About the Bulletin

Fritillaria Kurdica. Bulletin of Kurdish Studies


Within the scope of our project we have started to publish an e-magazine devoted to Kurdish studies and our research. At the moment the magazine is in fact a modest bulletin but we hope to develop it in the future as it will be a valuable platform for East - West thought exchange on the ground of Kurdish studies. That is why we plan to publish it in other languages starting with English, Polish, Kurdish, Turkish and Russian. We strongly believe that in our multilingual postcolonial world English cannot be the decisive criteria for being recognized as a specialist on some topic, especially if you consider the world of Kurdish language in which knowledge is much more important than English in this case. We cannot imagine a specialist on Poland or France without fluent knowledge of it’s native languages, so there is not much difference with the Kurds and our wish to study them. However, in spite of the “ good intention” we are of course restricted by our knowledge of only a few languages. Initially we can publish the e-magazine in the above mentioned languages.


The quaterly e-magazine entitled Fritillaria Kurdica. Bulletin of Kurdish Studies seems at first a rather puzzling idea. However it is motivated by the postcolonial perspective applied by our research team. Fritillaria kurdica (the full name: Fritillaria crassifolia subsp. kurdica) is the name of the flower growing in the territory which to considerable extent corresponds with the territory of Kurdistan. The Latin name comes from the word fritillus which means dice, as the flower resembles one. The Kurdish names are multiple depending on the region: Taca Mirê, şilêr, gulnixûn, gulsernixûn. In European knowledge the flower was present in XIX century as described by Boissier from specimens collected by Wilhelm Noë near Lake Van in the late 1840’s. Wilhelm Noë (1798-1829) was an Austrian traveller and botanist who settled in Istanbul in 1844 where he was given the position of the director of the Botanic Garden of the Êcole Impériale de Médicine de Galata Serai. Fritillaria kurdica is found in south-easternTurkey, Azerbaijan, north-western Iran and northern Iraq. It generally grows in open steppe and earthy, stony hills and rock ledges, usually on north-facing slopes, at 1500¬–3500m. Also other collections of the flower (1829) by the Hungarian botanist Johann Nepomuk Szowits have become known to us.


The flower can be considered one of the best symbols of the Western colonial conqueror. It’s existence is connected with “the discovery” effected by Westerners although the plant must have been very well known to Kurdish herbalists and shepherds under the much more graceful name than it was given. The flower has been called by a bombastic name suiting Western needs, interest and expectations. Moreover, Fritillaria recalls the names of multiple Western journals devoted to the oriental studies that tried to outdo one another in constructing new theories built on the ignorance those they were devoted to. Nevertheless, the flower remains a subtle flower that can still delight us especially in many photographs found on the Internet. Now we know the Kurdish name, so, it has a chance to win human hearts again in quite a new context.


Unexpectedly, the Latin name, although it was invented according to Western classification, it still reveals today a fragment of almost lost history. Due to the actions of a few Middle Eastern states’ the history of the Kurds and their presence in the territory of Kurdistan has been deliberately forgotten. However, the Latin name Fritilaria Kurdica invented in the mid of XIX century by some Western botanists reveals the true identity of people living there. Yet we cannot consider Western botanists the sympathizers with the Kurdish national movement or identity as there was not a widespread idea of it at that time and they were botanist not humanists or politicians. They called it by this name being just aware of people who surrounded them. Today this small flower of red, yellow and green colours, which covers the territory of Kurdistan can be the stalwart symbol of Kurdish hopes and their struggle for rights and freedom.


Using this name for the name of our Journal we create a metaphor. In postcolonial reality we want to stress that there is still something to be found in the western heritage of research although it has been much discredited for the last years. We cannot and we do not want to forget the sad past relationship but we believe it can be built on new ground where even mistakes can be used in the name of good. The name of Fritillaria Kurdica is a good reason to be hopeful regarding that. The word dice and the Polish name of the flower which is “the Kurdish chessboard” also seem very meaningful for the bulletin devoted to such a complicated topic as the Kurdish issue. Certainly, it demands not only high standards of thought but luck too.


However, the bombastic name of Fritilaria Kurdica has also a very ironic meaning to us. Looking at Kurdish studies from the postcolonial perspective it is still worth thinking what it really means to research the Kurdish topic in our western institutes and universities. Is our knowledge and research engaged only to find the ‘Truth’ which can be somehow helpful to people living in Kurdistan? Or maybe it is only engaged in building our own careers and keeping warm and safe positions at our universities? I really do not intend to answer those questions. I have no right to do it. But I want to declare the lough and irony to be the guiding principle in the attitude toward ourselves. A good deal of the Kurdish writer Hesene Mete’s irony would be the best method to apply in our strange world of still present deep precipices between knowledge and ignorance, indifference and engagement. Is it not a blunder or the lack of modesty to build the sophisticated tower of Babel of modern knowledge in the reality where we still fail to meet elementary education needs for so many children not only in Kurdistan? That is why we declare Fritilaria Kurdica to be the journal where knowledge is not the self confident god to be praised, but rather the warm and open Kurdish dȋwanxane where everybody is welcomed. The only demand is the respect for people and the quality and reliability of the work proposed.


I want to thank Eyübovi Sinanovi Kɪran for his help in studing the flower specific and names.


About the flower :http://www.fritillariaicones.com/icones/kurdica.html