B u l l e t i n

c o m p l e t

Bulletin N° 337 | April 2013



The next presidential elections in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region have been set by the Iraqi High Election commission for the 21st September 2013. These elections will be taking place in a political period in which the issue of a power vacuum and of succession are raised on all sides.

The Kurdish party n which the situation regarding its leadership is most uncertain is, of course, that of Jalal Talabani’s PUK, since its president has not reappeared in public since his stroke last December. An Iranian press agency has even mentioned his “very recent recovery from his coma”. This has been denied by his doctor, Najmalddin Karim, who states that the Iraqi President regained consciousness some months ago. Wishing to cut short the rumours in the Kurdish media of his “concealed death”, those round his have issued pictures showing the Iraqi President seated at a table in the garden of his health centre in Germany, wearing town clothes and surrounded by doctors.

However, while there is now no doubt that Jalal Talabani is still alive, the absence of any video or interview has only stimulated the questions regarding his real state of health and his ability resume his duties as President of Iraq and leader of the PUK. For the moment everything seems to be in the hands of his politburo which has decided, this time to take part in the Kurdistan parliamentary elections independently, separately from its ally, Massud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party.

The PUK perhaps hopes to win back some votes that had, hitherto, gone to Goran, considering that its alliance with the KDP had lost it some of its electorate. This, at any rate, is what is said by Muhammad Rauf, who leads the Kurdistan Islamic Union. Muhammad Rauf, also insinuates that there have bee secret attempts to try and reunite Goran and the PUK — or at least to form an electoral alliance against the KDP.

However it is certain that, in the Behdinan region, traditionally fully behind the Barzanis, neither Goran nor the PUK can endanger the KDP’s hegemony, the party coming second in Duhok Province being the Kurdistan Islamic Union. In Suleimaniyah Province the contest is just between the PUK and Goran — and, if allied, they would win it hands down. The only electoral uncertainty is in Erbil Province, which lies at the border of the two political zones.

What is the Kurdish opposition and what does it represent in terms of seats in the Kurdistan Parliament?

The Movement for Change, Goran, is the most powerful and popular, but only in the PUK strongholds, since it is composed of dissident former members. Goran’s political line is secular and Left.

The come the two religious parties, the Kurdistan Islamic Group, which, since 2009 has been allied to two Left wing secular parties to form the Service and Reform List (13 seats) and the Kurdistan Islamic Union that has two seats on its own, since it was unable to reach an agreement with the Islamic Group.

In all, the opposition has 34 seats out of 111 in the Kurdistan Parliament. The two government Parties have 59 seats and 11 seats are ex-officio allocated to Christians (Assyrians, Chaldeans or Armenians) or Turcomenians. Finally there is the group of small Left wing parties, communists or social-democrats, who, in order to have any elected representatives, have to ally themselves with other organisations to form very heterogeneous lists like that of Service and Reform.

The sharpest discussion at this start of the campaign is the possible re-election of Massud Barzani, the present President of the Kurdistan Region.

In the first week of April meeting took place between the KDP and PUK leaders to discus the presidential parliamentary and provincial elections but the opposition parties quickly accused the tow major parties of making “arrangements” of their own to enable Massud Barzani to stand again or to extend his term of office by one or two years (at the moment it is a four year term).

Omêd Sabah, one of the Presidency spokesmen had stared the controversy as early as 30 March by stating, on the independent Kurdish NRT channel that “Massud Barzani had asked or was likely to ask for an extension of his term or office”.

That was all that was needed to arouse the Goran opposition, that made this its key issue, especially as its campaign for a renewal of the political personnel and the fight against corruption it launched in 2009 have begun to lose impact.

However, the opposition is far from unanimous on this issue. While Mohammad Tewfiq Rahim, speaking for Goran, in the Monitor, immediately attacked any such extension of the term of office, Salah ad-Din Bakir, Assistant General Secretary of the Islamic Union pointed out that his party would meet to study the possibility of lengthening the Presidential term of office as did Amar Qadir of the Islamic Group.

While the Kurdistan Democratic Party, obviously, is in favour of such an extension, what would be the stand of the PUK that, this time, is campaigning independently in the parliamentary elections, at least? For the moment its politburo has not raised any objections. In fact it has not made any clear reference to this issue, which could suggest that it is not opposed to it.

