraq some surplus material… as a gesture saying, ‘This belongs to you, please have it back’.

“And the great news that they wanted to share with us is that most of these are Jewish heirlooms.

“Similarly, the State Department is now making bilateral agreements with all these countries, saying, ‘We will not allow any of your items, especially the failed states of Libya, Syria and Iraq — we will not allow stolen and looted things from your museums to be traded here. We will seize it as stolen property and return it.’

“Wonderful. But then it actually states in the agreement, ‘including all the Jewish items and Jewish archives that are there’ — which is a huge market, by the way, Sifrei Torah.

“That agreement would mean that anything that Jews from Arab countries have left behind now has to go back.

“There are synagogues in the United States thinking, ‘We are going to have to justify why we have a Sefer Torah from Baghdad, which has to be returned’. It could be interpreted like that, if somebody wanted to.”

The idea that Jewish items, which were seized by Middle Eastern countries from Jews, are now to be returned to the governments of those countries by the UK and US is a painful one to many Jews, especially those from Arab lands.

The Iraqi archive is a case in point,with ramifications and implications far beyond this collection.

“When the Americans took the items, they were very sensitive that the Iraqis should not think that they [the Americans] were taking their culture away from them,” Mr Shuker said.

“So the State Department signed an agreement in black and white that the United States are borrowing this archive for the purpose of preservation, and it will be returned to Iraq as soon as that is done.

“As soon as this 2013 exhibit came along, the Iraqi embassy and the Iraqi government said, ‘Thank you very much, you’ve done a fantastic job, now we want it back.’

“They made a temporary agreement which ended in September 2018, which said ‘in September 2018, the entire collection goes back’.”

However, Mr Shuker has, as he has described, been “the lead in a Class A lawsuit” on this issue. After all, one of the documents in question is demonstrably his.

He believes that the school report would have been placed with the other archival material because of what would have happened when his family fled the country.

“There is a racist, antisemitic law in Iraq, which is still there today, started in 1951, law number five, which states that any Jew who leaves Iraq for more than three months automatically is considered to have renounced his Iraqi nationality and has no right to get it back. Even today.

“When we escaped from Baghdad in 1971, there was an announcement in the newspaper: ‘These are the runaways, you have three months to report back, otherwise your nationality will be taken away and your assets’, meaning they would go back to our home and strip it.”

 Mr Shuker on a visit returning to Baghdad (Photo: Courtesy of Edwin Shuker)

Much of the rest of the archival material was taken directly from the Iraqi Jewish community by Saddam Hussein’s officials, Mr Shuker said.

“We went to people — still, 50 years on, people who worked in the Iraqi Jewish community at the time — they would not give their names in court. Most of these files were at the offices of the Iraqi Jewish community.

“In the early 80s, people came to them and said, ‘Saddam Hussein would like to have a museum for his Iraqi Jewish community. We want all your papers, all your archives.’

“The leaders said, ‘Of course, we would love to — please take everything.’ What else would you say to Saddam Hussein?”

There are understandable fears that the archive will be mistreated if it is returned to the country, with concern centred on how Jewish shrines in the country have been treated — in particular, the shrine of the prophet Ezekiel — since 2003.

“Nouri al-Maliki [Prime Minister of Iraq from 2006-2014] gave a tender to an Iranian company,” Mr Shuker explained. “They took over a huge area and constructed a very large mosque, which completely incorporated the shrine of Ezekiel. The graves were desecrated, the bones thrown out.”

Despite the agreement being that the archived items would be returned in September 2018, Mr Shuker told the audience, “We have been managing to delay the sending back by telling the US State Department, ‘We will hold you responsible if these archives go back to the same sewage waste that they came out of. What guarantee have we got that they are actually going to be treasured?’”

He confirmed that there had been a “three-year extension, which is not yet formal, you will not see it on the internet... to allow the Iraqis to come up with a proposal as to where are they going to keep it, how are they going to make it accessible — especially to the owners of those things, so that Edwin Shuker can take his son and say, ‘This is my certificate, this is the place they took from me’ — is that going to be open for us?”

However, Mr Shuker suggested that there were grounds for hope.

He described how “the new Culture Minister of Iraq, appointed last Tuesday, is a wise, kind man who loves our culture — many of us can call him a friend.”

He also cited an upcoming deal in Egypt which might provide a road map for other Arab countries in dealing with this issue. “In the next few weeks, the Egyptian government will announce that it is going to take over responsibility for the upkeep of certain synagogues,” adding there will also be a new board which will include members of Egypt’s tiny remaining Jewish community as well as experienced former members of Egypt’s Jewish community who now live in the diaspora.

Whether other countries will follow suit remains to be seen, but in Iraq, certainly, such an initiative seems needed.

“There are fifty-four synagogue properties in Baghdad alone,” Mr Shuker said.

“And in the basement of the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad, there are 400 Sifrei Torah”.







Updated 12 May 2017



National Geographic



National Geographic magazine began publishing in 1888.  The first article on Kurdistan was published in 1909, The Mountaineers of the Euphrates. In the manner of expression during those early times, here’s an excerpt from that article published over a hundred years ago:


Three thousand years ago the proud kings of Assyria led their trained armies northwestward into the mountainous region of the upper Euphrates and Tigris rivers. The turbulent mountaineers against whom they advanced fled before the civilized soldiers of the Mesopotamian plain and took refuge in inaccessible heights, leaving their rude villages of mud and stones to be destroyed.


Invariably the kings claimed to have defeated the wild upland tribes, as boastful inscriptions carved in the living rock still prove; but the defeat was never permanent. As soon as the soldiers retired the mountaineers reoccupied their villages, and soon began to plunder the lowlands as lawlessly as ever.


Centuries later, when Xenophon led his ten thousand Greeks from the lower Euphrates northward across the Armenian plateau to Trebizond, the mountaineers were still untamed.  All night they rolled stones down the mountain-side upon Xenophon’s army and were only vanquished by a stratagem.


Today the great empires of Mesopotamia have fallen; the power of Greece has passed away; but still, as of old, the mountains breed lawlessness, and the mountaineers are the unsubdued scourge of the people of the plains.


The lineal descendants of the Carduchi who opposed the march of Xenophon are the Kurds – a sturdy, strong-featured race of Mohammedan Aryans, allied to the Persians on the one hand and to the Armenians on the other. Their home is the southern part of the Armenian plateau, among the headwaters of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and in the Zagros Mountains, which run southeastward from Lake Van to the Persian Gulf and form the boundary between Turkey and Persia.



The choice of words and phasing today would likely be quite different.


Since then, NatGeo has published more than ten articles with direct reference to Kurdistan.


The Complete National Geographic: 125th Anniversary Edition, every issue from 1888 to 2012.  Available in a seven DVD-ROM set with ‘search’ and other helpful functions for only $6.99 direct from National Geographic Store, or Amazon Prime for about $30. Subsequent years are downloadable at $9.95 per update year.Stated retail price: $80.


Iraq – Where Oil and Water Mix   October 1958   


Talks about the booming 1950s, “. . . everywhere in Baghdad we found evidence of prosperity.” The author and his wife spent three months in Iraq during early 1958, before the July revolution that overthrew the Iraqi monarchy.  This long article with many photos talks about Iraq’s short-term resources (oil) being used to develop its longterm resources (water).  A 1950 law allocated 70% of national revenue to the

Development Board for infrastructure development projects (irrigation and flood control, efficient land use, improved public health and education, strengthened communications, industrial development).


They visited Slemani and remarked, “The Kurds are a remarkable and thoroughly lovable people.”  They relate a story about a “Kurdish bandit chieftain who terrorized all northern Iraq before he was brought to justice.”  Sentenced to be hanged, he was granted one last wish.  Gleefully he said to the judge, “I should like to be hanged with a red-andgreen rope.”


This issue has a photo of Dokan Dam under construction.  When the author mentioned to a couple of local workmen that the dam “will make a big difference in their lives” and that the “countryside will be more prosperous,” one of the local workmen replied, “There is nothing wrong with our lives now. We have our sheep, our barley, and a few vegetables.  It is enough to eat. When I need money, I sell a sheep. Since my land is poor, no one wants it. When there is irrigation, it will be valuable.  More people will come. Life will become more complicated.”


Where are such people today?!



We Who Face Death   March 1975  


This article about the Peshmerga is particularly important because, though it was written earlier that year, it was published the same month as the Algiers accords between Saddam Hussein and the Shah of Iran that led to the collapse of the Kurdistan revolution that began September 11, 1961.  This led to thousands of families fleeing their homeland in Iraq to seek refuge in Iran and other neighboring places from where many migrated to many parts of the world, particularly Europe and North America. 


In this issue, the author met with Mustafa Barzani and quoted him: "The Kurds, he declared, were struggling not only for their own freedom but also for that of everyone in Iraq. The Baathist Government in Baghdad, he went on, was the Kurds' only foe. 'We want nothing more than an autonomous Kurdistan within a democratic Iraq.' " 



Struggle of the Kurds   August 1992   


Focuses on the plight of Kurds following mass exodus into the wintry mountains along the Turkey and Iran borders. Text by Christopher Hitchens, with photos by Ed Kashi who also produced the photos for the January 2006 NatGeo article about Iraqi Kurdistan.




The Dawn of Humans:  Neandertals   January 1996   


Among this article’s features is the Shanidar Cave, about a two-hour drive from Erbil, where 50,000-year old Neandertal skeletons were found, perhaps buried according to ritual, with flowers.  Some believe this to be the earliest indication of human-like beings (hominids) having feelings for each other. 



Who’s Winning in Iraq: The Kurds in Control   January 2006


Features "The Other Iraq."  It's all there in black and white text, and convincing color photographs by Ed Kashi.  The Kurds may be the only group powerful enough to keep Iraq from tearing itself apart. But who says that's what they want?”



Kurds Fight to Preserve “the Other Iraq”   March 2016



About Iraqi Kurdistan during a time of ISIS.



During the summer of 1957, United States Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, with only his wife and their woman mechanic friend, drove from Karachi (Pakistan) to Istanbul in a Chevrolet station wagon. They drove through Afghanistan and Iran to

Baghdad via Khanaquin, then up through Iraqi Kurdistan, including Kirkuk, Baadre and Lalish, and up the Hamilton Road to Haj Omran back into Iran and then into Turkey.


