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Good Kurds, Bad Kurds: No Friends But the Mountains (2000)

A war of national liberation or a war against terrorism? Film-maker and acclaimed freelance journalist Kevin McKiernan poses this question at the outset of this stirring, provocative film ... See full summary »

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5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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William Hartung ...
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James McGovern ...
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Kevin McKiernan ...
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Abdullah Ocalan ...
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Kani Xulam ...
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Leyla Zana ...
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A war of national liberation or a war against terrorism? Film-maker and acclaimed freelance journalist Kevin McKiernan poses this question at the outset of this stirring, provocative film shot in part by legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler. It's all in how you define "good" and "bad." "Good Kurds" are those in Iraq: they're Saddam Hussein's victims, whom we want to help. "Bad Kurds" are those waging an armed insurrection against Turkey, an American ally: they're at the receiving end of U.S. weaponry. McKiernan went to northern Iraq to cover the revolt against Saddam Hussein. Just a few miles away, no one was covering the hidden war in Turkey. McKiernan determined he would report the story independently. 'Good Kurds, Bad Kurds' brings a sharp clarity to a complex history, while providing disturbing insight into immigration practices and U.S. foreign policy. Written by Maggie Butte

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kurd | iraq | new identity | fascism | fbi | See All (46) »

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Documentary | War

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24 January 2000 (USA)  »

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fascinating story
13 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The worst atrocity in American public schools (at least in my experience) has been that history is that American history is unjustly glorified and anything after 1945 is rarely discussed. As a result, atrocities such as the Turkish oppression of Kurds is not only ignored but unheard of. Everyone knows how horribly the Nazis treated the Jews and they just assume that everyone learned their lesson. So few Americans actually have any idea of the depth of culture and history in the Middle East (or really anywhere else in the world outside of maybe Europe) that allows such events to go unnoticed. The Turkish government outlawed the Kurdish language and no one knows about it! The US government's reaction is typical; they believe oppression of the Kurds is tragic, but Turkey is a key political ally. Anyone who thinks the US has gone to war with Iraq (or any war) just to stop the oppression of a people is hopelessly naive.

As for the video itself, while I think the information presented was fascinating, I think the creator is much better as a reporter than a narrator or a director. The directing seemed kind of silly, and the narrating sounded very amateurish. But in the end, it's a documentary, not a drama.

I recently had the opportunity to see Kani Xulam, who spoke to my political science class on Iraqi politics and found him to be an interesting person with an abundance of information on the topic. I saw him smile a few times, but I think his sadness for the suffering of the Kurds couldn't help but show through.


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