However, it might be rather difficult for the PUK to ask its electorate (and especially its own activists) take part in a campaign that, from the KDP point of view, would be largely centred on a third term of office for Massud Barzani and so would look like a referendum. Indeed, some PUK leaders consider that this alliance has, for many years past, favoured their former rivals, especially in view of the internal struggles of their own party — divisions that have increased with the power vacuum that began when Jalal Talabani took office as President of Iraq and is at present increased as a result of his withdrawal, whether temporary or permanent, from active political life.

Caught between two fires, with an electorate disinclined to support Massud Barzani on the one hand and the advantages the PUK gains from its alliance in office with the KDP, the leaders of this party, who have enjoyed this power sharing since 2005, may not oppose fresh term of office for Barzani but do it in a neutral mannerly abstaining from this controversy. Although the PUK has decided to present its own candidates for parliament (estimating that it can win votes from Goran) it could well, after the elections form a fresh coalition government with the KDP.

Replying to Goran in the middle of April, the KDP pointed out that the debate was not about an extension of the term of office but on whether or not a President in office had the right to stand as a candidate for election for a third time. There is, indeed, an ambiguity regarding Massud Barzani’s first term of office since he was not directly elected by popular vote but by parliament in 2005. It was only in the draft constitution approved by Parliament in 2009 that it was laid down that the President of the Kurdistan Region be directly elected by universal suffrage for two terms only.

The opposition holds that the first term of office (voted by Parliament) is valid while the pro-Barzanis consider that only the first election by direct suffrage should be taken into account, which would entitle him to stand for a third term of office.

In the end, Massud Barzani rejected, in an official communiqué, the bulk of the accusations being made in the opposition press:

I have not asked for any alteration in the law regarding the Region’s Presidency, I have not asked for any extension of my term of office as President or allowed any amendment of the law to allow me to stand again as the region’s President”.

Immediately, a flood of comments and analyses in the press and on Internet dissected all the possible meanings of this statement as well as many it didn’t have. The fact that Massud Barzani had not “asked” for anything did not means, according to some, that he would not accept to stand if pressed to do so my his party or a majority of the electors. Others noted that the President did not need to change the law, since all that was needed was to disregard his first tern as being prior to the constitution.

However, what confirmed the opposition in its doubts was the second part of the presidential statement regarding the legitimacy of the draft constitution itself as it was adopted by Parliament in 2009, in circumstances that the opposition had already considered illegal since the Parliaments term of office had already expired.

Indeed, the Constitution was passed by Parliament on 24 June 2009 by 96 votes of the 111 M.P.s — but only 97 of them were present. Goran had boycotted the session, alleging that Parliaments legality had expired on 4 June 2009. In fact, the parliamentary elections planned to take place in May 2009 had been postponed to 25 July for technical and budgetary reasons that were of the resort of the Iraqi High Electoral Commission.

Hitherto the two parties in office had not considered a direct popular vote necessary and it was only five years later that Massud Barzani felt any need to settle this issue by proposing a referendum as with the Iraqi Constitution of 2005.

“The Constitution was not voted by referendum for several reasons. The process of drafting the Constitution had taken place normally and all the stages had been observed. Now it is the people who have the right to decide whether to approve this constitution or not.

Expecting the political parties to decide the constitution has no legal basis (the three opposition parties had, indeed, demanded that the document be re-examined). This is in opposition to the faith and will of the people and runs counter to the very concept of democracy”.

Submitting the Constitution to a referendum would give it a strong legitimacy against demands for its revision by the opposition (that could hardly go against the people’s will) and also because a constitution approved by referendum could more easily ratify the legality of a third term for Barzani. Indeed, if the Kurdistan regional Government was an independent state, people would be talking about a “Third Republic” (after those of 1992 and 2005) which could lead to the possibility of Barzani standing for what would then be his “second term or office” in a more presidential and less parliamentary regime (unlike the previous periods), which would have begun in 2009, not 2005.

In a more “political” perspective, if the constitution were approved by a considerable majority by the citizens of Kurdistan, this would appear like a vote of confidence in the sitting president and unquestionably indicate his re-election.

The Goran Party was not fooled and one of its members, Yusuf Muhammad, stated publicly within hours of the Presidents statement, that this draft constitution had been drawn up with the purpose of prolonging “Barzani’s absolute power and that of his family, this allowing them to monopolise, for themselves and their subordinates, the essential position in the executive, the judiciary, the police and the Peshmergas of Kurdistan’s administration and economy”.

