Free Press in Kurdistan, Final Act

Twice since December I've posted on the subject of northern Iraq's struggle to build a real democracy ... and a free press. This week Worldpress.org posted my latest (and probably last) take on the subject:During the struggle against Saddam Hussein's regime, Kurdish peshmerga fighters sought refuge in the mountains surrounding the northern Iraqi cities of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah. From here the peshmerga launched raids against Iraqi forces. Often accompanying them were the guerilla propagandists of the dominant Kurdish political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or K.D.P., and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or P.U.K.Plying the countryside with crude newsletters, the propagandists, or "mountain journalists," were a decisive force in rallying Kurds to the insurgent parties. "The Kurdish people at that time was confronting a giant tyrant," says former mountain journalist Dilshad Mustafa, now editor-in-chief of Khabat, a K.D.P.-funded newspaper in Erbil. The journalists' goal, Mustafa says, was "to instigate [the Kurdish people] to do their national duty" to join them in the mountains resisting the government.A decade after the Kurds won their fight for autonomy, mountain journalism is no more. The guerillas are now family men with nine-to-five jobs in Kurdistan's burgeoning economy. Their officers are politicians. And the mountain journalists have become the editors and reporters of the region's expanding media.Read the entire article here.-- David Axe

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