The more countries that mark the Kurdish genocide, through parliaments, governments, towns, civic groups, school talks and visits the better. There is a handful of memorials in Britain. There should be more. The 25th anniversary of Halabja has helped develop an international momentum that puts the past Kurdish Genocide and the future of the Kurdish people firmly on the map.
Last week Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, called for a ceasefire with the Turkish state. The announcement garnered widespread international coverage largely because the announcement was made to coincide with the Persian/Kurdish New Year and not long after the government announced it was in direct talks with Ocalan himself. But will this lead to a meaningful lasting peace?
The great achievement of post-Saddam Iraq is its transition from a centralised and mainly Sunni dominated one-party rule to federalism and power-sharing between Sunnis, Kurds and Shia, and small minorities. All this is, or should be, governed by the constitution, approved by over 80% of the people in a referendum in 2005.
Erdogan is a shrewd, mature politician, intimately acquainted with this and other tenets of international relations. With him as captain, Turkey re-emerged as a financial behemoth in the region and flexed its political muscle. Yet he failed to foresee the ultimate direction of his ship: a painful choice between Scylla and Charybdis, the two mythical sea monsters.
My enthusiasm is in no way hampered by the fact that I am Muslim, for I do not believe that by choosing to partake in a national festival, I am in any way compromising my personal beliefs. And I am not alone in this opinion. All across the land, posters for halal turkeys in butchers' shops in Muslim-populated areas such as Southall, Leicester and Birmingham stand testament to the significance Muslims place on this day.
Infinitely available, free music also spells the end of most musicians earning a living modest enough to dedicate themselves to music making full-time. No more money to burn. It meant the band I played in for a decade, Stereolab, bowed out nearly four years ago, mainly out of exhaustion from a grinding tour schedule necessitated to drive ever-declining record sales.