Friday, May 21, 2010

Good Kurds, Bad Kurds: No Friends But The Mountains (2000)

Kevin McKiernan directs this passionate account about the plight of the Kurds, the world's largest minority without a nation. The film opens with McKiernan shopping around his painstakingly researched findings to ABC's Nightline and other news telecasts only to meet complete indifference. From there, he describes the Gunduz family, an exiled Kurdish family. The film cuts between grisly footage from the front lines of Turkey's bloody Kurdish repression to the struggles of Gunduz patriarch Kani, who works as a congressional lobbyist. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide
Good Kurds, Bad Kurds: No Friends But The Mountains (2000)

It covers some interesting angles about the two brothers that their status regarding immigration is in peril including the one brother has to pay back student loans that he fraudulently obtained with a false ID. The courts set the bail at one time to the ridiculous amount of $250,000.

Dust Cover:
Filmaker and acclaimed freelance journalist Kevin McKiernan poses this question at the outset of this stirring, provocative film shot in part by legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler. It's all in how you define "good" and "bad". "Good Kurds" are those in Iraq: they're Saddam Hussein's victims, whom we want to help. "Bad Kurds" are those waging an armed insurrection against Turkey, an American ally: they're at the receiving end of U.S. weaponry.

McKiernan went to northern Iraq to cover the uprising against Saddam Hussein. Just a few miles away, no one was covering the hidden war in Turkey. McKiernan determined he would report the story independently.

Good Kurds, Bad Kurds brings sharp clarity to a complicated history, while providing disturbing insight into immigration practices and U.S. foreign policy.

While a good introduction to the duopoly of how the US views the PKK, it left out a lot of the history of the PKK and how it has transitioned to more moderate positions. It also did not note any actions that the PKK and other Kurdish groups are doing in Iran, and they would also be defined as the "good Kurds".

Another aspect that I have studied before is how Democracy Now with Amy Goodman also defines in subtle ways the dichotomy of views of the Kurds/PKK being good or bad depending on who they oppose. Throughout the 90s and into 2000 Goodman reported a bias in presenting them based on what state they were acting against. It was like taking the US State Department typography of the ideologies and transposing them 180 degrees. Amy Goodman, et al was not opposing for the fact of being in the right but just opposing all US positions irregardless of facts and circumstances.

Lastly, the film did not note the ties between the Kurds and Israel. The film notes that the Kurds feel that if the Jewish/Palestinian issues are resolved then the world would be more responsive to the requests of the Kurds. These ties also make them "Bad Kurds" in the eyes of Amy Goodman and her ilk.

For presenting a side of the conflicts in Iraq/Turkey rarely discussed this was an excellent film. The film was shot and produced before 9-11 and as such it presents a certain historical picture in time. I am sure he would have produced a much different documentary now.

I see as late as September 2006 Kani "Xulam's" status was still undecided in the USA...
US: Kani Xulam could face deportation 9.2.2006 By Don M. Burrows| The people behind the persecution

Kani Xulam on Turkish Kurdish relations

American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN)

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