Kurdish leader condemns NATO, defends Kosovars


By Norm Dixon

Kani Xulam, director of the Washington-based American-Kurdish Information Network, has condemned the NATO attack on Yugoslavia and defended the Kosovar Albanians' right to national self-determination.

Addressing an anti-nuclear weapons rally in Washington on April 23, Xulam expressed his opposition to NATO's war and accused NATO leaders of "camouflaging their aggression as a humanitarian intervention". "Hate-mongers and warmongers [are] the only beneficiaries of this war", he said.

Xulam continued: "A number of prominent figures ... have expressed both their dislike for wars in general and their support for this war in particular. The often repeated claim is that since the Serbs are contracting the rights of the ethnic Albanians, they must be punished.

"As peace activists, it behoves us to dig deeper into the reasons for this conflict so that we may confront the warmongers not only with our logic but also with our hopes for a future free of war for us all.

"Let it be known that we do not subscribe to the chauvinistic culture of Mr Milosevic. We find his brand of nationalism absurd, his policies untenable and his vision of Kosovo with limited rights for the Kosovars utterly flawed. This is no time to abridge rights. It is high time to expand them, both for the Kosovars and the Serbs alike.

"Where we part company with those who are trumpeting the cause of war is that we don't believe that NATO can undo the wrongs of Mr Milosevic ... Turkey, a member of NATO, leaves Serbia in the shade in terms of its crimes against humanity. So the talk about fighting evil rings hollow at best and makes a mockery of the principles for which NATO says it stands ...

"Death and destruction rain on Serbia ... Some of the planes that have done the shooting belong to the Turkish armed forces. The same planes have also engaged in an atrocious war over the skies of Kurdistan. Their brutality against the Kurds compared to the plight of the Kosovars reveals the double standard that NATO pursues.

"In Kosovo, the death of 2000 Kosovars and the displacement of 200,000 of their kin since 1989 was alarming, and NATO considered it a cause for war. In Turkish Kurdistan, the death of 37,000 people, the destruction of over 3400 villages and the displacement of 3 million Kurds since 1984 has so far moved no-one, and, worse, NATO has aided and abetted Turkey in its war against the Kurds ...

"If NATO is so overflowing with goodness, why doesn't it stop the atrocities of the Turkish armed forces against the Kurds? If Washington wants to do good in the world, it should stop supplying Turkey with fighter planes, helicopters, the source of so much anguish in Kurdistan.

"But they fool no-one by claiming that they are in this war for the moral imperative. Moral imperatives dictate that oppression be confronted not just in Kosovo but also in Kurdistan, in East Timor and in Tibet."

Visit the American-Kurdish Information Network web page at .