September 12, 2003

Extra! Extra!

Kurdish Media News has translated a Turkish article (and not very smoothly, I'm afraid, but we can overlook that) on the launch of the first ever Kurdish Yezedi newspaper, published in Mosul, in northern Iraq. (I wrote about Yezedis here before.)

Kaniya Spi, which began publication two months ago in Mosul, is aimed at all the Kurds living in Mosul and Iraq. Kaniya Spi, which has just published its third issue, is currently published entirely in Arabic. The circulation of the eight-page newspaper is 2,500. General Editor Salim Bashir Sadiq al-Reshdani, noting that the Yezidi culture had been threatened with disappearing entirely under the realm of Saddam Husayn, said that "Our goal is to make Yezidi history, culture, and philosophy, which is one of the oldest beliefs in the world, known to everyone, and particularly to Yezidis themselves." Al-Reshdani, noting that they publish the newspaper with a total staff of nine people, said that "We wanted to publish the paper in Kurdish. But since the reading language of Iraq and of the Yezidi people is Arabic, we decided to publish solely in Arabic at first. But in the period ahead, we are going to include articles in both Kurdish and English."

I've read that the Yezedis trace their beliefs back to the ancient Medes, although this article by Mehrdad R. Izady suggests a more ancient source:

As early as 2000 BC, the vanguards of the Indo-European speaking tribal immigrants, such as the Hittites and Mittanis, had arrived in southwestern Asia. While the Hittites only marginally affected the mountain communities in Kurdistan, the Mittanis settled in Kurdistan and influenced the natives in several fields worthy of note, in particular the introduction of knotted rug weaving. Even rug designs introduced by the Mittanis and recognizable in Assyrian floor carvings remain the hallmark of Kurdish rugs and kelims. The modern minakhani and chwarsuch styles are basically the same as those the Assyrians depicted nearly 3000 years ago.

The Mittanis seem to have been an Indic, and not an Iranic group of people. Their pantheon, which includes names like Indra, Varuna, Suriya, Nasatya, is typically Indic. The Mittanis could have introduced during this early period some of the Indic tradition that appears to be manifest in the Kurdish religion of Yazdanism.

Izady goes on to say that Yazdanism is still practiced as Alevism, Yezidism and Yarsanism. (Incidentally, it appears that Izady's book, The Kurds: A Concise Handbook, seems to be unavailable).

Maybe we should wait for the English language edition of Kaniya Spi. The editor, Salim Bashir Sadiq al-Reshdani, describes the typical issue:

"The first page has information on the Yezidis and general news, page 2 is formed from a topic out of Yezidi history, and one on women, page 3 deals with the responsibility of Yezidi people within society and their customs, and page 4 covers important achievements by Yezidis. Page 5 deals with culture and art, page 6 with the current status of Yezidis and things being asked of Yezidis, page 7 focuses on providing information on locations and sports, and page 8 covers scholarly evaluations of Yezidi worship."

"Hundreds of submissions are coming in."

How do I get home delivery?

And of course, it's worth remembering why this paper can now be published in Mosul...

Posted by Ideofact at September 12, 2003 11:37 PM