A Long Way From Home

The Kurdish struggle has the world’s attention, briefly, but not its sympathy

Being Kurdish in a Hostile World starts with the chapter “The Wrong Place” and 300 pages later ends with “An Uncertain Future.” The memoir-cum-history tells the story of a Kurdish-Canadian journalist’s life against a detailed account of the Kurdish struggle in Iraq over three decades. In doing so, it frames the story of every Kurd who is born “the wrong” ethnicity, never experiencing more than a short-lived sense of security or freedom in his or her lifetime. It is Ayub Nuri’s story, and it is mine, and it is the story of millions.

The plight of the Kurds, a distinct and stateless ethnic group scattered throughout Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria, is tragic even by the Middle East’s exceptional standards. The underdogs in a turbulent region, the Kurds have suffered both at the hands of the states that have dominated them, often with brutal violence, and from western neglect and betrayal. Even...