On Tuesday, Kurdish father Daban living in Iraqi Kurdistan named his newborn son “Referendum” in honor of his people’s independence referendum vote slated for September 25.
“We named him Referendum to honor the important step we are taking to achieve our rights,” the young father said as he cradled his newborn son, in a video released by news channel Kurdistan 24. “The referendum on independence for Kurdistan is to benefit us all, as citizens, not just one person or political party.”
Daban and his family live in the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, an autonomous region of the troubled Middle Eastern nation currently seeking full independence. (His last name has been omitted to protect his family’s privacy.) “I am excited that the September 25 vote is fast approaching,” he said.
Translated from a Kurdish dialect, the infant’s name Gishtpirsi means “asking the public” — the same moniker signifying the popular vote, currently being discussed in headlines and social media posts worldwide by Kurdish families, activists and leaders.
The Kurds, who number approximately 35 million worldwide, are the largest people group on earth without a homeland. Thus far, U.S. officials have sent mixed signals as to America’s support (or lack thereof) of the independence effort. Since 1991, more than 25 nations have exercised self-determination and come into being.
In an interview published Monday by The Federalist, author Stephen Mansfield summed up why many in the U.S. support the Kurdish people.
“The main reason that most Americans’ minds and hearts are pro-Kurds is there is a century of delayed promises to these people. They have proven themselves, they have governed themselves, and are due self-determination,” he said.
Mansfield ticked off other reasons further in the article, stating, “They are moderate religiously, they are going to be good Western trading partners, and they are going to hold in check the extremism of the region.” In 2014, Mansfield wrote a book entitled The Miracle of the Kurds and has continued to advocate for them ever since.
“I’ll make a little bit of a prediction here: you’re going to see at least 80 percent of the Kurdish-Iraqi citizens voting for independence on September 25,” he concluded.
“Eighty percent would be stunning and would be a basis to approach the United Nations for the process of nationhood to begin.”
A freelance writer and editor,Josh M. Shepherd has served on staff at The Heritage Foundation, Focus on the Family, Bound4LIFE International, and two Congressional offices. His articles have appeared in media outlets including The Federalist, The Daily Signal, Charisma News, Boundless, The Stream, and Christian Headlines, where he serves as a contributor. He earned a degree in Business Marketing from the University of Colorado. Josh and his wife live in the Washington D.C. area.
Photo caption: A young Kurdish boy waves the Kurdistan flag at a March 19 independence rally in Erbil, in the Kirkuk province of Iraqi Kurdistan.
Photo: Mustafa Khayat / via Flickr
Publication date: September 8, 2017