Let’s talk about the Peshmerga. Carlsberg don’t do armies, which is probably a great thing, but if they did, I like to think they’d be like the Peshmerga. Given that I am not a fan of the armed forces, and armed combat in general (since I firmly believe it has no place in a modern world, and if we all disarmed we’d be the happier for it), it’s quite a big deal for me to say that the Peshmerga are a fighting force I like. Let me tell you more about them.
The Peshmerga are basically the armed wing of the Kurdish people. You may have heard of them, since they are in the news every few years, each time that they try to push for more independence. They want independence because a while back while the “West” was screwing up the Middle-East region in general, they plonked whacking great borders right through the middle of Kurdish land, rather than doing the sensible thing and making it into a country in it’s own right.
This resulted in a dispersed Kurdish population who were marginalised in each of the countries they found themselves in – Kurds in Turkey are afforded reasonable rights as citizens, but have been consistently oppressed including the mystery killings in the mid-90s where many important Kurdish figures were killed. In Iraq, the Kurds have routinely been victims of genocidal crimes, and in Syria, they are simply declared to not exist (even though they make up the biggest ethnic minority in the country). Iran is the only country of the four where Kurds are treated as equal citizens, and though the Iranian government is against a separate Kurdish state, they do have many rights to self-determination and governance.
So, the Kurds have had a pretty cruddy time of it since the West screwed up their patch. Let’s look some more at the Peshmerga. As I already mentioned, they are the armed force of the Kurdish people, and in fact any Kurd who is willing to fight for their rights is a Peshmerga, not just the ones doing the actual fighting with the guns and etc. They are an inclusive force, and allow women to fight alongside their male counterparts, and they are currently vital in the conflict with ISIS in Iraq.
Which comes round to why I love them so much. In a world where there is a huge amount of injustice, and a huge amount of side-taking, the Kurds have mostly come off pretty badly. They have spent a century fighting oppressors and dealing with acts of terror against them on a genocidal scale. Now, they are being threatened by everyone’s favourite enemy of the common good, ISIS, and it would be fair to assume that they would pretty-much just try and dodge the action. But no. The Peshmerga are currently one of the best defenses which the Iraqi people have against ISIS, because they are being the bigger guy, and protecting EVERYONE.
If ever there was a group with a legitimate reason to tell the rest of the world to sod off, it’s the Kurds, but they have stepped up and are defending huge numbers of people. Carlsberg don’t do armies, but if they did you’re damn sure that they’d be the Peshmerga.