The PJAK’s Multitude of Identities

I do not have a depth of knowledge about the dynamics and history of the Kurdish people and their society; I have collected a bit of information on the subject. What I have gathered is that the Kurds are a group of mountain people living within the borders of several countries in the Middle East. In Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria, in the mountainous regions where they reside Kurds make up  most of the population. The Kurds speak their own language, have their own society, and culture. Surprisingly, Kurds practice a variety of religions. Unfortunately, due to their unconventional beliefs, in the perspective of their neighbors, they have been patronized, oppressed, and have suffered immensely.

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The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), is a guerrilla group in Northern Iraq. The group  fights against opposing militants, however, there is much more to them. PJAK is more an ideology than anything else. Their belief, termed Apoism, branches off from the philosophy of Abdullah Ocalan, the National Leader of the Kurds. The inspiration for Apoism comes from Maoism. They believe that their philosophy can eliminate extremism in the Middle East. The belief  emphasizes the individual and the struggle to free ones-self from an oppressive mindset. They also believe in gender, class, religion and ecological equality.

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In the Vice News episode on the PJAK’s female fighters they claim that their forces are top notch militants that endure extensive military training. However, what they claim and what appears seem to be a bit disconnected. The footage of the female fighters displays the women line dancing, reading books under trees, attempting to do sit ups, and playing leap frog. The PJAK’s ideology and their activities outside of battle do seem to be in more synchronicity than what they claim. The group exhibits a sense of peace and connection to each other and their environment. It is possible that the group was trying to impress and convey to the American news channel, Vice, a sense of action and responsibility. Or maybe their actions are merely situational, only answering to the call of action due to their oppressive circumstances.

– Natalie

Vice News