Not seen by most of the wider world, Iraq’s Kurdish population is quickly modernizing and becoming one of the most advanced societies in the Middle East. For years, the autonomous Kurds have taken responsibility for their own future and have built a democratic and pro-American enclave. In the last five years, while the rest of Iraq has been mired in violence, the Kurds have been protecting Christians and forging ties with Israel. Much of their progress can be seen openly:
In Kurdistan, signs depicting civil society organizations are now commonplace. In Amadiya, a town of about 6,000, offices promoting women’s liberties, support groups for political prisoners and the Kurdistan Communist Party can be found all along a single street. The word “Kurdistan” appears everywhere and nationalism has blossomed in light of newfound freedoms.
So the Kurdish version of the NOW is a success? Support groups for political prisoners and communists? How many Middle Eastern nations (other than Israel) can boast this? Even these seemingly inconsequential advancements show how modernized the Kurds have already become. In many ways, they are exactly what we wanted from all of Iraq when we invaded. Fortunately enough, at least a quarter of Iraq’s people chose modern pluralism.