An old Arab adage asserts that there is always something good in whatever happens. The secession referendum held in the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq is no exception. It has added to tension in the region, awakened many old demons and diverted attention from more urgent problems. At the same time, it has also provided an opportunity to examine and debate some important issues in a cold and clinical manner as opposed to the inflammatory style current in our neck of the wood.
One such issue concerns the relationship between ethnicity and nationality.
It is important because the Middle East which, is and has always been a mosaic of ethnicities, has arrived at the state of nation-statehood, a la Europeen, through an historic shortcut that bypasses the ethnic conundrum. In Europe, the birthplace of the modern nation-state, the concept of citizenship provided a synthesis between ethnicity and nationality. All European states are multiethnic entities; and, yet, few of them experience ethnic tension the way it affects the emerging nation-states of our region.
The assumption on the part of Iraq’s Kurdish secessionists is that statehood should coincide with ethnicity. However, if that were the case, almost all Middle Eastern states would have to be divided and subdivided, by one account, to create least 18 more states.
Source: for MORE