PDKI Representative Participated in ASMEA Annual Conference
Arash Saleh, representative of PDKI to the United States, participated in the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) on October 29–31 in Washington, DC. Along with other Kurdish political figures and academics, Mar. Saleh highlighted the role of the Kurdish nation in the Middle East as an important factor in the struggle for democracy, tolerance, and lasting stability.
In his speech, Arash Saleh addressed the factors that reproduce authoritarian government and instability in the Middle East. He attributed both tyranny and instability to the suppression of national, ethnic and religious diversity in the states and societies of the region.
“In many Middle Eastern states,” Mr. Saleh said, “one ethnic, religious or sectarian group dominates state institutions and society, while other communities are suppressed.” The root cause of this problem, he said, is in the idea of “one nation, one language, and one culture” in the multiethnic, multicultural, and multinational societies of the Middle East. It is this suppression of diversity, the PDKI representative argued, which reproduces tyranny and perpetuates instability.
“As long as ruling political elites in the Middle East deny national, ethnic and religious diversity, they will have to resort to suppression and violence to maintain the status quo,” Mr. Saleh stressed.
PDKI believes that neither democracy nor stability will be in reach if the ruling elites in the Middle East, as well as the international community, do not consider the will of all the national, ethnic and religious communities who have been oppressed for decades or, in some cases, centuries.
To this end, Mr. Saleh added, two goals must be realized. First, authoritarian regimes must be changed and replaced with democratic and inclusive governments. Second, the right to self-determination of peoples must be recognized to pave the way for just solutions of longstanding conflicts, as well as to ensure peaceful coexistence among the various communities of the Middle Eastern countries.
“The only way out of the vicious cycle of suppression, violence, dictatorship and recurring wars in our region is to embrace democracy, toleration of diversity, protection of minority rights, and gender quality,” Mr. Saleh concluded.