West from the Khyber Pass   July 1958   by William O. Douglas  Part 1 of a road journey from Karachi (Pakistan) to Istanbul via Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq - through Khanaquin to Baghdad.  


Station Wagon Odyssey:  Baghdad to Istanbul   January 1959   

by William O. Douglas   Part 2 of a road journey from Karachi (Pakistan) to Istanbul via Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq – from Baghdad to Kirkuk, Mosul, Hatra, Yezidis (Baadre, Lalish), Tel Kayf, Erbil, Hamilton Road to Haj Omran, and back into Iran to Turkey.





There are numerous publications on Kurdistan and its diverse peoples. Amazon lists most, but not all.  

There is also the ‘international peer-reviewed journal of Kurdish Studies’ by the Kurdish Studies Network (KSN)

And there is the following bibliography:


The Kurds and Kurdistan: A Selective and Annotated Bibliography

(Bibliographies and Indexes in World History)by Lokman I. Meho   (Greenwood; annotated edition, 1997)



Many books have been written on Kurdistan and many more are awaited.  Here are two key books that offer in-depth background information and insights on where the current Iraqi Kurdistan has come from.  Both books, written separately and at very different times, fit together. 



The Kurdish National Movement:  Its Origins and Development  by Wadie Jwaideh (Syracuse University Press, 2006), based on a PhD dissertation submitted at Syracuse University in 1960. Jwaideh was a Christian Iraqi born in Basra who served the government in Iraqi Kurdistan during the 1940s. Much of his research was conducted in Britain and France, and also while at Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities. He served on the faculty of Indiana University for over 25 years from where he retired in 1987 as Chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures that he was instrumental in establishing.



Mustafa Barzani and the Kurdish Liberation Movement (1931-1961)    by Masoud Barzani (Palgrave MacMillan, 2003). Excels not only for its observations and insights, but also for the publication of numerous official documents. For example, an especially telling document is Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Sa'id's letter of resignation, and there are many more.   




Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History    by Susan Meiselas  (University of Chicago Press, 2008) Available in both hardback and paperback, beautifully illustrated with old and more recent photos, 472 pages. A treasure.  



Kurds: Through the Photographer’s Lens   

by Mark Muller, Kerim Yildiz, and 6 more including Susan Meiseles   (Trolley Books, 2008)



Journey Among Brave Men   

by Dana Adams Schmidt   (Little, Brown, 1964)  Another treasure. From an obituary in

The New York Times:  "Mr. Schmidt was with The Times from 1943 to 1972. He won the Overseas Press Club's George Polk Award in 1963 for "the best reporting requiring exceptional courage and enterprise abroad" for a series of articles on the Kurdish rebels in Iraq. At the time, Mr. Schmidt was based in Beirut, Lebanon." 

After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness    by Jonathan Randal  (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997)  Stories of Kurdistan's failures in becoming a nation-state and the role of international powers, including their betrayals. Based on firsthand observations by one of the earliest correspondents to Iraqi Kurdistan.


Sold Out? US Foreign Policy, Iraq, the Kurds, and the Cold War by Bryan R. Gibson   (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).   Analyzes ways in which US policy toward Iraq was dictated by America’s broader Cold War strategy between 1958 and 1975. Raises questions about misperceptions of US-Iraqi relations, such as the CIA’s alleged involvement in the 1963 Ba’athist coup and the theory that the US sold out the Kurds in 1975.



The Kurdish Nationalist Movement:  Opportunity, Mobilization and Identity    by David Ramano   (Cambridge University Press, 2006)



Conflict, Democratization, and the Kurds in the Middle East: Turkey, Iran, Iraq,and Syria by David Romano(Editor), Mehmet Gurses (Editor)   (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)



Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East    by Quil Lawrence  (Walker & Company, 2008). An account of the effects of the Kurdistan struggle for statehood since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918 to the events of 1991 with the formation of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and the continuing pursuit since 2003 of autonomy in post-Saddam Iraq. 


Road Through Kurdistan: The Narrative of an Engineer in Iraq  

by Archibald Milne Hamilton  (Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2005)  First published in 1937 this is about what today is still called the 'Hamilton Road', one of the world’s great drives, through the deepest canyons in the Middle East and up through the highest mountains in Iraq, built in 1928-1932 to connect the British and Persian Empires. Download 1958 edition:


The Kurdish National Movement    by Chris Kutschera   (e-book, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2012)  Good detail, notably around the period of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire.



The Long March of The Kurds:  40 years of History in the Making    by Chris Kutschera   (pdf download: JePublie, 2012)



The Kurdish Spring:  A New Map of the Middle East

By David L. Phillips   (Transaction Publishers, 2015)



My Father's Rifle:  A Childhood in Kurdistan     by Hiner Saleem   (Picador, 2006) 


A City from the Dawn of History: Erbil in the Cuneiform Sourcesby John MacGinnis   (Oxford: Oxbow, 2014)



The Cradle of Mankind:  Life in Eastern Kurdistan    by WA and ETA Wigram  (A & C Black, 1914)   download: igrrich_djvu.txt


Fever and Thirst: An American Doctor Among the Tribes of Kurdistan, 1835-

1844 by Gordon Taylor   (Chicago Review Press, 2007)


My Father's Paradise:  A Son's Search for His Family's Past    by Ariel Sabar  (Algonquin Books, 2009)  Also available in Turkish.  A delightful book about a delightful person that begins among the Jews of Zakho.   


A People Without a Country:  The Kurds and Kurdistan    by Gerard Chaliand   (Interlink Publishing Group, 1993)



When the Borders Bleed: The Struggle of the Kurds    by Ed Kashi and Christopher Hitchens   (Pantheon, 1994)



No Friends but the Mountains: The Tragic History of the Kurds     

by Harvey Morris (Author) and John Bulloch (Author)   (Oxford University Press, 1993)



The Kurds:  A Concise Handbook   by Mehrdad R. Izady  (Taylor & Francis, 1992).  Well researched by an academic on tribes, political parties, and much more. The author is a cartographer who has produced numerous maps on Middle East areas including Kurdistan.  These maps are available online at


To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in Disguise   

by Ely Banister Soane  (Cosimo, Inc., 2007).  British Major Soane and political officer, who lived in Slemani, was deeply committed to Kurdistan autonomy and eventually lost his post as a result.  His knowledge of Persian and Kurdish was so good that he managed to traverse Mesopotamia and Kurdistan being disguised as an indigenous Muslim for several years.



The Kurds: A National Denied    by David McDowall   (Minority Rights Group, 1992)



A Modern History of The Kurds   

by David McDowall   (IB Tauris, 1997)


Kurdistan Tour Guide  2015-2016 by Harry Schute and Douglas Layton   (World Impact Press LLC, 2015).  First comprehensive tour guide of the Kurdistan Region, a relatively safe and secure part of Iraqi Kurdistan to travel to know, understand, and enjoy its spectacular landscape, and ancient rich culture along with its rapid movement toward modernity.



Kurdistan - A Companion: A Guide to the KRG region of Iraq (CompanionGuides)

by Yvonne van der Bilj and Parwez Zabihi   (Gilgamesh Publishing, 2015)



Iraq: The ancient sites & Iraqi Kurdistan

byGeoff HannandKaren Dabrowska   (Bradt Travel Guides, 2015)



Kurdish Culture and Identity   

edited by Philip Kreyenbroek and Christine Allison   (Zed Books, 1996)



The Kurds: A Contemporary Overview 

by Philip G. Kreyenbroek (Editor), Stefan Sperl (Editor)   (Routledge, May 2015)



To improve her health, intrepid Isabella Bird traveled from Britain, alone, by ship and on horseback during the late 19th century to Australia, “to Hawaii where her health miraculously improved,” America’s Rocky Mountains, Japan, Malaya, Morocco, Turkey, Tibet and Ladakh, Korea and China, and to Persia and Kurdistan.  She was the first woman admitted to the Royal Geographical Society in London.


Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan:  Travels on Horseback in 1890 Volume One    by Isabella Bird   (Long Riders’ Guild Press, first published 1891)



Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan II   

by Isabella Bird   (Virago Press Ltd., 1989)



A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts:  Journeys in Kurdistan    by Christiane Bird   (Random House, 2005, paperback)  The author traveled around Kurdistan avoiding the usual places and people by staying with families to observe and absorb bits of Kurdistani culture.  (No relation to Isabella Bird.)



Kurds Turks and Arabs:  Politics, Travel and Research in North-Eastern Iraq1919-1925    

by CJ Edmonds   (Oxford University Press, 1957)



Kurds, Arabs and Britons:  The Memoir of Col. W.A. Lyon in Kurdistan, 1918-

1945  by David K. Fieldhouse  (IB Tauris, 2002)



Martyrs, Traitors and Patriots:  Kurdistan After the Gulf War    by Sheri Laizer   (Zed Books, 1996)    


Iraq and Rupert Hay’s Two Years in Kurdistan    by Paul J. Rich   (Lexington Books, 2008)  Detailing two years (1918-1920) in the life of a British political officer charged with establishing and maintaining British rule in the Kurdish district of Arbil in Iraq, this personal account offers discussion of Kurdish society from the viewpoint of Captain William Rupert Hay. Chronicling the British government's desperate attempts to establish a civil administration in Iraq just after World War I, ‘Two Years in Kurdistan’ shows how, as member of the Indian Political Service, Captain Hay attempted to bring British rule to his corner of Iraq.



A Poisonous Affair:  America, Iraq, and the Gassing of Halabja    by Joost R. Hiltermann   (Cambridge University Press, 2007)



Blood and Belief   

by Aliza Marcus   (New York University Press, 2007)



Agha, Shaikh and State:  The Social and Political Structures of Kurdistan    by Martin van Bruinessen   (Zed Books, 1992)   free download: d_Political_Structures_of_Kurdistan



A Kizilbash Community in Iraqi Kurdistan:  The Shabak    by Martin van Bruinessen

(National Geographic, October 1928, published The Kizilbash Clans of Kurdistan.)



