Mobilised diasporas: Kurdish and Berber movements in comparative perspective
Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University
This study is a comparative analysis of the role of diaspora communities in the political and cultural activities of the Kurds and the Berbers (Amazigh) - the two most prominent cases of ethno-national “imagining” among the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s two main “non-dominant” ethnic groups. Berbers and Kurds, however heterogeneous and varied their multiple historical experiences, all operate within the realm of territorial nation-states dominated by different ethnic groups which have been historically hostile towards alternative conceptions of the political and social order. Kurdish and Berber diaspora communities have engaged in important intellectual, cultural and political activities on behalf of their respective causes. Inevitably, this has also sharpened the hybrid nature of their identities, in ways which distinguish them from those still residing in the “homeland.” Overall, the Kurdish diaspora is far more mobilised on behalf of the homeland, politically and ethnically, than the Amazigh, a reflection of the advanced state of the Kurdish ethno-national cause.