Reconstruction discussed

Shawntaye Hopkins

Change is inevitable.

This was the message of Salah Aziz, executive director of the American Society for Kurds, who lectured last Thursday in Grise Hall Auditorium on the future of Kurdish people after the war.

The American Society for Kurds is a U.S. organization with branches in Kurdistan-Iraq. According to its Web site at www.askurds.org, it is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that offers health services, educational assistance and technical assistance to Kurds.

Aziz said, at 50 million, Turkey has the largest number of Kurds. Some also reside in Iraq, Iran and Syria. Aziz is an Iraqi Kurd.

Aziz said that, although the Kurds don’t have a state of their own, stability exists in their region of Kurdistan in Iraq.

“Tomorrow is after the withdrawal of U.S. troops,” Aziz said.

When negotiations are made after the war with Iraq and it is time to decide the fate of Kurdistan, Aziz said there is little chance the Kurdish dream of having their own state will come true.

A long history of conflict with the Turks could cause the destruction of the Kurdish region after the war.

“The U.S. should not give the future of Iraqi Kurds to Turkey,” Aziz said.

Cave City senior Daniel Hatcher said the information from Aziz was not only interesting but also helpful for a comparative research project he is doing concerning domestic policy toward the Kurds.

“I feel that talks like that of Dr. Aziz’s, in particular, demonstrate that you can teach people about an issue … through peaceful means and education,” he said.

Robin Borczon, assistant director of International Programs and Projects at Western, said she was impressed with the student turnout.

“I do think Western students are very interested in the world outside of Kentucky and the United States,” she said.

Borczon said she believes it is important to have speakers who lecture on international topics.

“We just got a little trip to Kurdistan and Iraq,” she said.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]