Nashville is known as Music City, known for its country music culture, but many may not know that Nashville also plays host to another lesser-known claim to fame — it is the home to America’s largest population of Kurdish Americans.
President Trump Stands by Kurds
According to a recent article in the New York Times by Thomas Gibbons President Trump threatened Turkey on Sunday with harsh economic sanctions if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria after American troops withdraw from the country in the coming months.
“Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” President Trump Tweeted, suggesting that there would be a 20-mile safe zone around the group after American forces leave. He added, “Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”
Kurds Find Refuge in Nashville
Kurds arrived in Nashville in the early 1990’s, after seeking refuge from Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaigns and in the mid 1990’s, during the Kurdish civil war.
It is estimated that up to 13,000 Kurdish Americans live in Nashville. Tennessee’s southern hosptality has welcomed them them with open arms.
“We have No friends but the Mountains”~ Kurdish Adage
After the conflict with ISIS broke out in Iraqi Kurdistan, members of the Kurdish community in Nashville have rallied support for their loved ones fighting for the Peshmerga and serving in the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Who are the Kurds?
Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman (Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the USA) joins Dave Rubin, discussing the history of the Kurds and breaking down “Kurdistan 101.”
1. Kurdistan today is almost equal to the size of Germany and the UK combined.
2. Today’s 30 million Kurds constitute one of the world’s largest ethnic groups – without a country.
3. World War I’s victorious powers drew maps with no regard for ethnicities, religions, geography or logic.
4. WWI’s conquerors divided up the Kurds among four countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
5. Kurdistan, though an unofficial region, is a crossroads of civilizations.
6. Kurdistan has been subjected over millennia to military, linguistic and cultural invasions, and genocide and ethnic cleansing — from all sides.
7. The Kurds have somehow survived in their mountainous region and preserved their culture and language.
8. Kurdish identity encompasses many languages, including Sorani, Kurmanji and Zazaki.
9. Kurdish identity includes many religions – Shiite and Sunni Islam, Yazidism, Chaldean and Assyrian Christianity and Judaism.
10. The Kurds have political organizations in each of Kurdistan’s four parts. Kurds account for a fifth of Turkey’s population.
Sources: “Why Turkey Shrugs as ISIS Closed in on Kobani” by Lugman Barwari and Barrys A. Fisher, Wall Street Journal, October 9, 2014.