Selected papers by Martin van Bruinessen available to download, free:     


       Adela Khanum to Leyla Zana    Kurdish nationalism and competing ethnic loyalties             Kurdistan in Evliya Celebi          Kurds and Islam   Kurds and the City              Kurds as subjects and objects of history       Kurds in movement: migrations, mobilisations, communications and the globalisation of the Kurdish question             Naqshbandi Order in 17th century Kurdistan            Nehri shaykhs       Religion in Kurdistan  Shabak        Veneration of Satan among the Ahl-i-Haqq of Guran

       Postscript, Susan Meiselas’ ‘Kurdistan:  In the Shadow of History’

            Medrese Education



Iraq’s Crime of Genocide:  The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds    by Human Rights Watch   (Yale University Press, 1995)



Bernard Wittmann: Letters from Kurdistan 1954-1963   

(in English: Verlag Hans Schiler, Berlin, 2008)

The Kurds: A Modern History

By Michael Gunter   (Markus Wiener Publishers, 2015)


The Kurds of Iraq    by Michael M. Gunter   (St. Martin's Press, 1992)



The Kurdish Predicament in Iraq:  A Political Analysis    by Michael M. Gunter   (St. Martin’s Press, 1999)



Historical Dictionary of the Kurds   

by Michael M. Gunter   (The Scarecrow Press, 2004)



The Kurds Ascending: The Evolving Solution to the Kurdish Problem in Iraq and Turkey   

by Michael M. Gunter   (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008)



The A to Z of the Kurds   

by Michael M. Gunter   (Scarecrow Press, 2009)



Out of Nowhere: The Kurds of Syria in Peace and War

By Michael M. Gunter   (Hurst, 2014)



The Kurdish Question and International Law: An Analysis of the Legal Rights of the Kurdish People by Edited by Mohammed M.A. Ahmed & Michael M. Gunter    (Ahmed Foundation for Kurdish Studies 2000)



Kurdish Question And The 2003 Iraqi Warby Mohammed M. A. Ahmed and

Michael M. Gunter  (Mazda Pub 2004)



The Evolution of Kurdish Nationalism (Kurdish Studies Series) by Mohammed M. A. Ahmed and Michael M. Gunter   (Mazda Pub 2006)



Understanding Turkey’s Kurdish Question  

edited by Fevzi Bilgin and Ali Sarihan with contributors including Hugh Pope, Michael M. Gunter, Cengiz Cander and others   (Lexington Books, 2013)



The Kurdish Spring: Geopolitical Changes and the Kurds (Bibliothea Iranica Kurdish Studies)

by Mohammed M. A. Ahmed and Michael M. Gunter   (Mazda Pub 2013)



Kurds History: Politics, People, Language and Religionby Samuel Ash   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, June 2016)The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism and the Sheikh Said Rebellion, 1880-

1925 by Robert Olson and William F. Tucker   (University of Texas Press, 1989)



The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s:  Its Impact on Turkey and the Middle East   

by Robert Olson, Editor   (The University Press of Kentucky, 1996)



The Kurdish Question and Turkish-Iranian Relations: From World War I to 1998   by Robert W. Olson   (Mazda Publishers, 1998)



The Goat and The Butcher:  Nationalism and State Formation in Kurdistan-Iraq since the Iraqi War    by Robert Olson   (Mazda Publishers, 2005)



Blood, Belief and Ballots: The Management of Kurdish Nationalism in Turkey,2007-2009   

by Robert Olson   (Mazda Publishers, 2009)



The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s: It’s Impact on Turkey and the

Middle East   

by Robert Olson   (Mazda Publishers, 2011)



The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in Turkey 1980 to 2011    by Robert Olson   (Mazda Publishers, 2011)



Kurdish Identity:  Human Rights and Political Status   

edited by Charles G. MacDonald and Carole A. O'Leary   (University Press of Florida, 2007)



How to Get Out of Iraq with Integrity   

by Brendan O'Leary   (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) 



The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq    by Brendan O'Leary, John McGarry, and Khaled Salih   (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006) 



Kurdistan on the Global Stage:  Kinship, Land, and Community in Iraq    by Diane E. King   (Rutgers University Press, 2013)   “Anthropologist Diane E. King has written about everyday life in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq which covers much of the area long known as Iraqi Kurdistan”



The Kurds of Syria: Political Parties and Identity in the Middle East by Harriet Allsopp    (I.B. Tauris, 2015)



Iraqi Kurdistan:  Political Development and Emergent Democracy by Gareth RV Stansfield   (RoutledgeCurzon, 2003)



The Future of Iraq : Dictatorship, Democracy or Division? by Gareth Stansfield and Liam D. Anderson   (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)



Iraq    by Gareth Stansfield   (Polity Press, 2007)   Good source for understanding background history and politics of how the KRI got to where it is. 



The Kurds and Iraq   

by Gareth Stansfield   (Rouledge, 2014)



Islamic State, the Kurds and the Future of Iraq (yet to be released) by Gareth Stansfield   (Hurst, January 2018)



The Kurdish Question in Iraq   

by Edmund Ghareeb   (Syracuse University Press, 1981)



The Kurdish Quasi-State   

by Denise Natali   (Syracuse University Press, 2010)



Kurdistan:  Crafting of National Selves   

by Christopher Houston   (Indiana University Press, 2008)



Kurdish Culture: A Cross Cultural Guide

by Denise L. Sweetnam    (Verlag fur Kultur und Wissensc, 2004)



Humanitarian Intervention Assisting the Iraqi Kurds in Operation Provide Comfort, 1991   

by Gordon W. Rudd and US Army Center of Military History   (Military Bookshop, 2012)



Kurdistan – a Nation Emerges   

by Jonathan Fryer   (Stacy International, 2010) 



The Kurds:  A People in Search of Their Homeland    by Kevin Mckiernan   (St. Martin’s Press, 2006)



The Kurds and US Foreign Policy:  International Relations in the Middle Eastsince 1945   

by Marianna Charountaki   (Routledge, 2010, also Kindle Edition)


For Lust of Knowing:  Memoirs of an Intelligence Officer by Archie Roosevelt   (Little Brown & Co., 1988)  From Foreign Affairs, summer 1988:  “The author, grandson of [President] Theodore Roosevelt, entered army intelligence in

1942 and spent most of his career with the CIA, much of it focused on the Islamic world

. . . The chapter on the Kurds is especially good.” 



The Kurds of Iraq:  Building a State Within a State    by Ofra Bengio   (Lynn Rienner Pub, 2012)



Folk Literature of Kurdistany Jews     

by Yona Sabar  (Yale University Press, 1984)



Unwitting Zionists: The Jewish Community of Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan By Haya Gavish   (Wayne State University Press, 2009)



Jewish Subjects and Their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan:  A Study in Survival    by Mordechai Zaken   (BRILL, 2007)   Also available in Sorani Kurdish and Arabic Amazon hardcover $150.   Ebook, revised and updated, $15: 



The Jews of Kurdistan (Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology)by Eric Brauer and Raphael Patai   (Wayne State University Press, 1993)



Kurdistan and Kurds

by Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou   (Publishing House of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Collet’s Ltd., 1965)



Ottoman-Iranian Borderlands   (Hardcover and Kindle Edition) by Sabri Ates   (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

The story of the making of the present day Iranian, Iraqi, and Turkish boundary.



Iraq Since the Gulf War:  Prospects for Democracy    by Fran Hazelton, editor   (Zed Books, 1994) with contributions by Ahmad Chalabi, Ali Allawi, Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, Falaq al-Din Kakai, Laith Kubba, Kanan Makiya, Ann Clwyd, and others.  Falaq al-Din Kakai’s chapter, “The Kurdish Parliament”, talks of the establishment in 1992 of the Kurdistan National Assembly (KNA), later called the Iraqi

Kurdistan Parliament (IKP), and the adoption of federalism within the framework of Iraq.


Turning Enemies into Friends:  Change in Turkey’s Relations with KRG:  How

Iraqi Kurds became Turkey’s best ally in the Middle East    by Minhac Celik   (Lap Lambert Academic, 2013)



Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird   (Macmillan Children's Books, 2008) Strategic Priorities for Improving Access to Quality Education in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

by Georges Vernez and Shelly Culbertson   (Rand Corporation, 2014)



Improving Technical Vocational Education and Training in the Kurdistan Region

– Iraq

by Louay Constant, Shelly Culbertson, et al   (Rand Corporation, 2014)



Capacity Building at the Kurdistan Statistics Office Through Data Collection by Shmuel Abrmzon, Nicholas Burger, et al   (Rand Corporation, 2014)



An Assessment of the Present and Future Labor Market in the Kurdistan Region – Iraq:  Implications for Policies to Increase Private-Sector Employment by Howard J. Shatz, Louay Constant, et al   (Rand Corporation, 2014)



Strategies for Private-Sector Development and Civil-Service Reform in the

Kurdistan Region – Iraq

by Michael L. Hanson and Howard J. Shatz   (Rand Corporation, 2014)



The Sharafnama: or the History of the Kurdish Nation, 1597 by Sharaf-Din Bitlisi and Sharaf Khan Bidlisi   (Mazda Pub, 2000)

English translation and commentaries by Mehrdad R. Izady



The Passion and Death of Rahman the Kurd: Dreaming Kurdistan    by Carol Prunhuber   (iUniverse, 2010, also Kindle Edition)



Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of theMiddle East

by Gerard Russell   (Basic Books, 2014) 

Former British diplomat Gerard Russell talks about his travels among people of mysterious religions -- the Yazidis, Mandaeans (followers of John the Baptist), Zoroastrians, Samaritans, Copts, and Druze.



The Kurds in Iraq:  The Past, Present and Future   

by Kerim Yildiz   (Pluto Press, 2007)



The Kurds of Iraq   

by Michiel Hegener   (Mets & Schilt, 2010)



The Kurds of Iraq:  Ethnonationalism and National Identity in Iraqi Kurdistan  by Mahir A. Aziz   (Tauris Academic Studies, 2011)



The Kurds of Iraq:  Nationalism and Identity in Iraqi Kurdistan by Mahir A. Aziz   (I.B. Taurus, 2014)



The Beginnings of Ancient Kurdistan (c. 2500-1500 BC) : a historical and cultural synthesis (Dissertation) by Kozad Mohamed Ahmed download 



The Militant Kurds:  A Dual Strategy for Freedom    by Eccarius-Kelly   (Praeger Cloth A Titles, 2010)



The Kurds:  Nationalism and Politics   

by Faleh A. Jabar and Hosham Dawood   (Saqi Books, 2007)



Kurds and Kurdistan   

by Arshak Safrastian   (The Harvill Press Ltd., 1948)



Primitive Rebels Or Revolutionary Modernisers?:  The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in Turkey   

by Paul J. White   (Zed Books, 2001)



Kurdistan:  Region Under Siege   

by Karl Bodnarchuk   (Lerner Publishing Group, 2000)



Ghosts of Halabja:  Saddam Hussein and the Kurdish Genocide    by Michael J. Kelly   (Praeger, 2008)



Iraqi Federalism and the Kurds: Learning to Live Together    by Alex Danilovich   (Ashgate, 2014)



Fire, Snow and Honey:  Kurdistan   

by Gina Lennox   (Halstead Press, 2001)



The Impact of Training on Employee Performance in Public Organizations:  A

Case Study of the Municipality of Erbil – Kurdistan Region of Iraq by Karokh Hamad   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014)



On Current Affairs:  The Kurdish Question, Problems of Development, The National Front, Facing Imperialism and Counter-Resolution by Saddam Hussein   (Ath-Thawra Publications, 1974)    

Speeches by Saddam Hussein delivered between September 1973 and April 1974.



