Feb. 20th, 2018 05:29 pm
frandroid: Hammer and sickle logo, with the hammer replaced with a LiveJournal pencil (lj)
[personal profile] zoefruitcake is doing a "365 questions" meme, which I can't be bothered to follow, but I just swiped the questions she's answering this week, because boredom.

  • February 21 - if you could have the perfect meal, what would it be?

    That's kind of difficult, but I'd be partial to a vegan Parsi wedding meal, including dhansak dal and dar ni poori. Maybe if Vij's in Vancouver knew how to make those recipes (they're Punjabi, not Parsi, but who cares?), that could be good.

  • February 22 - if you had to permanently leave your home country, where would you go?

    Right now, I would join the People's Defense Units of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, duh. I really wouldn't dislike living in Scotland, either.

  • February 23 - What is your first political memory?

    Rooting for Brian Mulroney in the 1994 federal election, because he was from Québec. (!!!)

  • February 24 - When is the last time you were completely wrong about something?

    Fuck me, I don't know when the last time was, I'm sure it was pretty recently. But the one that sticks in my craw is that I supported the U.S. efforts to depose Ghaddafi. Ohhh boy.

  • February 25 - What do you prefer to be called? Who named you that and why? Where did it come from?

    My first name is François, which was my maternal grandmother's name (Françoise). I _REALLY_ disliked being called Frank, because that's how some of my school bullies used to call me. There are a select few people who aren't subject to this objection, and they delight getting under my skin.

  • February 27 - Five topics you’d like to download to your brain, and why?

    1. Das Kapital, because I'm a poorly read marxist.

    2. Ocalan's writings, because I'm just starting

    3. The Ancient Roman Greek and Roman canon, because that would be cool.

    4. I could let fate pick a language between Turkish, Kurmanji and Sorani

  • February 28 - Best moment of the month

    I don't have restrictions, constraints or features which work on a monthly cycle, so the question is kind of irrelevant to me...

frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)
  1. After your first language, what language would you most like to learn? (Say first language too)

    French is my first language. My current language interest is split between Turkish and Kurmanji, but if I'm honest, in the long term, Spanish is the language I'm most likely to really learn well, because it's so close to French.

  2. Does your country have a second language? What is it?

    French. Furthermore, a few hundred other languages are spoken by immigrants from all over the world, in particular in my city, Toronto. This country also has a number of indigenous languages: Some of which are still spoken widely, some have died, and some others have less than a dozen speakers left. A white friend of mine is learning some form of Ojibway language I think, I'm jealous of his dedication. It's a really political commitment. I hope he gets to use it.

  3. How many languages can you count to 5 in? To 10 in? List them.

    French, English, Spanish, Gujarati, Japanese (I used to practice aikido, numbers are basically the only thing I can say/understand). I could count to 5 in Turkish a couple months ago but that's gone to the wayside.

  4. What is the first overseas country you visited? And from where? (ie/ Timbuktu to Mars)

    When I was 8 or so, my family travelled by car from Québec City to Old Orchard Beach, in Maine. It was a popular summer destination for working class Québécois people at the time. People don't talk about it much anymore. Flights are cheap now, I suspect people just fly further south. For Montréalers, Sandbanks, a provincial park which features a beach on Lake Ontario, about 4 hours' drive away, is also becoming more popular.

  5. What country do you most want to visit? And why?

    I went to Turkey in 2015, but I visited what I should call the Greco-Roman west coast, i.e. msotly the old ruins. (Plus 'Stamboul, of course). I was just learning about the struggle in Rojava (Syria) at the time, and hadn't fully grasped what Kurdistan was. If I was going to Turkey know, I would surely visit the Southeast. I also wanted to visit Aleppo and Damascus but the civil war in Syria scuttled that. (That's actually what drove me to visit Turkey). Ironically, if I really was going to the region today, it would probably be as safe for me to go to Rojava than Bakur/Turkey... I'm interested due to nature of the political struggle there, obviously.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (ypg)
Iraqi Kurdistan (Bashur, Southern Kurdistan) has seen serious unrest in the recent week. First, a bit of background. The independence referendum, which everyone could see would lead nowhere, did worse than that. It gave the Iraqi government and its Iran-controlled Shia militia, the People's Mobilization Units (PMU, Hashd al-Shabi), a pretext for moving in and taking back Kirkuk from the Kurds. Kirkuk has historically been a multi-ethnic but important Kurdish city, and as importantly, has serious oil fields in its vicinity. This oil was going to be an essential source of income for an independent Kurdistan. Qasem Suleimani, the leader of Iran's Quds Force, which runs the PMU, basically went to the Kurds and promised them total war if they didn't pull back from Kirkuk. The PMU was the most important military force in driving ISIS out of Iraq, way more than the Kurdish peshmerga, so the KDP and the PUK pulled out, and the PMU let Iraqi anti-terrorism forces move in and take back the city. This was a huge victory for Haider al-Abadi which was widely celebrated in the rest of Iraq.

The defeat was so complete that the Iraqi government was able to get the KRG to annul the results of the referendum. Massoud Barzani, who was the head of the KRG and the KDP, and controlled Erbil, stepped down, leaving his son Nechirvan to take his place. On the PUK side, long-time leader Jalal Talabani recently died so his wife Hero and some important PUK peshmerga general are fighting a succession battle for control of Suleimania, which is the center of the PUK sphere of influence.

Amidst all this, ordinary Kurds spontaneously (some say fuelled by local PKK media) decided to revolt last week, protesting and setting fire to various party offices all over, even that of Gorran (the Movement for Change), the PUK offshoot which has been way less corrupt than the other two parties and is seeking important democratic reforms. Using this unrest, the PKK, which has an important presence in the Qandil mountains, has declared a new self-rule region in Northern Iraq, which is an interesting development, copying its model of local governance establish which it has established in Rojava (Northern Syria).

The Turkish Air Force has been stepping up its bombardments of PKK camps in Iraq (it claims to have killed 11 PKK fighters yesterday) so that's kind of the downside of what's going on there. It's rumoured that the U.S. might sell bunker-buster bombs to Turkey to placate it for the support the U.S. has provided to the SDF/YPG. This would be disastrous to the PKK as it relies on its mountainous locations to survive Turkish onslaughts.


Apr. 24th, 2017 02:35 pm
frandroid: A faroher, emblem of the Zoroastrian religion (faroher)
So huh, I just translated some text for crimethinc.


frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (Default)

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