However, the other opposition parties are not opposed to the KDP’s proposals. Thus the leader of the Kurdistan Socialist party, Mohammed Haj Mahmoud, explained that in addition to supporting the KDP’s proposal to have the constitution passed by referendum, he was against Goran’s wish to return to a more parliamentary regime, in which the M.P.s elected the President as in 2005. This was because of the overwhelming domination of the KDP and PUK, which he considered would only result in their co-opting the Presidency through internal agreements and so designate some candidate or other.

Thus the chances of a democratic competition would be reduced to zero. During the last Presidential elections, which took place with the direct vote of the people, there had been a chance to compete and a certain number of competitors did appear in various regions of Kurdistan — at Kefri, Koy, Sanjaq and Erbil, each one receiving a portion of the votes. That is real democracy, which gives equal chances to all the citizens without exception. We are in favour of this democratic formula because the presidency is not to be the reserve of any particular party or alliance of parties — it is a position that concerns all members of the public”.


At the beginning of April, the first cargo of crude oil from the Kurdistan Regional government and exported via Turkey, was sold on the international market for about $ 22 million. At the same time, a Kurdish delegation flew to Washington to discuss the situation of conflict in Iraq with some American leaders. This delegation consisted of Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of Massud Barzani’s Presidential Office and Ashti Hawrami, Minister of Natural Resources and Falah Mustafa. Kurdistan’s Foreign Minister.

According to information that leaked out a week later, the Kurds insisted, at these meetings that the United States remains “neutral” in their conflict with Baghdad — neutrality also desired and demanded by Turkey. On 19 April, the Prime Minister of the latter reaffirmed that Ankara had the right to establish “any kind of relation with Northern Iraq (i.e. the Kurdish Region) within the limits set by the constitution. Our current approaches remain in this context”.

Whereas John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, is said to have insisted to Barzani that such fuel and power agreements should not be reached, Erdogan retorted to both John Kerry and Barack Obama that “they (the Turks) had mutual interests in Iraq (i.e. with the Kurds) just as much as they (the USA) had”.

Towards the end of April, the political climate between the Kurds and the Arab government not having improved, Nuri al-Maliki replaced “provisionally” the two Kurdish Ministers who had been boycotting the Council of Ministers since March — namely Hoshyar Zebari (Foreign Minister) and replaced by Hussein Sharistani and the present Minister of Justice also took charge of the Ministry of Trade previously held by Khayrullah Hassan Babaker.

On 29 April, the Kurdish NRT television channel announced that 14 Kurdish senior officers had been stripped of their field commands (the 4th, 5th and 12th Divisions) by the direct order of the Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, and been transferred to the Baghdad offices of the Ministry of Defence. According to NRT, citing an anonymous source, that as the Sunni Arab regions were also up in arms, Maliki no longer could trust the Kurdish officers of his own army.

Indeed, Iraq is again faced with the danger of civil war following the events in Hawija, a Sunni Arab town in which 53 demonstrators, who were demanding the resignation of Nuri al-Maliki, were killed by the Iraqi armed forces on 23 April. The disturbances then spread to the Qara Tapa, Jalawla, Suleiman Beg, Tuz Khormato, and Mosul regions.

Four days later, the Kurdish Peshmergas were deployed a little more widely in the Kirkuk region, while the hospitals of the city of Kirkuk and of the Kurdistan Regional Government received the wounded coming from the virtually insurgent towns. The commander of the Iraqi forces in the field, General Ali Ghaidan Majeed, then accused the Kurds of using the events as an excuse for “reaching the oil fields” of Kirkuk and put the Iraqi Army on alert.

Just as the events are thus becoming most acrimonious at the month’s end, the Kurdish Member of Parliament announced the visit of Kurdish Prime Minister Nêçirvan Barzani to Baghdad on the 30th to discuss all the differences and the latest conflicts. The Kurdish delegation that accompanied Nêçirvan Barzani included a number of leading members of the Kurdish government as well as the Kurdish governor of Kirkuk, Najmaddin Karim. In addition to meeting Nuri al-Maliki, the delegation was due to meet the Speaker of Parliament, a Sunni Arab from Mosul, Osama Noujafi, and several leaders of parliamentary groups and political parties.