Hell Is Over:   Voices of the Kurds after Saddam, An Oral History    by Mike Tucker   (The Lyons Press, 2004)



Kurdistan at the Dawn of the Century, Volume 1

by Rafiq Hilmi   (New Hope, 1998)




The Kurdish Republic of 1946 by William Eagleton   (Oxford U P, 1963)  Excerpts (from “Epilogue”):  “What did the Kurdish Republic of 1946 really represent: a valiant national struggle or a treacherous separatist revolt?  What had Barzani participation involved:  a selfless contribution to a noble cause, or a self-seeking attempt to extend personal and tribal influence?  During the years since the Republic collapsed these questions have been answered only in relation to personal or national prejudices.  It is because the facts themselves, apart from their interpretation, had begun to drift into obscurity that the telling of this story was undertaken.”


“Once again the tribes of a portion of Kurdistan have taken up arms in a struggle against heavy odds, possessed by mixed ambitions.  In some case they are sustained by little more than the old Kurdish tradition that ‘shar chaktira la bekariya (Fighting is better than idleness).  And it can be predicted for the future, as we know from the past, that the Kurds in their distant mountains and separated villages will at times be forgotten and ignored.  Then, when moved by resolve or temerity, some of the characters of this book, and others, younger and perhaps unknown in Mahabad, will be heard of once again.”



An Introduction to Kurdish Rugs and Other Weavings    by William Eagleton   (Interlink Pub Group, 1988)




Antique Rugs of Kurdistan:  A Historical Legacy of Woven Art

by James D. Burns   (published by the author, 2002)

Beautiful art book with an especially interesting appendix by Mehrady Izady, “The Kurds: their origins and history” that starts with the Halaf culture of 8,000 years ago in today’s Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan).



Life for Us   

by Choman Hardi   (Bloodaxe Books, 2004)



Gendered Experiences of Genocide:  Anfal Survivors in Kurdistan-Iraq    by Choman Hardi   (Ashgate, 2011)



The Man in Blue Pyjamas:  Prison Memoir in the Form of a Novel    by Jalal Barzanji   (University of Alberta Press, 2011)



Teachers’ Use of English Language Learning Materials in Kurdistan by Zana Hassan   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014)



Iraqi-Kurdistan.  Does the Kurdistan Regional Government have a Foreign Policy?

by Anonym   (GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2014)

University of Hamburg seminar paper



The Kurdish Struggle  1920-94

by Edgar O’Ballance   (MacMillan Press, Ltd., 1996)

The Kurdish War

by David Adamson   (Praeger, New York, 1964)



Iraq and the Kurdish Question 1958-1970

by Sa’ad Jawad   (Ithaca Press, 1981)



Four Years in the Mountains of Kurdistan:  An Armenian Boy's Memoir of Survival    

by Aram Haigaz and Iris Haigaz Chekenian   (Maiden Lane Press, 2015)



Imagining Kurdistan: Identity, Culture and Society (Library of Modern Middle East Studies)

by Ozlem Galip   (I. B. Tauris, 2015)



Hell is Over:  Voices of the Kurds After Saddam by Mike Tucker   (The Lyons Press, 2004)



Picnic in a Minefield

by Francesca Recchia   (Foxhead Books, 2014)

Scholar-Author Francesca Recchia's Picnic in a Minefield recounts time spent teaching (at UKH) and traveling in Kurdistan.



Devices for Political Action:  The Collective Towns in Iraqi Kurdistan by Francesca Recchia with Leo Novel    (dpr-barcelona, 2014)

The regime of Saddam Hussein destroyed thousands of rural communities in Iraqi Kurdistan and the inhabitants lost their lands and livelihoods.  Some relocated to other countries as refugees and others were forced to relocate to urban areas including some 75 artificially established ‘Collective Towns’.  This examines this strategy of repression and how it has been turned into a “positive device of subversion and resilience.”



Jeffrey Archer: The Kurds "The Simple Truth"

by Lorraine Holloway-Whit  (Closed Poppy Publishing, 2013)



The Kurds (Creation of the Modern Middle East)

by Heather Lehr Wagner   (Chelsea House Publications, 2002)



The Privatisation of Security in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq   by Dr. Twana Faris Bawa   (University of Buckingham Press, 2015)



Ezdistan: Yezidi Holy Scripture

by Yezidi Ezdistan Movement   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014)



Elvis Is Titanic:  Classroom Tales from Iraqi Kurdistan   

by Ian Klaus   (Vintage, 2008)                                                 

The Kurdish Cook Book

by Emel Sinjari   availability:



My Life, My Food, My Kurdistan

by Chiman Zebari   (Xlibris UK, 2015)



Join Us at the Table: Iraqi Kurds  (Preserving Heritage Through Cooking)by Margaret Jones Kilmartin and Staff   (Jones Kilmartin Group, LLC; July 2016)



The Kurdish Cookbook

by Shivan Resul & Suhevla Arslan  (Blurb, 2014)



Turkey - Kurdish Regional Government Relations After the U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq: Putting the Kurds on the Map? PKK, PUK, Syrian Civil War and Refugees, Massoud Barzani, Erdogan, Kurdistan by U.S. Government(Author),Department of Defense(Author),U.S.

Army(Author),Strategic Studies Institute (SSI)(Author)

(Progressive Management, 2014)



Kurdistan 269 Success Secrets - 269 Most Asked Questions On Kurdistan - What You Need To Know

by Debra Hooper   (Emereo Publishing, 2015)



The Yezidis: The History of a Community, Culture and Religion by Birgül Açikyildiz   (I.B. Tauris, 2014)



Iraqi Kurds and Nation-Building   

by Mohammed MA Ahmed   (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, also Kindle Edition)



The Kurds (Genocide and Persecution)   

by Noah Berlatsky   (Greenhaven Press, 2013)



The Kurds:  A Nation on the Way to Statehood    by Jamal Jalal Abdullah   (authorhouse, 2012)



Kurdistan: Genocide andRebirth: The destruction of Kurdistan and itsrebuilding    by Davan Yahya Khalil   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013)



The Idea of Kurdistan:  The Modern History of Kurdistan through the Life of Mullah Mustafa Barzani

by Davan Yahya Khalil   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014)



Kurdistan: The Road to Independence

by Davan Yahya Khalil   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2016)

Hazim Beg Shemdin Agha:  A Kurdish Personality: A Social History of His Life &Times, 1901-1954

by Hazar Shemdin   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015) “Long before the Ottoman Empire, Kurdistan existed. Tucked among the Zagros and Taurus mountains and beyond, the people of Kurdistan lived as their ancestors had until the splintering of their lands following World War I.”



The Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Assessing the Economic and Social Impact of theSyrian Conflict and ISIS

by World Bank   (World Bank Publications, 2015)

“The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is facing a multifaceted and complex crisis compounding concurrent and mutually aggravating security, political, economic, and social risks. As a result of the influx of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons arising from the Syrian conflict and the ISIS insurgency, the region's population increased by 28 percent, placing strains on the local economy, host community, and access to public services. These events took place in the context of a fiscal crisis, and these multiple shocks hit the economy hard. This book provides the government with a technical assessment of the impact and stabilization costs associated with the influx of refugees and internally displaced persons. The cost of conflict is high, and the impact on the KRG economy and budget is significant. In the short term, much of the solutions for managing the impact of these shocks will require national and international response.



Orientation Guide to the Kurdish Region and the Kurmanji Culture: Religion, Traditions, Family Life, Urban and Rural Populations, Geography, History, Economy, Society and Security

by Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) (alc Books, 2015)  available in Kindle edition



Orientation Guide to the Kurdish Region and the Sorani Culture: Religion, Traditions, Family Life, Urban and Rural Populations, Geography, History, Economy, Society and Security

byDefense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC)(alc Books, 2015)  available in Kindle edition



The Panorama of Barzanis Genocide

by Rebwar Ramadan Abdullah   (Kani, 2013)



A Fire in My Heart;  Kurdish Tales   

by Diane Edgecomb, Mohammed MA Ahmed, Cetel Ozel   (Libraries Unlimited Inc., 2007)



Kurdistan And The Kurds Under The Syrian Occupationby Jawad Mella   (Xlibris UK, 2015)



Kurds in Iraq and Syria: U.S. Partners Against the Islamic State

by Congressional Research Service   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, January 2017)




Iraq Under Qassem   

by Uriel Dann  (Tel Aviv University, 1958) 

“The fighting qualities of the Kurd have often been described.  Brave, tireless, cheerful, trained since childhood in the use of light weapons, the Kurdish tribesman was exactly suited to the warfare expected of him.  As a rule he far surpassed the Arab soldier brought from the plains, despite all the advantages of better training and discipline enjoyed by the latter.” * * *  “The Kurds wanted autonomy.  The target antedated the outbreak of open hostilities.  It had been expressed on solemn occasions ever since the 1958 revolution – when the Provisional Constitution was discussed, when Khabat was first published, during the fifth congress of the KDP.  With the insurrection autonomy became the official war aim, freely communicated at home and abroad. The Kurdish leadership explicitly reserved the right of the Kurds to secession and independence:  it was of their own free will, they claimed, that they chose to retain the citizenship of a sovereign state with a large Arab majority.”



