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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Kurds: The People Without a Friend


The Miracle of the Kurds: A Remarkable Story of Hope Reborn in Northern Iraq by Stephen Mansfield is a dream unfolding before the very eyes of the world. Long neglected, despised and systematically annihilated by Saddam Hussein's regime while the world looked the other way, the Kurds numbering approximately thirty million and inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan which spans adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey are the largest people group in the world without a homeland of their own.

With Masoud Barzani as the President of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, his son Masrour Barzani as the Kurdish intelligence chief and Najat Ali Saleh as commander of the Kurdish army, things are certainly looking bright for the Kurdish people. However, the biggest stumbling block to the attainment of independence is the policy of One Iraq pursued by the United States government. Yet, the Kurdish people are America's staunchest ally in the region. It may be pertinent to point out that no American soldier was killed in the Kurdish region between 2003, when it invaded Iraq, and 2011, when it pulled out of the country. Very recently in August when the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) captured swathes of land and made huge incursion into the Kurdish region, 5 top Kurdish commanders were relieved of their posts and detained for interrogation. The captured town and villages were retaken and the ISIS fighters were driven back. Kurdish soldiers are known as peshmerga or "those who face death."

New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield's newest book focuses on the Kurdish people and their resilience which has taken them to a crossroad in their long struggle for independence and survival. Written along the line of his earlier insightful and perceptive books like The Faith Of George W. Bush, The Faith of Barack Obama and Killing Jesus: The Hidden Drama Behind the World's Most Famous Execution, The Miracle of the Kurds is a compelling book which sheds much light on this group of people who called themselves "the people without a friend." Mansfield has also painted a fascinating portrait of Mullah Mustafa Barzani, Masoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani.

The nine-chapter book ends with an interesting appendix- The Wisdom of the Kurds: 100 Proverbs. Here are several of them which will make you think:
- In a flat country, a hillock thinks itself a mountain.
- Those away from the battlefield boasts about their swords.
- A thief not caught becomes a king.
- Those who do not go to war roar like a lion.
- One gives twice who gives quickly.
- No matter where you go, your destiny follows you.
- A good companion shortens the longest road.
- Loneliness is a nest for the thoughts.
- God finds a low branch for the bird that cannot fly.
- A visitor comes with ten blessings, eats one and leaves nine.
- Part with your head but not with your secret.
- If skill could be gained by watching, every dog would become a butcher.
- The devil tempts all, but the idle man tempts the devil.
- Ability has no school.
Stephen Mansfield is a writer and speaker best known for his groundbreaking books on the role of religion in history, leadership, and modern culture. He first came to international attention with The Faith of George W. Bush, the New York Times bestseller that influenced Oliver Stone’s film, W. His book The Faith of Barack Obama was another international bestseller. He has written celebrated biographies of Booker T. Washington, George Whitefield, Winston Churchill, and Abraham Lincoln, among others. Stephen speaks around the world on topics of faith, leadership, and culture. He is also the founder of two firms: The Mansfield Group (MansfieldGroup.com) and Chartwell Literary Group (ChartwellLiterary.com). He lives in Nashville and in Washington, DC, with his wife, Beverly, who is an award-winning songwriter and producer.

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