This time the negotiations were not long drawn out with fruitless travelling back and forth. Both the Kurds and the Iraqis wanted to avoid further enflaming an already burning military situation. Consequently an agreement (yet another!) was rapidly signed and Mahmoud Othman, head of the Kurdish list in the Baghdad Parliament announced, in the course of this, the return of the Kurdish Ministers to their posts and of the Kurdish M.P.s, who had been boycotting it, to the Iraqi national Assembly.

The agreement seems essentially to be based on the setting up of state organs and commissions charged with resolving the controversial points of Article 140, (which covers the return of regions detached from Kurdistan by Saddam Hussein) the wages of the Peshmergas, that the Kurds want to be paid by the federal Government, the issue of hydrocarbon management and all the conflicts that had divided Erbil and Baghdad for the last few years.

The question remains is whether this agreement will be more effective than the one the same parties signed in Erbil 3 years ago. This time, the Kurdish Prime minister stated that Nuri Maliki had assured him that several “important” laws would be voted to resolve all the disputes, including the 2013 budget. However, basically it only means setting up commissions, as had been proposed last December, to again try and reach a compromise on issues about which the Kurds and Arabs seem unwilling to give way.

Meanwhile the Erbil government, by means of a law passed by its parliament, has now authorised itself to raise funds from the sale of its crude oil and gas exports until such a time as the central government will have paid its debts to the Kurdish region. This law comes into effect within 90 days, as Ashti Hawrami has just announced. The aim of this law is, as the Minister of Natural Resources clearly stated, to give the Kurds “a political and legal lever in their constitutional struggle with Baghdad”.

Following closely on this, the law also requires the Central Government to pay compensation to the Kurdish victims of Saddam’s crimes. This demand was transmitted by Nêçirvan Barzani, who recalled in passing “Baghdad’s legal obligation to carry out the decision of the Iraqi High Criminal Court regarding compensation to the victims of the genocide crimes of the former regime”.

This double aspect of the new Kurdish Law is based on some articles that already exist in the Iraqi Constitution, that provides that “an allowance for a period to be determined” be paid to those regions damaged by Saddam’s government “or having suffered war damage”.

According to the Kurdish Prime Minister, the destruction inflicted on Kurdistan’s agriculture and infra structures amount to $ 9 billion, to which should be added $ 6 billion in wages for the Peshmergas and $ 4 billion due to the oil companies active in the Region who are supplying oil to the rest of Iraq — in all some $ 20 billion claimed by Erbil.

As it is unlikely that Baghdad will comply, the main aim of this law could be to allow the Kurds to continue to advance towards a financial autonomy — an aim that a Kurdish Member of the Baghdad Parliament, Muhsin Al-Saadoun, had envisaged in March, and which the Minister of Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami, barely bothered to conceal in replying to criticism from some of the opposition who accused him of throwing oil onto the fire:

Baghdad daily threatens to deprive us of our share of the Federal budget. We are trying to create out own fiscal policy”.

At the beginning of the year 2013, Mahmoud Othman had already expressed little optimism on the viability of any negotiations that did not result from a direct meeting between the Iraqi Prime Minister and the Kurdish President:

The problems can only be resolved in one way, this is by making Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and President Massud Barzani meet at the same table”.

A meeting between the two leaders was, indeed, envisaged on Nêçirvasn Barzani’s return to Erbil, but for the moment the 2013 version of the Baghdad agreement does not seem any less fragile or less uncertain in its application than the one at Erbil in 2010.


On 18 April, the European Parliament passed a resolution submitted by the Foreign Affairs Commission with 451 votes for, 105 against and 45 abstentions on the report of the 2012 regarding Turkey’s progress. 

Parliament considers that a reciprocal commitment renewed by negotiation is needed to preserve a constructive relationship and dialogue based on shared values, namely democracy, a State of Laws and respect for Human Rights.  The M.E.P.s stressed the strategic role played by Turkey both strategically and geographically and call for the strengthening of political dialogue with the European Union and Turkey regarding the choices and objectives of foreign policy. They deplore the fact that Turkey’s alignment with the declarations on foreign policy and shared security was weak during 2012 and urge Turkey to develop its foreign policy in the context of dialogue and co-ordination with the European Union.

The Copenhagen Criteria: Parliament supports the Commission in its new approach, which consists of opening Chapter 23, dealing with the judicial apparatus and fundamental rights, as well as Chapter 24 on Justice, freedom and security at an early stage in the negotiation process and of closing the above chapters at the very end of it.