Fever and Thirst: An American Doctor Among the Tribes of Kurdistan, 1835-

1844  by Gordon Taylor   (Chicago Review Press, 2007)



The Kurdish Conflict: International Humanitarian Law and Post-Conflict Mechanisms

by Kerim Yildiz and Susan Breau   (Routledge, August 2010)



Kurdish Politics in Turkey: From the PKK to the KCK  by Seevan Saeed   (Routledge, September 2016)



A People Without a State: The Kurds from the Rise of Islam to the Dawn of

Nationalismby Michael Eppel   (University of Texas Press, September 2016)



Children of the Magi: A Sacred History of the Kurds and the Persians by Christopher H Crossan   (Bowker, January 2017)



Kurdistan And The Kurds Under The Syrian Occupationby Jawad Mella   (Xlibris, September 2015)



History of Kurdistan and oppression: Turkey, Iraqi, Iran, Syria, Asian Kurds and Europe of the East

by Paul Has   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, September 2016)



Land of the Rising Sun: The Way of the Kurd by Shawket Barwary (Author), Nicolae Viorel Burcea (Editor)   (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, April 2017)



Kurds and the State in Iran: The Making of Kurdish Identityby Abbas Valli   (I.B. Tauris, May 2014) 


Honour-Based Violence: Experiences and Counter-Strategies in Iraqi Kurdistan and the UK Kurdish Diasporaby Nazand Begikhani and Aisha K. Gill   ( Routledge, 2015)



Declaration on the Democratic Solution of the Kurdish  

Abdullah Ocalan   (Mesopotamien Verlag 1999)



The Political Thought of Abdullah Öcalan: Kurdistan, Women's Revolution and Democratic Confederalism  by Abdullah Öcalan   (Pluto Press, 2017)


The Sweet Smell of Apples - The Chemical Weapons Attack on Halabja by Wayne Lavender, Huner Anwer   (Surviving the Kurdish Genocide Project 1900)


Kurdish problem: Federalism or an emerging state (USAWC Military Studies

Program paper)by Clarence J Moran   (U.S. Army War College, 1993)



A report on the Kurdish situation following allied withdrawal from Kurdistan on July 15, 1991by Mustafa Mohamed Karadaghi   (Kurdish Human Rights Watch, 1991)



When Mountains Weep: Coming of Age in Kurdistanby Gharbi M Mustafa   ( CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013)



Kurdistan During The First World War

by Kamal Madhar Ahmad   (Saqi Books, 2001)



Love in a Torn Land:  Joanna of Kurdistan:  The True Story of a Freedom

Fighter’s Escape from Iraqi Vengeance   by Jean Sasson   (Wiley, 2007)



Trapped Between the Map and Reality: Geography and Perceptions of Kurdistan  by Maria Theresa O'Shea   (Routledge, 2012)



Nineveh and Its Remains

With an Account of a Visit to the Chaldæan Christians of Kurdistan, and the Yezidis, or Devil Worshippers; And an Enquiry ... of the Ancient Assyrians (Classic Reprint)

by Austen Henry Layard    (Forgotten Books, 2017)



The Anfal Campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan: The Destruction of Koreme   by Middle East Watch   (Human Rights Watch, 1992)


Related Books



A Problem From Hell:  America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power   (Basic Books, reprinted 2013)

Includes a chapter on genocide in Iraqi Kurdistan. Pulitzer-Prize winning book by Samantha Power, former US Ambassador to the UN, founder and former executive director of a human rights center at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.



The First Dissident: The Book of Job in Today's Politics    by William Safire  (Random House, 1992)  This book is dedicated to Mustafa Barzani who William Safire says was the most Joban character he had ever met. 



Nineveh And Its Remains  Vol. II  

by Austen Henry Layard   (Kessinger Publishing, 2007)



Shanidar:  The First Flower People   

by Ralph S. Solecki   (Alfred A. Knopf, 1971)   “A personal narrative of one of the most important and exciting archaeological discoveries of recent years.”



The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq:  A Study of

Iraq’s Old Landed and Commercial Classes and of its Communists, Ba’thists and

Free Officers   

by Hanna Batatu   (Princeton University Press, 1978)



Gilgamesh:  A New Reading in English Verse    by David Perry   (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992)



Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell:  Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia   

by Janet Wallach   (Anchor Books, 1999)



Gertrude Bell:  From Her Personal Papers 1914-1926    by Elizabeth Burgoyne  (Ernest Benn Limited, London, 1961)



Iraq, 1900 to 1950:  A Political, Social, and Economic History    by Stephen Hemsley Longrigg   (Oxford University Press, 1953)



Area Handbook for Iraq   

(The American University, Washington DC, 1971)



The Making of Modern Iraq:  A Product of World Forces    by Henry A. Foster  (University of Oklahoma Press, 1935) Britain in Iraq: Contriving King and Country   by Peter Sluglett  (I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2007)



Backstabbing for Beginners:  My Crash Course in International Diplomacy by Michael Soussan   (Nation Books, 2008)

Focuses on UN management of the SCR-986 Oil-for-Food Programme in Iraq, soon to be a major motion picture - a “political thriller” - starring Oscar winner Ben Kingsley, Theo James, and Jacqueline Bisset.  



The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky   (PublicAffairs, 2015)









PBS ‘Frontline’  interview, transcripts, films 


Anfal - The Kurdish Genocide


Saddam’s Road to Hell


1998-March: Saddam's Secret Time Bomb


Kulajo:  My Heart is Darkened





Iraqi Kurdistan





'Kurdistan: The Other Iraq'  (February 2007) ml



60 MINUTES AUSTRALIA    (September 2014)


FULL 60 Minutes: Kurdish Female Fighters against ISIS







Short 4-minute trailer:


Full 45-minute YouTube version:


Full 45-minute version downloadable in various video formats:



The Rubin Report:



Part 1 of 2:


Part 2 of 2:













Descriptions, synopses, or summaries are from Wikipedia, IMDb, and other websites.



ZER  -  2017

Director:  Kazim Oz

Cast:   Ahmet Aslan, Haleigh Ciel, Fusun Demirel

122 minutes

Zer is the story of a song, whispered to Jan's ear on his grandmother's deathbed. A survivor of Dersim Massacre, Zarife hid her identity, her past in her memory of this song. Raised in NYC, Jan begins a journey through Kurdistan, searching for his grandma's past and his own self.



RAUF  -  2016

Directors: Soner Caner, Baris Kaya

Writers: Soner Caner (screenplay), Naz Caybasi, Muge Seviker

Stars: Alen Huseyin Gursoy, Yavuz Gurbuz, Seyda Sozuer

94 minutes

Rauf hopes to win over his big crush, the older Zana, with the help of the colour pink. But what does pink really look like anyways, and will he even be able to find it in his snowy little Kurdish village up in the mountains? Meanwhile, disturbing rumours sweep in from the outside world.




Director: Soleen Yusef

Writer: Soleen Yusef

Stars: Mina Sadic, Sasun Sayan, Murat Seven

117 minutes

About the journey of the siblings LIYA, JAN and ALAN who were born in the Kurdish area of the Iraq and grown up in Germany. The three of them want to fulfill their mother's last wish to bury her in her home village beside her husband who got killed in the war under the Saddam Hussein regime. On their nerve-wracking Kurdish-odyssey they are not only faced with their Kurdish extended family that does not accept the last wish of their mother but particularly with their own matters. In recent years they distanced from each other - everybody runs his own life - and whenever they are holding talks, they are mostly based on reproaches. In parallel with the run of their journey it is noticeably that in their home country the dimension of an awful conflict, that nobody can surmise, is heading for disaster.



RESEBA  -  2016

Director: Hussein Hassan Ali

Writers: Mehmet Aktas, Hussein Hassan Ali

Stars: Rekish Shahbaz, Dimen Zandi

92 minutes

Radical Islamist militants attack a village in Iraq where a young Yazidi love couple prepares for marriage. From that moment onwards their lives are turned into a nightmare.





Director: Bahman Ghobadi

Writer: Bahman Ghobadi

Stars: Nariman Anwar, Helly Luv

97 minutes documentary

A documentary about Kurds, middle-east war and "Kurdistan", a nation with about 45m population and still without a country.





Director: Shahram Alidi

Writer: Shahram Alidi

Stars: Berrak Tüzünataç, Dimen Zandi, Senay Aydin 

88 minutes

A group of young people are trying to teach Kurdish in Turkish Kurdistan, a land where the teaching of the language is forbidden by Turkish authorities. Part of their work is to print clandestine schoolbooks in underground schools and distribute them. One of the girls in the group, Aseke, is killed on a mission and her friends decide to carry out the final request she made in her will. She had been brought up with a black horse, now in the remote Anatolian mountains, and her request is to bring the horse back so that they might meet one last time before she is buried. The arrival of the horse leads to some unexpected events.




Director: Antony Donchev

Writer: Antony Donchev

Stars: Soran Ebrahim, Violeta Markovska, Mehmet Selim Akgul

Six year old Azad (a Kurd from Iraq) was engaged to his cousin Vian but after that the two kids were separated due to the political situation. At 19, Azad accidentally witnessed the murder of Vian's father and had to leave the country. On board the ship to Europe he met a beautiful girl and fell in love with her without recognizing that she was his fiancée Vian. Vian, on her part, did not reveal herself to him because she thought he had been involved in the murder of her father and she tried to suppress her feelings towards Azad. She went to Germany; he had to remain in Bulgaria due to a false ID. Azad did enormous efforts to find Vian and he finally succeeded. This time she revealed herself to him because her love proved to be stronger than her doubts. Unfortunately Vian was already involved in a deadly game being obsessed with the aim to take revenge for her father. Azad made everything to stop and save her even if he would never see her again. Is love going to prevail once again over terrorism?





Director: Shawkat Amin Korki

Writers: Mehmet Aktas, Shawkat Amin Korki

Stars: Hussein Hassan, Nazmi Kirik, Shima Molaei

Kurdish childhood friends Hussein (37) and Alan (40) direct and produce a film about the genocide of Kurdish people in Iraq, the Anfal campaign in 1988. They learn that, to achieve veracity by the means of cinema and to face their own identity, it's worth putting everything on the line - even their own life.






Director:  Jano Rosebiani

A recently orphaned young Kurdish-French woman travels to Iraqi Kurdistan to find her mother's village, likely destroyed during the Anfal genocide. On her journey she meets two American film students who are traveling to remote villages screening Charlie Chaplin films. They decide to help her search, an undertaking that brings them to the war-weary Mount Qandil, dubbed by the locals the Kurdish Bermuda Triangle, along the Iraqi-Turkish-Iranian borders.






