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Essays on Kurds

Historiography, Orality, and Nationalism

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Amir Hassanpour

The essays in this collection offer robust theoretical analysis of language and cultural rights, class and gender, policy and politics, history and historiography, nation and nationalism, and Marxism. They continue to remain original to a vast array of debates and contestations in these areas. The book includes unpublished pieces and some key contributions that are most relevant to the contemporary debates on theory and method of nation/nationalism, and the struggle of national minorities for sovereignty, cultural and political rights. Each chapter provides original data and are written over a span of decades, but significantly, they offer a radical break with the colonial, orientalist, and nationalist traditions of knowledge production. This book is an exemplary exploration of nation and nationalism in a Marxist dialectical, historical materialism.

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8 Satellite Footprints as National BorderMED-TV and the Extraterritoriality of State Sovereignty

MED-TV and the Extraterritoriality of State Sovereignty

Extract

The launching of the first Kurdish satellite television channel, MED-TV, opened a new site of conflict between the Kurds and the Middle Eastern states that rule over Kurdistan. After more than 30 years of military engagement between the Kurdish people and the states of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey, signals from the sky changed the theater of war in favor of the Kurds. Transcending the international borders, which since 1918 have divided the land in which Kurds live, the channel allowed the Kurds, for the first time in their history, to establish a powerful mode of communication among themselves and undermine the state-centered geopolitical order that has reduced them to the status of helpless minorities. Thus, failing to achieve self-rule in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria after decades of armed resistance, the Kurds feel that they have achieved sovereignty in the sky, that is, a “great historical leap” toward self-rule in their homeland.1

Among the Middle Eastern countries, Turkey is the first and the only one to use its full state power to silence MED-TV. Accusing the channel of being the mouthpiece of the “terrorist” Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Ankara unleashed its coercive forces to prevent the reception of the airwaves within Turkey, whereas in Europe, it used diplomatic power, espionage, jamming, and various forms of intimidation to stop the emission of television signals. Since MED-TV was licensed in Britain and its studios were located in Brussels, Berlin, and Stockholm, ←187 | 188→a number of European Union countries and...

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