Prepared by Art-in-Mind
This is an unaccepted paper for a research conference on decentralization in November 2010 in Helsinki. I am not a researcher, but a practicing physician first and a mental health specialist next. As such, I try to understand and alleviate the suffering of patients with a kin interest in humanity. Gandhi, my spiritual role model for humanity, once said that humans ought to avoid seven sins to remain humans. These sins include “wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle, and science without humanity”. I hope we all can avoid such sins. I especially hope those interested in science and research can avoid at least the latter sin. I appreciate the work of scientists and researchers, and would like to have their input regarding an assumed patient as described in this 1001 words paper. I hope my explanation adds to their understanding of the patient, so together we can find the most appropriate treatment.
The patient’s name is Rojhallat(1). She suffers from a deep pain and needs help. She has been denied various opportunities and therefore remains underdeveloped. She is fearful, helpless, and unable to make her own decisions. In order to understand her pain, a review of her background is essential.
Her origin goes back to her mother, the royal Media(2). After a bad fall(3), Media became bedridden and lived in poverty for many years. She then met a conservative, influential, and expansive married man(4). This man’s slogan was taking care of the poor and the widows. Being a poor widow, Media had submitted and married him. The husband had been a passionate man at times and a violent one at other times. Media was abused, remained poor, and died poor despite her marriage to an influential and polygamous husband. Being exposed to abuse and discrimination, some of Media’s children retreated to the mountains to fight injustice. To their credit, they did not fight anyone who was not fighting them. While in the mountains, most of them missed the opportunity to be educated and work in industrial and cultural centers. Many fell behind in terms of scientific, philosophical, political, and artistic accomplishments. Some even accepted submission, assimilation, dogmatism, and gender discrimination as new norms. Some of them saw their mother and her sisters as strangers.
Rojhallat had three sisters(5). After the loss of their parents, Rojhalat and her sisters had inherited a large property with rich natural resources. The property was managed by their negligent husbands and remained deficient in terms of modern infrastructure and industries. It is said that the husbands had deliberately let the properties remain underdeveloped in order to safeguard the power structure of the family. Rojhalat’s husband has manipulated Rojhalat and her children to serve the dysfunctional patriarchic family structure. Through favoritism, some of the children have accepted subservience and focused on pitiful rivalry instead of fighting violence, exploitation, and neglect. Instead of promoting knowledge, science, and culture, some of them have become preoccupied with unreasonable rituals, superstition, and empty promises of going to heaven upon submission.
After a fight between her father and a ruler of another territory, Rojhallat’s sisters and their inherited lands were given away to the winning ruler. So the first border(6) was created between Rojhalt and her sisters. Years later in a similar fight the husband of the three sisters promised them to let them free(7). Within a few years the promise was broken(8). Two of the sisters and their inheritances were given away to two twin brothers(9). Now the sisters were further divided and lived in four controlled territories. They remained separated from each other and were controlled by abusive husbands. One of the games of the husbands was giving happy promises to their wives and competing over betraying and abusing them. Fed up with pain, Rojhallat gave up her hope of relying on empty promises; and with the support of one of her sons she decided to be free once. Her freedom lasted less than a year. Her husband found her and her son, hung the son in public(10), and paralyzed her via a head trauma. Now she is almost mute. She has some active and hopeful children though.
It has been difficult for Rojhallat to get anywhere. She cannot freely express what she wants. She has to follow an imposed faith, learn a different language, and accept any identity that is given to her. She has tried to settle with her husband, but often been betrayed and at times badly hurt on the negotiation table. Despite her hardship, she remains flexible, tolerant, open, friendly, and looks for a peaceful solution. She is hopeful as she sees that one of her sisters has made some progress. The sister once screamed so loud that the world heard her cry and luckily rescued her(11). The sister now has a better opportunity to make her own decisions. Rojhallat hopes to have the same opportunity. She is gradually being heard if not by everybody at least by some friends who try to avoid social sins. She hopes that the people in this audience are such friends and will support her in moving forward.
Considering her past, the traumatized Rojhalat might be vulnerable and develop a victim mentality. However, she is resilient and can recover. She can learn from the past. She can forgive, even if she cannot forget. She can gain confidence and demand what others have in terms of linguistic and cultural identity, and other human rights. Unification with her sisters might sound impractical. Some believe her stepsiblings(12) understands her pain, but they are powerless and abused themselves. Working with them might be a pragmatic solution and strengthen them to end their suffering. Unconditional support of her friends(13) who understand her and her siblings pain is essential in helping them. Through such support they can build a trusting and mutually agreeable relationship with their friends so together they can stop the behavior of any abuser(14).
1. Reference to Eastern Kurdistan
2. Media, the “motherland” of the Kurds
3. Fall of Median Empire in 585 BC
4. Islamic expansion to Iran in 644
5. Northern, Southern, and Western Kurdistan
6. First division of Kurdistan in 1639
7. Treaty of Sevres in 1920
8. Treaty of Lausanne in 1923
9. Iraqi and Syrian regimes
10. Qazi’s hanging in 1947
11. Coalition forces’ role in 2003
12. Other Iranian nations
13. International community interested in justice
14. Reference to tyrants