Director:  Jano Rosebiani

Young Viyan, is forcibly given to wealthy elder businessman, Haji Hemmo. When she runs out of the bedroom and climbs a tree, refusing to sleep with him, the respected elder looses face and becomes the laughing-stock of the town. In return, he punishes her by beating her and locking her up in the bedroom. The more the townsfolk mock him the harder he beats her. Meanwhile, a traveling young artist, Botan tries to reach out to her. This leads to Haji Hemmo's resolve to set her on fire.





Director: Hisham Zaman

Cast: Ali Bag Salimi, Zheer Durhan, Nazmi Kirik, Hassan Dimirci, Ivan Anderson, Derin

Kader, Raouf Saraj, Amin Senatorzade, Catherine Elisabeth Howells         

Letter to the King portrays five people on a day trip from a refugee camp to Oslo, a welcome change in an otherwise monotonous life. But we soon realize that each and every one of them has an agenda for their trip. All five will make decisive choices on this day, as they discover happiness, humiliation, love or fulfill a long-awaited revenge. The five stories are tied together by a letter, written by eighty-three year old Mirza. Mirza wants to hand over the letter to the King personally.




MARDAN - 2014

Director:  Batin Ghobadi

Writer:  Batin Ghobadi

Stars:  Hossein Hasan, Helly Luv, Feyyaz Duman

Mardan is a police officer who one day meets Leila, whose husband has disappeared. Mardan takes it on himself to solve the mystery.




COME TO MY VOICE (Were Dengê Min/Sesime Gel) - 2014

Director: Huseyin Karabey

Writers: Huseyin Karabey, Abidin Parilti

Stars: Tuncay Akdemir, Selim Bulut, Sabahettin DAG

This is the story of two women on opposite ends of a life-time, a very young, curious Jiyan and her life-weary but resistant grandmother Berfe, in order to save the person who links them to each other.





Director: Erol Mintas

Writer: Erol Mintas

Stars: Feyyaz Duman, Zübeyde Ronahi, Nesrin Cavadzade

103 minutes

A young Kurdish man is torn between his mother's nostalgic search of a song in her dreams and an uncertain future with his pregnant girlfriend.





Director: Hisham Zaman

Writers: Hisham Zaman, Kjell Ola Dahi

Cast: Abdulla Tahir, Suzan Ilir, Bahar Ozen

A road movie that becomes an odyssey from East to West for young Siyar, a village-boy from Iraqi-Kurdistan. His journey begins when his older sister, Nermin, flees her wedding. Siyar's father is dead, and as the eldest son, he is obliged to set out to find his sister and restore his family honor in the local village. In Istanbul he meets the young girl Evin. They travel together. Their journey through Greece, Germany (Berlin) and Norway makes Siyar's search for his sister a search for dignity and love.




BAD HUNTER  -  2013

Director:  Sahim Omar Kalifa

Writers:  Sahim Omar Kalifa, Sahim Omar Kalifa, 2 more credits »

Stars:  Naima Abdo, Saban Dosky, Farzad Hassani

Young man Bahoz goes hunting in rural Kurdistan. He witnesses the rape of a young woman by an older man. He chases the man away and helps the woman to mend her clothes so she can conceal the rape from her family. That evening, Bahoz receives an unexpected visit...



JÎN - 2013

Director: Reha Erdem

Writer: Reha Erdem (screenplay)

Stars: Deniz Hasgüler, Onur Ünsal, Yildirim Simsek 

Jin, a guerrilla, lives in a cave and decides to escape from the organization. She finds some civilian clothes and goes down from the mountain to the city. However, the city is no safer than the mountain.




Director: Hiner Saleem

Cast: Korkmaz Arslan, Golshifteh Farhani, Suat Usta

Baran, a Kurdish independence war hero, is now sheriff in Erbil, the capital city. No longer feeling useful in this society now at peace, he thinks about quitting the police force, but instead agrees to be stationed in a small valley, at the very borders of Iran, Turkey, and Iraq. It is a lawless territory, right at the heart of illegal drug, medication and alcohol trafficking. Having arrived in the small village, he refuses to bow down to Aga Azzi, the seriously corrupt tribal chief and absolute ruler of the area. Baran meets Govend, the village school teacher, who is also rejected by the villagers. Like Baran, she represents another law, that of the young and autonomous Kurdish state. Govend is all the more vulnerable as she is not a married woman.




Director: Bülent Öztürk

Writer: Bülent Öztürk

Stars: Müjde Arslan, Seyithan Altiparmak, Emine Korkmaz

'Houses with small windows' is a powerful and yet muted portrait of an honour killing in the rural Kurdish Southeast of Turkey. 22-year old Dilan pays for her forbidden love for a young man in a neighbouring village with her life. She has shamed the family and therefore must die at the hands of her own brothers. And as tradition will have it, the killing must be compensated.



A SONG FOR BEKO (Klamek ji bo Beko) - 2013

Director: Nizamettin Ariç

Writer: Nizamettin Ariç

Stars: Nizamettin Ariç, Bezara Arsen, Lusika Hesen 

Beko is a young Kurd who lives in the Turkish part of Kurdistan





Directors: Orhan Eskiloy, Zeynel Dogan

Cast: Basé Dogan, Gulizar Dogan, Zeynel Dogan

Base lives on her own in Elbistan, southern Turkey. Her one hope in life is for her oldest son Hasan to come home and make a life for himself like everyone else. She attributes the silent phone calls she receives at home to Hasan. At around the same time, her younger son Mehmet, who lives in Diyarbakir, finds out that he's to be a father. While moving into a new flat, he comes across an audiotape of his mother and himself as a boy which was recorded to send to his father. Mehmet sets off for Elbistan to look for the tapes his father made and persuade his mother to come and live in Diyarbakir. When Mehmet finds his mother unable to think of anything but Hasan, he slowly manoeuvres himself into her world, dealing with the repairs and garden jobs Base is keen to get done. At the same time, he hunts around the house for his father's tapes. Although Base tries to put Mehmet off, saying there are no tapes left, she fails to deter him. As Mehmet continues looking for the tapes, he begins learning things about his family he didn't know before.




BEKAS, Up and Away - 2012

Director: Karzan Kader

Writer: Karzan Kader

Cast: Zamand Taha, Sarwar Fazil

Sweden. 97 minutes in Kurdish

Iraq in the early 1990 was a devastating land to survive in. When we think of Iraq, the first thing that tends to pop into our minds is the war and Saddam Hussein. But there is another side too - it is perhaps the most notorious country in the world and it goes by the name Kurdistan. Welcome to BEKAS. This is a story about two homeless brothers (Zana, 7 and Dana, 10) who live on the edge of survival. In the beginning of the story they catch a glimpse of Superman through a hole in the wall at the local cinema. Zana and Dana decide that they want to go to America and live with Superman. Once they get there he can solve all their problems, make their lives easy and punish everyone that has been mean to them. Zana, the younger brother, starts to make a list of all people he is going to tell Superman to punish. On top of the list is Saddam Hussein. Dana on the other hand makes a concrete plan for what they need to get there; money, passports, transportation and a way to get across the border. Unfortunately they have neither of those. But in spite of everything they decide to follow the dream.


Director: Hiner Saleem

Writer: Hiner Saleem (screenplay)

Stars: Jonathan Zaccaï, Golshifteh Farahani, Billey Demirtas

95 minutes

In Paris' cosmopolitan and colorful 10th arrondissement, Philippe, who's fresh out of prison, crosses paths with Avdal, a Kurd who is trying to track down an Iraqi war criminal. Avdal, who dreams of staying in France, plans to bring his fiancee Siba to Paris. She's due to arrive in the next few days. The two men strike up a friendship and when Avdal dies suddenly and unexpectedly, Philippe finds himself left to organize the funeral arrangements. What should he do with the body? Siba arrives in Paris, and soon learns that Avdal has died. She is taken in by a group of Kurdish men and before long she also meets Philippe - all of whom are quite smitten by her beauty. Meanwhile, Avdal's father Cheto, a devout Muslim, comes to Paris to grieve for his son. He intends to force Siba to return to her homeland, but the young woman has now had a taste of freedom



Director:  Akram Hidou

Documentary. Ali visits the cemetery of Halabja, Kurdistan, Iraq and remains silent in front of a tombstone with his name scratched name upon it. Twenty-one years after Saddam Hussein's poison gas attack in 1988, Ali returns to Halabja looking for his lost family. Meanwhile, five families have their hopes pinned on him to be their missing child. Trailer:



Director: Özcan Alper

Writer: Özcan Alper

Stars: Gaye Gürsel, Durukan Ordu, Selman Unlusoy

109 minutes

Sumru is doing music research at a university in Istanbul. Working on her thesis to gather and record an exhaustive collection of Anatolian elegies she goes to the southeast for a few months. The brief trip turns out to be the longest journey of her life. Sumru crosses paths with Ahmet, a young guy who sells bootleg DVDs on the streets of Diyarbakir, with Antranik, the ageing and solitary warden of a crumbling church in the city and with various characters who witness the ongoing 'unnamed war'. During her three-month stay in Diyarbakir, while she was looking for the stories of the elegies, she finds herself confronting an agony from her own past.


FREE MAN  -  2011

Director: Mehmet Tanrisever

Stars: Mürsit Bag, Ismail Hakki, Cem Arabacioglu 

The story is a real story that tells about a man's life who has a very influential philosopher that had lived in between 1877-1960. His name is 'Said Nursi' and he is originally Kurdish. But, he speaks perfectly Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, and Persian. He wrote and compiled too many books that had aimed to develop personal beliefs, the belief of faith, brotherhood, philanthropy, the loyalty of state, moreover, discovering the problems in Turkey; the reasons of weakness, poorness, ignorance, untutored, divisions in society, divergence, estrangement of ethics, religion. And to find the solutions of those problems.. And his struggle for doing this toward a secret committee..



Director: Fariborz Kamkari

Writers: Fariborz Kamkari, Naseh Kamkari

Stars: Morjana Alaoui, Ertem Eser, Mohamed Zouaoui

118 minutes

Both Sherko (S) and Mokhtar (M) are in love with Najla (N). She is so with S while M works in the dictator's police. N had just finished her medical studies in Rome, but intended to go on and becoming a specialized doctor - when she receives a letter from S saying that she must forget him. She returns to Iraq and finds S after much difficulty. He has concealed a number of sick or injured fugitives in a house but can give them neither treatment nor even cleanliness. He says that she can be shot just for meeting him. M had followed her trail and the police arrests both N and S. After N had been beaten up a friendly officer tells that she had done a very great service by finding S. He had already posted a report according to which she voluntarily came and wanted to work for the police. She accepts the work as a police doctor, not because of cowardice but because she can collect and pass on information: the names of those who are murdered or tortured. She stops an execution of women and children by fabricating that a child had signs of cholera and soldiers could die. Eventually M helps N and S to escape, and at the frontier he distracts the guards. When caught he takes the full responsibility for the escape. He is shot. When N learns that she returns and is also shot. Then S is alone.