In consequence, it calls on the Council for renewed efforts with a view too opening these chapters.

Parliament congratulates the Commission for Constitutional Consultation for its commitment in favour of a new Constitution and for the process of consultation of civil society as a whole but remains concerned by the visibly slow progress achieved by the Commission so far. It urges the Commission to pursue its work and to look into such fundamental issues as:

i) the separation of powers and a suitable system for balancing powers

ii) relations between the State, society and religion

iii) a system of governance that includes guaranteeing fundamental rights of all the citizens,  and finally

iv) an inclusive concept of citizenship.

The resolution stresses the fact that the reform of the judicial system is essential for strengthening democracy and recalls that freedom of expression and pluralism of the media, including Internet, are at the heart of European values. It stresses, moreover, the necessity of achieving greater progress regarding labour laws and trade union rights.

The MEPs welcome the efforts undertaken by Turkey at all levels in the fight against “honour crimes”, domestic violence and the phenomena of forces marriages and of minors being promised in marriage. It remains, however, concerned by the fact that, despite these efforts, violence against women continues to be regularly perpetrated. It also points out that the draft law on the struggle against discrimination does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

Parliament welcomes the direct political dialogue that the Turkish Government has engaged with Abdullah Ocalan and urges both parties, as soon as possible, to convert these discussions into structured negotiations capable of leading to a historic agreement to settle the Kurdish conflict in a peaceful and democratic manner. It condemns the acts of terrorist violence perpetrated by the PKK and calls on all member states to strengthen cooperation with Turkey and Europol in the struggle against terrorism and organised crime as a source of financing terrorism

Regarding developing good neighbour relations. The MEPs think that Turkey has lost an important opportunity for starting a process leading to the normalising of relations with Cyprus during the Cypriot Presidency of the European Union Council. Indeed, progress towards normalisation of relations between Turkey and Cyprus are urgently needed to give a fresh impetus to the negotiations for Turkey’s membership. This resolution urges the Turkish government to ratify the UN Convention on maritime Law, signed by the European Union, while recalling the full legitimacy of the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus.

Progress in EU-Turkey cooperation. Parliament deplores Turkey’s refusal to fulfil its obligations to apply to member States as a whole the additional protocol of agreement of association in a full and non-discriminatory manner. It recalls that this refusal continues to have deep repercussions on the negotiations.

The resolution welcomes Turkey’s commitment alongside the democratic forces in Syria as well as the humanitarian aid supplied to the growing number of Syrians who are fleeing their country. It asks the Commission, the member States and the international community to continue to support Turkey in its efforts to manager the humanitarian dimension that is increasingly present in the Syrian crisis. Over and above the humanitarian aid, the MEPs consider that the EU and Turkey should strive to arrive at a common strategic vision so as to exert a greater leverage effect in order to bring an end to this crisis from which Syria is suffering.

Finally, given Turkey’s strategic role and its considerable renewable energy resources, the MEPs call for engaging in thought on the importance of opening negotiations on Chapter 15 regarding fuel and power so as to deepen the strategic dialogue between the European Union and Turkey in the field of energy.


A judge of the Kurdish town of Mariwan, an average town (100,000 inhabitants) in province of Iranian Kurdistan, has sparked off an international campaign on Internet after passing an unusual sentence in the form of “public humiliation”. 

On 15 April, an offender found guilty of minor offences was paraded round the town under police guard disguised with the red chador worn by women in Mariwan.

The town immediately reacted against the judge and the Kurdish Women’s Association of Mariwan demonstrated against the contemptuous and sexist character of the sentence that made the feminine gender a sign of humiliation and inferiority — and of Kurdish women in particular since the clothes he was forced to wear are traditional dress. The police intervened brutally to disperse the hundreds of demonstrators and, according to witnesses, several of the women were seriously injured.

However, the broadcasting on the web of a video showing the police parading the sentenced man shown wearing a chador aroused indignation well beyond Meriwan and even Iran and became, in the course of a few days an international “buzz”. This gave rise to a campaign started, this time, by male Kurds and called “Kurd Men for Equality”.  An Iranian Kurd, Massoud Fatihpour, first of all had his photo taken wearing women’s clothes and holding up a banner saying “Being a woman id not a way to humiliate or punish anyone”. Hundreds of others followed suite and posed similarly dressed with the same banner, on their Facebook pages and with other similar statements.

