A war of Kurdish liberation or war against terrorism? Filmmaker and acclaimed freelance journalist Kevin McKiernan poses this question at the outset of this stirring, provocative film.
Nine years in the making, Good Kurds, Bad Kurds delves deeply into the U.S.’s complicity in a human rights disaster, indicting the mainstream news outlets for keeping quiet and perpetuating the violence. Shot in part by three-time Academy Award winner Haskell Wexler, the film travels from idyllic Santa Barbara, California, home to a small Kurdish refugee community, to Washington, D.C, where an activist struggles to gain the attention of lawmakers and the media and to fight his deportation, then to Turkey, where the anti-Kurd campaign continues. Good Kurds, Bad Kurds brings sharp clarity to the complicated history of the Kurds, the largest ethnic group in the world without its own state, while providing disturbing insight into U.S. immigration practices and foreign policy. Good Kurds, Bad Kurds was broadcast on PBS; the film won ten documentary awards in film festivals.
Good Kurds, Bad Kurds is more than just a good story. The film is also a key to understanding how the once forgotten Kurds, a population of 35 million who spill across the borders of Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran, are emerging as a potential game changer in the troubled Middle East. The Kurds, who represent the largest ethnic minority in both Syria and Iraq, make headlines today as they battle foreign jihadists. But they have other, older enemies, as well. In Syria, they oppose the Syrian government and align themselves with rebels in neighboring Turkey, where Kurds have fought the U.S.-supported army for 30 years.
Good Kurds, Bad Kurds provides an eye-witness account of the long war in Turkey and includes the filmmaker’s exclusive interview with Abdullah Ocalan, the controversial founder of the Kurdish uprising. Ocalan, who has been imprisoned for 15 years, is considered a terrorist by U.S. officials. But Turkey’s current negotiations with the fiery rebel now hold a key to peace with restive Kurds in all four countries: Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran.
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