From the 17th -27th November we celebrate the 7th LKFF here in London.
Since our in-depth interview with film director Bahman Gobadi we’ve been intrigued to hear more from this sector of the ‘Iranian peoples’. The Kurds are a nation without a state, probably the largest stateless people in the world: over 30 uprooted million people. Most historians concur the Kurds belong to the Iranian branch of the great family of Indo-European peoples who live in a region which, in the days of Antiquity, was known as Media and Upper Mesopotamia.Before they were islamised, the Kurds were mainly adepts Zarathustra, but also had large Christian and Jewish communities.
Today, the majority of Kurds are victims in their host countries, some 15 to 20 million, live in Turkey which refuses to recognize their existence and cultural rights. As part of ultra-nationalist policy, the Kurds are submitted to intense assimilation, deportation, dispersion and systematic elimination of their dissident intellectual elites. Since June 1991, in a territory as big as Switzerland, 3.5 to 5 million Iraqi Kurds live independently, beyond the control of Saddam Hussein’s regime. They have a parliament, three universities, schools, television stations, and over 120 publications in Kurdish.
We are keen to hear their voices. The film festival will take place at Westbourne studios and the newly opened Picturehouse Hackney.
10 million Kurds live in Iran whose official ideology is Shiite, while majority of the Kurds are Sunni. The 1.5 million Kurds living in Syria have no collective linguistic or cultural rights. In 2009, over 300,000 Syrian Kurds are arbitrarily deprived of Syrian citizenship, prohibited from working in the public sector and considered as foreigners in their own country. To complete the picture, mention must also be made of the Kurds from the former Soviet Union who are said to number some 500,000. Here are the stats in UK Kurds:
|Regions with significant populations|
|London, Birmingham, Manchester, GlasgowLanguages|
|British English, Kurdish, Turkish, Georgian, Armenian, Russian, Azeri
|Islam (majority Sunni, minority Alevi), Yazidi, , Zorastrian, and a significant number of Yarsan, Shabak, Kurdish Jews and Kurdish Christians|
|Related ethnic groups|