Kurdish protests, a case of immigrant frustration - GulfToday

Kurdish protests, a case of immigrant frustration

A member of Paris’ Kurdish community waves the Kurdish communist flags next to a barricade on fire at the crime scene where a shooting took place in Paris. AP

A member of Paris’ Kurdish community waves the Kurdish communist flags next to a barricade on fire at the crime scene where a shooting took place in Paris. AP

The surprise attack by a gunman who killed three persons at the Kurdish cultural centre in Paris has triggered protests by the Kurds in the 10th district of Paris and there was an outbreak of violence. The Kurds in the French capital were preparing to observe the 10th anniversary of the killing of three women in 2013 when fresh killings of three more persons took place. The police have taken the 69-year-old gunman into custody, who had been recently released from detention, and it is believed that the motive for the attack was racism.

The Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F) organised the protest on Saturday. Berivan Firat, spokesperson of CDK-F, said, “We are not being protected at all. In 10 years six Kurdish activists have been killed in the heart of Paris in broad daylight.”

She also said that the protestors turned violent when passers-by in a car waved a Turkish flag and made a provocative gesture. It is a fact that there is a clash between Kurdish dissidents and the Turkish government, but there is no evidence as yet whether there is any linkage between the killing of the three Kurds on Friday and of three women 10 years earlier and the battle of Kurdish dissidents in Turkey.

The sectarian clashes outside the country of origin have not been common up till now, and it would be difficult for host countries to control the clashes between immigrant communities. Some months back, the clash between Indian and Pakistani groups in Leicester in the aftermath of a cricket match between the two countries became a key issue in Britain. And it led British Home Secretary Suella Braverman blamed it all on uncontrolled migration. There was, of course, sharp reaction to Braverman’s cavalier remarks. But the shootout at the Kurdish cultural centre in Paris raises serious concerns about the law and order situation as well as about the simmering tensions between the different immigrant communities. The clash between the Moroccan and French football fans after France defeated Morocco in the recent football World Cup in Doha has raised questions about immigrants and their integration with the society of the host country.

It is quite clear that the immigrants in Europe – Turks in Germany, Moroccans, Tunisians and Algerians in France, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in Great Britain are the necessary part of the society and economy of these countries. The German, French and English economies derive much benefit from the immigrant population. The attempt to absorb them in the local society poses a challenge because of the inherent racism of European society, and this leads to simmering tension between the host community and the guest community. European governments have been generally sensitive to the needs of the immigrants and they have been provided legal safeguards. But ultimately, social harmony is dependent not just on laws but on inter-relations of the different ethnic and religious communities. There are of course no tidy answers to the problem, and there has to be an effort on the part of all communities as well as governments to smoothen relations.

It would be wrong to judge the immigrants harshly on the issue. They may have moved into the European country in quest of employment, security and a better standard of life, but the host country allowed them in because the immigrants fulfilled a necessary economic function. It does not mean that the immigrants can fight their own battles in a foreign country. But the frustrations of the immigrants need to be addressed in a positive way so that they do not vent their suppressed anger on the streets of the host country.

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