Director: Karzan Kader

Cast: Karzan Kader, Siham Shurafa, Piotr Marciniak, Fryad Latif, Shahgul Tofik, Zdravko Culjak    88 minutes

Four illegal immigrants have kept themselves hidden away for four years. Suddenly they have to risk it all to gain money to buy certificates of residence in Sweden.




THE FLOWERS OF KIRKUK (Golakani Kirkuk) - 2010

Director: Fariborz Kamkari

Writers: Fariborz Kamkari, Naseh Kamkari

Stars: Morjana Alaoui, Ertem Eser, Mohamed Zouaoui 

Both Sherko (S) and Mokhtar (M) are in love with Najla (N). She is so with S while M works in the dictator's police. N had just finished her medical studies in Rome, but intended to go on and becoming a specialized doctor - when she receives a letter from S saying that she must forget him. She returns to Iraq and finds S after much difficulty. He has concealed a number of sick or injured fugitives in a house but can give them neither treatment nor even cleanliness. He says that she can be shot just for meeting him. M had followed her trail and the police arrests both N and S. After N had been beaten up a friendly officer tells that she had done a very great service by finding S. He had already posted a report according to which she voluntarily came and wanted to work for the police. She accepts the work as a police doctor, not because of cowardice but because she can collect and pass on information: the names of those who are murdered or tortured. She stops an execution of women and children by fabricating that a child had signs of cholera and soldiers could die. Eventually M helps N and S to escape, and at the frontier he distracts the guards. When caught he takes the full responsibility for the escape. He is shot. When N learns that she returns and is also shot. Then S is alone.






Director: Miraz Bezar

Cast: Senay Orak, Muhammed Ali, Hakan Karsak, Suzan Ilir, Berîvan Ayaz, Fahriya Çelik,

Alisan Önlu, Berivan Eminoglu, Mehmet Ince, Çekdar Korkusuz, Recep Özer

Ten-year old Gulistan and her younger brother Firat live happily with their parents in Diyarbakir, the heart of Turkish Kurdistan. Tragedy strikes when their mother and father are shot down by paramilitary gunmen before their eyes. Traumatised and orphaned, Gulistan, Firat and their infant sister are placed in the care of their young, politicallyactive aunt Yekbun who soon disappears without a trace. As days turn into weeks, the money that their aunt left them runs out. Eventually, the children have to fend for themselves on the streets, where one day, Gulistan is shocked to come across the murderer of her parents.





Directors: Stuart Palmer, Havi Ibrahim

CGI-animated developed and produced by a community project in Hull, England

English Voices by: John Ainsworth, Andrew Rolfe, Dom Heffer

Kurdish voices by: Salam Qassab, Zizo Jujer, Rashed

King Zohak of Mesopotamia is tricked by the evil demon, and a curse placed upon him causing two large black snakes to grow from his shoulders, which he must continuously feed with the brains of children. As children are snatched from the surrounding towns and villages to feed the insatiable hunger of the snakes, the sun refuses to shine and the land becomes cold and desolate. When a humble blacksmith, Kawa has lost all his beloved children except one to the curse-stricken Zohak, he strikes a mighty blow with his hammer to break the evil curse and bring light back to the country.




WELCOME  -  2009

Director:   Philippe Lioret

Cast:  Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi, Audrey Dana

120 minutes

Bilal (Firat Ayverdi), a 17-year-old Kurdish refugee, has spent the last three months of his life travelling across Europe in an attempt to reunite with his girlfriend who recently emigrated to England. The journey has been difficult, but the end is in sight when Bilal finally reaches the far north coast of France, where he can literally see the white cliffs of Dover across the English Channel. But it is here that his journey comes to an abrupt halt as local authorities, and the immigration laws they are enforcing, prevent him from going any further. Not content with merely looking upon the country he desires to call his home, Bilal devises a plan to swim across the bitterly cold waters of the Channel, and heads to the local swimming pool to commence his training. It is here that he crosses paths with Simon (Vincent Lindon), a middle-aged swimming instructor with a dejected spirit, who is privately reeling in turmoil as he dreads an imminent divorce from his wife (Audrey Dana). Despite their differing ages, the two men discover that they have much in common, and their friendship develops into a strong bond that will prove necessary for both men to realise their dreams for a happy future. A huge box office success in its native France, writer-director Philippe Lioret (Dont Worry, Im Fine) has created an absorbing story that speaks not only of the social issues of the day, but of the very nature of the human spirit.





Director: Kazim Öz

Writer: Kazim Öz

Stars: Cahit Gök, Havin Funda Saç, Mehmet Selim Akgul

156 minutes

Bahoz is a movie that tells a story of a group leftist Kurdish students and politic period that they stayed in during a term when Kurdish revolt began to increase. Briefly the scenario is that Cemal passes the matriculation and comes to İstanbul from his small Kurdish town.His loneliness in crowded city ends when he meets a group Kürdish students that against the current system. Being in conflict with Helin who is one of the pioneer of the group would be a new beginning for Cemal. Rojda and Orhan who share same feeling with Cemal also change and become an active member of the group.





Directors: Özgür Dogan (as Ozgür Dogan), Orhan Eskiköy

Stars: Emre Aydin, Rojda Huz, Vehip Huz

81 minutes

One year in the life of a Turkish teacher, teaching the Turkish language to Kurdish children in a remote village in Turkey. The children can't speak Turkish, the teacher can't speak Kurdish and is forced to become an exile in his own country. On the Way to School is a film about a Turkish teacher who is alone in a village as an authority of the state, and about his interaction with the Kurdish children who have to learn Turkish. The film witnesses the communication problem emphasizing the loneliness of a teacher in a different community and culture; and the changes brought up by his presence into this different community during one year. The film chronicles one school year, starting from September 2007 until the departure of the teacher for summer holiday in June 2008.

During this period, they begin to know and understand each other mutually and slowly.




Director: Hisham Zaman

Cast: Raouf Saraj, Shler Rahnoma, Kawa Gilli

Kurdish refugee, Renas, is living in the very north of Norway. In a remote desolate house. In the middle of snowy nowhere. But soon his special princess, Fermesk, will be joining him. Though the couple has never met, they have already fallen in love from looking at each other's photographs and talking on the phone. Their families have performed a wedding ceremony back home in Iraq, and Fermesk is put on a plane. The first encounter at the airport does not live up to their expectations, however. Neither look very much like their flattering photos would indicate. Fermesk is now a much bigger woman, and Renas isn't quite the handsome young man anymore.




BERITAN - 2006

Directors: Halil Uysal, Jinda Baran, Dersim Zeravanr

Cast: Beritan Cûdi, Jinda Baran, Rubar Qamislo, Ömer Harran, Jinda Wan, Nugayla, Beritan Boran, Gesbun, Sterk Amed, DersimZeravan, Xebat Serhat, Rezan Iran, Andok Amed, Ahin Qubani, M.Emin, Bager Mardin, Raperin, Hasan Afrin, Erkan Safir. 

South Kurdistan (Iraq). 180 minutes.   Kurdish (Kurmanji) and Turkish

Filmed in the Kurdish mountains and acted by real guerrilla fighters, this he true story of Kurdish heroine Gülnaz Karatas, nickname Beritan, who joined the Kurdish resistance movement. She was both a poet and a resistance fighter who also fought the wrong doings committed by some commanders within the PKK's military wing, before dying a heroic death, throwing herself off a cliff after running out of ammunition.


Director: Bahman Ghobadi

Cast: Ismail Ghaffari, Allah Morad Rashtiani, Farzin Sabooni, Kambiz Arshi, Sadiq

Behzadpoor, Ali Ashraf Rezai, Reza Haj Khosravi, Mohamad Nahid, Bahram Zarei Hedieh

Tehrani, Golshifteh Farahani, Hassan Poorshirazi

Saddam has fallen and Mamo, a renowned Kurdish musician, begins a journey to Iraq with his sons to perform a concert. An old friend drives the minibus that picks up Mamo's sons one by one. Although one son tells of the dire predictions of his village elders if the journey continues, Mamo is determined to carry on. Borders are crossed, difficulties are faced and the journey becomes both an adventure and an exploration. This outstanding new film from Bahman Ghobadi (TURTLES CAN FLY) won the top prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival together with awards for writing and photography.





Director:  Jamil Rostami

Writer:  Sholeh Shariati

Stars:  Abdollah Ahmadi, Anvar Farajpour, Delnia Farajpour 

People are praying for rainfall... a Land parched in drought... the illusion of snow... Rozhin is engulfed in reveries of flight from an undesirable marriage... Rozhin seeks support from a stranger... and this is not the end of the story.




Director: Hiner Saleem

Cast: Nazmi Kirik, Belçim Bilgin, Eyam Ekrem, Ehmed Qeladizeyi, NezarSelami.

France-South Kurdistan (Iraq). 96minutes. Kurdish with English subtitles.

Iraq 1988. Young husband and father Ako is forced to join Saddam Hussein’s army. The unwilling soldier dreams of fleeing the country, but his wife Selma refuses to leave while her old bedridden father is still alive. Ako is sent away to the frontline of the Iran-Iraq

War, where he experiences not only the reality of war but, because of his

Kurdish background, also abuse from all sides. Desperation calls for desperate measures.  




Director: Bahman Ghobadi

Cast: Avaz Latif, Soran Ebrahim, Hirsh Feyssal, Saddam Hossien Feysel, et al

Bahman Ghobadi's third feature film after A TIME FOR DRUNKEN HORSES and MAROONED IN IRAQ is set in a village in Iraqi Kurdistan, on the border between Iran and Turkey, where the villagers desperately seek a satellite dish antenna in order to keep updated on the impending attack of the Americans in Iraq. Coming from another village with his younger sister and her child, a mutilated boy has a foreboding: the war is getting closer and closer... TURTLES CAN FLY won the main prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival in September. "Ghobadi displays a complete command of his art as he shifts between - and even blends - wrenching tragedy and amusing comedy."