Probably neither the judge nor the Mariwan feminists had foreseen the extent taken by this campaign, which soon went well beyond Kurdish circles. In a matter of days nearly 10,000 photos had been published on the Facebook page of “Kurd Men for Equaity” and Kurds were soon joined by men from all countries and of all origins having themselves photographed in women’s clothes and waving the same message.

At the same time, while all demonstrations in the Kurdish regions of Iran were being severely repressed by the authorities, the appearance in public of young Kurds wearing women’s clothes were taking place in several of Kurdistan’s town as proven by pictures they sent onto the social networks.

A similar campaign had already occurred in 2009, when an Iranian student, Majid Tavakoli, one of the leaders of the Green Revolution, arrested on 7 December, was photographed attired by the Pasdaran in a woman’s veil in an attempt to ridicule him. The Guardians of the Revolution accused him of trying to escape disguised as a women — which was denied by those who had witnessed his arrest.

The photo had been published by the pro-government Fars Press news agency, which drew a parallel with the case of Banisadr, the first President of the Islamic Republic, who had also been accused of having fled in women’s clothes. However, far from discrediting Tavakoli the picture was immediately diverted from its original aim by hundreds of Iranians throughout the world, having themselves photographed on their Facebook pager or on Twitter filmed in videos broadcast on You Tube wearing chadors and with the message “We are all Majids”. There were a number of well known public figures among them, like Hamid Dabashi, a Professor at Columbia University or Ahmad Batebi, the leader of the 1999 student revolts, who now lives in the United States. Finally pictures of Khamenei and Ahmedinjad were also circulated wearing the same chador.

The specific factor of the Kurd Men for Equality campaign is its protest against the contempt with which women are treated in the Iranian Republic — but also against its treatment of ethnic minorities, including the Kurds, who are especially repressed, as well as the Baluchis and the Arabs of Khuzistan. The Iranian government understood this action, describing it as “ridiculous” and conducted by “separatists under the pretext of defending Kurdish women”.

The coming Presidential elections in Iran will take place on 14 July. The candidates must register for there candidature to be examined a approved by the Council of Guardians of the Constitution. In defiance, about thirty Iranian women are standing as candidates and have registered with the Ministry of the Interior, even though the Islamic Republic does not allow women to stand for the Presidency.


The ethno-musicologist, Estelle Amy de la Bretèque, who is a specialist in the Yezidis of Armenia, has just brought out a work “Paroles mélodisées. Récits épiques et lamentations chez les yézidi” (Melodic speech: Yezidi epic tales and lamentations). This is published by Garnier Classique, and is based on her ethnological doctoral thesis presented at the University of Paris-Ouest in November 2010. 

“This work covers a mode of enunciation in which the normal intonation of speech is replaced by melodic elaborations. Amongst the Kurdish-speakers of Armenia, and especially the Yezidis, speech this rendered melodically is always linked with the evocation of nostalgia, of exile, of self-sacrifice and of heroism. It appears in some ritual contexts, in the epic cantos or simply in the course of a phase in everyday conversations. Basing herself on unpublished field studies, available on line on the French Ethno-musicological Society’s web site, the author shows that melodic speech plays a central role for the Yezidis in building up an ideal of life linking the living to those absent or deceased”.

According to Estelle Amy de la Bretèque “the melodic speech of the Yezidis of Armenia covers a particular register of the use of sound that the Yezidis call “speech on” (kilamê ser) and that they place at the border of music and language. It is, in the first instance, a way of making speech melodic to express sad feelings in ritual contexts (such as funerals) on in everyday conversations. The term is also applied to oboe playing. This mode of enunciation is a subject of special interest within the community and although the Yezidis do not consider it as “musical”, this “kilamê ser” can frequently be found recorded on disks and cassettes in the local market.

The analysis of the formal and performance characteristics of “kilamê ser” enables one to show howthis particular use of speech builds an area of sharing of emotions. At heart, the Yezidi concepts of exile are linked to those of sacrifice, of heroism and mourning. Over and above the individual catharsis, this melodic speech is a pivot whereby absence becomes presence and the dead are integrated with life”.

A presentation/discussion of the book and the work will take place at the Kurdish Institute in Paris in June by the author.