Monday, September 04, 2006

The Impact of Satellite

….. From the 1950's to the mid part of 1990's cross-border cultural exchange was mostly through limited radio broadcasts (Radio Yerevan-Kurdish section, Radio Bagdad and Tehran Kurdish sections). The fact that literate Kurds have used three different alphabets (Arabic, Latin and Cyrillic) to write in Kurdish, has also kept them isolated from each other, too. The biggest handicap, however, is the lack of a formal education system in Kurdish. Colonizers have imposed the language of the dominant nation and prohibited the teaching of Kurdish. These all have facilitated the deepening of dialect differences and assimilation of Kurds into other languages and cultures.
This bleak scene is rapidly changing though. Now Kurds have at least three satellite TV stations that broadcast mostly in Kurdish (and through online also). These broadcasts (of Roj TV, Kurdistan TV and KurdSat TV) are viewed by most of the Kurds. Not only are they informed about social and cultural developments in different parts of their homeland, but also they get to see the images, lives, conditions of each other; they have a taste of each dialect and can -by comparison- perceive the sounds and shapes of the spoken dialects. Directors such as Bahman Qobadi (from Iranian Kurdistan = see his Turtles Can Fly, Marooned in Iraq) and Salim Hiner (from Iraqi Kurdistan = see Lemon Vodka) have also contributed immensely to Kurds getting to know other Kurds via the films. We wish them long life to create more……

Dr. Burhan Elturan , Indiana University, September 1,2006