Director: Mano Khalil

Cast: Hasa H. Inan, David Imhoof, Max Rüdlinger, Sandra Forrer, Rezan Cetin Colourful Dreams could be the story of every artist who has great dreams - dreams which are difficult to translate reality and often fade like spring blossom blown away in the wind. It could also be the story of a people who, having lost their homeland, can no longer find peace of mind.



Director: Hiner Saleem

Cast: Romen Avinian, Lala Sarkissian, Ivan Franek France-Italy-Switzerland-Armenia. 90 minutes.

Armenian, Kurdish with English subtitles / PG

Hiner Saleem's gentle tragi-comedy tells of Hamo, an ageing widower, who finds love in, of all places, a cemetery. But it's also the story of his tiny Kurdish village – a remote, snowbound outpost the real and the surreal agreeably co-exist. With his wife in the ground, his only hope rests in an adult son who has immigrated to France. Saleem surrounds his protagonists with a colourful gallery of eccentrics. The real star, though, is the rugged, mountainous landscape: a winter wonderland that will have you blinking in chilly awe. The marvel is that Saleem finds human empathy and alcohol-fuelled bonhomie flourishing in such a forbidding and melancholy wilderness.



JIYAN - 2002

Director: Jano Rosebiani

Cast: Kurdo Galali, Pisheng Berzinci, Çoman Hawrami

Five years after the infamous chemical and biological bombing of Halabja, Diyari, a Kurdish/American Samaritan, returns to his homeland to build an orphanage in what is left of Halabja. During the course of his stay, he meets a colourful bunch of townfolk, many of whom remain physically and/or psychologically marked with the effects of the chemical agents. Among them is Jiyan, a ten year old orphan. A strong bond between the two ensues and later he names the orphanage after her.





Director: Bahman Ghobadi

Cast: Allah-morad Rashtian, Faegh Mohammadi, Iran Ghobadi Iran. 110 minutes. Kurdish with English subtitles.

An aging Kurdish singer, Mirza, persuades his two grown musician sons to accompany him on a mission into Iraq to locate his ex-wife, who, rumour has it, needs him. The journey takes them through a lawless land of bombs and bandits where the only policemen they encounter are handcuffed and in underwear. The film portrays the Kurds living on the border of Iran and Iraq not only as victims, but also as people who love music, life and children, and have a wicked sense of humour that enables them to survive persecution. Winner of the Best Film award at the Chicago Film Festival, although director Bahman Ghobadi turned down the award after the US authorities refused him an entry visa.  




TIREJ - 2002

Director: Halil Uysal

Editor: Ozgur Reyzan

Cast: Mehmet Emin, Harun Ahmed

Produced by: Martyr Sefkan Culture & Art School, Cinema Dept.

Kurdistan. 50 minutes. Kurdish with English subtitles.

A film written, directed and acted by real life guerrillas and based on a true story, this is perhaps the first feature made entirely by guerrillas. It tells the story of a clash with the Turkish army. After fierce fighting, two guerrillas survive and are encircled by the Turkish army. The war is seen from the perspective of the guerrillas. Will they survive? Will other guerrillas come to their rescue? What are their thoughts when they are fighting, and what will go into the diary of one of the guerrillas?




Director: Halil Uysal

Cast: Sabriye fke, Hevi Sanoger, Tofan Silan, Sadik Cudi

An exploration of the daily life of the Kurdish guerillas through the eyes of a child called Sakine. The mountain guerillas attempt to bring a mirror from a nearby village as a birthday present for Sakine. The ensuing journey with four guerillas is journey of discovery for Sakine and she makes friends with them. A mirror held up to the life in the mountains.




Director: Handan Ipekçi

Writer: Handan Ipekçi

Stars: Sükran Güngör, Dilan Erçetin, Füsun Demirel

120 minutes

Hejar, meaning "Dispossessed", a little Kurdish orphan war victim, educates a Turkish judge!




Director:  Samira Makhmalbaf

Writers:  Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Samira Makhmalbaf

Cast:  Said Mohamadi, Behnaz Jafari, Bahman Ghobadi

Itinerant Kurdish teachers, carrying blackboards on their backs, look for students in the hills and villages of Iran, near the Iraqi border during the Iran-Iraq war. Said falls in with a group of old men looking for their bombed-out village; he offers to guide them, and takes as his wife Halaleh, the clan's lone woman, a widow with a young son. Reeboir attaches himself to a dozen pre-teen boys weighed down by contraband they carry across the border; they're mules, always on the move. Said and Reeboir try to teach as their potential students keep walking. Danger is close; armed soldiers patrol the skies, the roads, and the border. Is there a role for a teacher? Is there hope?



Director: Bahman Ghobadi

Cast: Nezhad Ekhtiar-Dini, Amaneh Ekhtiar-Dini, Madi Ekhtiar-Dini.

Kurdistan-Iran. 80 minutes. Farsi and Sorani with English subtitles.

In Iranian Kurdistan, very near the border with Iraq, five brothers and sisters live at subsistence level. The younger boy has a serious illness. The medicine he takes is expensive, and the doctor says he has to be operated on soon to have a chance of surviving. Despite the efforts of the eldest brother who takes on lots of odd jobs, the family is unable to pay for the operation. So, the elder sister accepts to marry an Iraqi who is prepared to give them financial help for the operation. However, the future spouse's family refuses to let the sick boy cross the border.




Director: Kazim Öz

Cast: Feyyaz Duman, Nazmi Kirik, Mizgin Kapazan, Zülfiye Dolu.

Turkey. 66 minutes. Turkish and Kirmanji with English subtitles.

An imaginatively shot and revealing film following the stories of two young men travelling to Turkish Kurdistan by bus. They sit next to each other, each of them hiding the reason for his journey from the other. Who are they? Where are they going? And why? A strange kind of proximity and warmth develops between the two of them. The road, the cigarettes and the discomfort they have shared leaves a trace that will reverberate after their paths have separated.


Passeurs de rêves 

Director: Hiner Saleem

Cast: Olivier Sitruk, Rosanna Vite Mesropian

France-Armenia-Italy. 100 minutes. French and Kirmanji with English subtitles. Hiner Saleem's second feature tracks a young refugee couple's flight from Kurdistan to hopeful sanctuary in Paris, braving travails comic and tragic on their long, serpentine path. Already struggling toward an uncertain destination at the outset, childhood sweethearts Dolovan and Zara are first seen huffing across the frozen Caucasian Mountains. Not by choice: Saying "We have no country," Dolovan is resigned to the necessity of leaving their lifelong village in Mesopotamia, where ethnic strife has drawn a vicious line between local Kurds and their suddenly intolerant neighbours. Zara is more reluctant, and their odyssey starts very badly as her elderly parents, lagging behind, are lost to the elements." (Dennis Harvey, Variety)



AX (LAND)  - 1999

Director: Kazim Oz

The story of an old Kurdish man, who insists on not leaving his village, from which the people are forced by the Turkish army, to migrate. The only thing left from the former active life is a dead silence and places full of memories.




Director: Hiner Saleem

Cast: Georges Corraface, Marina Kobakhidze, Tuncel Kurtiz

Set inside the 100,000-population Kurdish community in Paris. Cheto seeks a wife via videotapes while still seeing his French girlfriend, immigration office worker Christine. Cheto places an order for a beautiful girl, but he's disappointed when her sister, country girl Mina, arrives at the airport as a substitute. Family pressure forces him to marry her. Unhappy with the way she's treated by Cheto, Mina acquires some progressive ideas from Leila and other local feminists, leading to confrontations with Cheto.




Directors: Serif Gören, Yilmaz Güney

Cast: Tarik Akan, Halil Ergün, Meral Orhonsay, Semra Uçar.

Turkey. 111 minutes. Turkish with English subtitles.

The notoriously brutal Turkish prison system undergoes a rare moment of compassion in YOL. Five convicts are given a week's leave from jail so that they may visit their friends, families and lovers. Sadly, each of the men confronts tragedy, disillusionment or both upon arriving home. Writer Yilmaz Güney knew what he was talking about: he spent much of his adult life in prison for various political activities.  Using the 'limited-leave' device as a launching pad, Güney uses the journey to savagely skewer many of Turkey's antiquated sociopolitical attitudes, notably the subjugation of women.



THE HERD (SÜRÜ) - 1978

Director: Zeki Ökten / Yilmaz Güney

Cast: Tarik Akan, Melike Demirag, Tuncel Kurtiz.

Turkey.114 minutes. Turkish with English subtitles.

The film tells the story of a family of nomadic shepherds destroyed by their contact with modern civilization as they transport a flock of sheep by train to Ankara. The central figure in the film is the son who tries to heal the rifts caused by family vendettas and to adapt to modern society. Eventually he is destroyed - driven to inarticulate revolt and then promptly beaten and arrested - just as the old patriarch is swallowed up in the anonymity of sprawling present day Ankara.









A source of very informative photo collections telling stories of Iraq including stories of Iraqi Kurdistan, notably Map of Displacement composed of 11 galleries, including “Escaped” with photos and stories of 13 Yezidi women.





GULAN-UK Collections - photos by Richard Wilding




ANTHONY KERSTING   photos at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London


Christians of Kurdistan      


Jews of Kurdistan 






In addition to her wonderful, treasurable photobook, don’t miss her website: 




KURDISTAN-PHOTOLIBRARY                Kurdish history in images 


A rich, extensive collection of photo images.  Don’t miss the many galleries, including private collections.







photobook:    Stories Kurdistan Histoires   Wonderful photos by Chris Kutschera of many Kurdistani personalities.  Published by Aras Press in Erbil.







Photobooks on the religions of Kurdistan and other topics are available through: 






Photos from the 1960s:


Talk by William Carter available on YouTube:


Part 1:


Part 2: 6s






Wonderful photos at the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University. See volumes 16 (pages 40 to 60) and 17 (pages 56 to 72). 








Photobook:    Kurdistan, The Green Pearl   by Saeed M. Aznaveh   (Gooya Art House)






Human Rights Award of Weimar goes to two kidnapped Syrian bishops

At the suggestion of Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), the commission decided to award this year’s Human Rights Award of Weimar to two Syrian bishops. The decision was announced the 10th July. The distinction honours the commitment of Mor Gregorius Yohanna (Syrian-othodox church) und Boulos Yazigi (Greek-orthodox church) in Aleppo as mediators