Good Kurds, Bad Kurds Film Reviews

Los Angeles Times - Nov. 29, 2001

Engrossing "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds"

By Lee Margulies, Times Staff Writer

After nearly two years on the film festival circuit, where it won many prizes, "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds" finally gets a national broadcast on PBS tonight (8 p.m., KCET).

That it's taken so long can be no surprise to Kevin McKiernan, the documentary's producer, director, writer and narrator. Part of what the program covers is the reluctance of  the U.S. media throughout most of the 1990s to report on the bloody conflict betwen the government of Turkey and its Kurdish population.

Mostly, though, McKiernan lays out an engrossing history of the Kurdish people, their struggle to retain their language and culture in the face of a Turkish government bent on national unity at all costs, and the curious foreign policy of the United States, which encouraged the Kurds of Iraq to rebel aainst Saddam Hussein but provided military weapons to help put down the Kurdish rebellion on the Turkish side of the border.

It's that "sliding scale" of values, as one observer describes it, from which the program takes its title.

Perhaps the delay in getting this to TV will prove beneficial.  The events of Sept. 11 have stimulated Americans' interest to learn more about the Muslim world, and this long-standing clash is certain to take on greater importance as the war on terrorism expands.



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