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MOTHER TONGUE

Numerous regimes have attacked the Kurdish language over the past century. In the 1970s, the Iraqi government displaced Kurds to the Arab areas in the south of the country, but after the 1991 uprising and the unsung implementation of the no-fly zone, Kurds were able to return. They started rebuilding the local infrastructure, economy, and educational system, and for the first time in decades, Iraqi Kurds could study in their mother tongue. The curriculum was changed from Arabic to Kurdish, but the Swedish model of education could not be correctly implemented due to a large number of students in each classroom. With 40% of all the students failing to pass their classes and a diminishing number of teachers, beating is often used as a form of punishment within the class.

The Kurdish language has been at the forefront of the Kurdish rights movement in Turkey. In the 1980s, Kurdish books, newspapers, and even songs were illegal. Recently, the Turkish government has eased these laws; however, Kurdish is still not recognized as an official language, meaning all directions and public education must be solely in Turkish. Turkey’s Kurds continue to fight for legal and educational rights in their mother tongue.