If you have watched corporate news within the last year you have probably heard of a group of people called the Kurds. From the news one might be able to gather that they are a militia force that is fighting the Islamic State in the Middle East. The Kurds have been fighting in the Middle East for decades now and for the first time ever they are receiving a large corporate media spotlight. With all of the recent attention they have recently been getting one may start to wonder who exactly are the Kurdish fighters fighting this war on IS (Islamic State) on our behalf?
American media has recently portrayed these Kurdish militia forces as freedom fighters fighting not only for their own sovereignty but against religious extremism that plagues the Middle East. A Vice documentary titled “Female Fighters of Kurdistan” touted them as a progressive and feminist force. And the media at large will often go along with this image, constantly running segments showing female scouts watching from watch towers and telling the stories of young female infantry forces. This is acceptable as long as it is true. But is it? Are these Kurds the progressive feminist forces the have been made out to be?
The Kurdish people are not as progressive or feminist as they will often be portrayed. Kurds are largely Sunni Muslims which is not to be confused with Shia Muslims who typically are more liberal in their way of life. Sunni Muslims are known to be fundamentalist, and conservative.
“Who are the Kurds,” BBC, October 21, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29702440 http://www.vice.com/video/female-fighters-of-kurdistan-part-1.
“Sunnis and Shia: Islam’s ancient schism,” BBC, June 20, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-16047709.
Student Researcher: Raven McGrath (Indian River State College)
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot Cohen (Indian River State College)