Building brand Kurdistan: Helly Luv, the gender of nationhood, and the War on Terror

Nicholas Sean Glastonbury

Abstract


In the early 2000s, the Kurdistan Regional Government hired a US-based firm to begin a public relations campaign called “The Other Iraq.” Since that time, it has worked with a number of PR and lobbying firms to build a cultural, political, and financial apparatus that I refer to as Brand Kurdistan. This apparatus aims to prove to Western audiencesthat the Kurds are a liberal exception in an illiberal Middle East, and to build prospects of KRG’s eventual national independence. This article explores the connections between Brand Kurdistan and the gendering of Kurdish nationalism, focusing particularly on Kurdish pop diva Helly Luv. In her music, Luv underscores the trope of the “badass” Kurdish woman in the service of Brand Kurdistan’s political and economic projects. Thus, Brand Kurdistan and Helly Luv mutually reproducethe binary world discourse of the war on terror, a discourse aligned with neoconservative American war making and exertions of US empire.

ABSTRACT IN KURMANJI

Çêkirina Marka Kurdistanê: Helly Luv, cinsiyeta netewetiyê, û Şerê li Dijî Terorê

Serê salên 2000an, Hikûmeta Herêmî ya Kurdistanê (HHK) şirketeke emerîkî girt da ku helmeteke danenasîna giştî bi navê “Iraqa Din” bi rê ve bibe. Ji hingê ve, hikûmetê ligel çendîn şirketên têkiliyên cemawerî û lobiyê kar kiriye ku mêkanîzmeke çandî, siyasî û darayî ava bike, ya ku ez wek "Marka Kurdistanê" bi nav dikim. Ev mêkanîzm armanc dike ku li cemawerên Rojavayî biçespîne ku Kurd istisnayeke lîberal in di Rojhilata Navîn a dûr ji lîberaliyê de, û wisa jî derfet û şansên serbixweyiya neteweyî ya HHKyê bilindtir bike. Ev meqale li têkiliyên di navbera Marka Kurdistanê û bi cinsiyetkirina netewegeriya kurdî dikole, û ji bo vê yekê li ser Helly Luva stranbêja kurd hûr dibe. Luv di muzîka xwe de balê dikêşe ser têmaya jinên Kurdistanê yên “neguhdar/asî” di xizmeta projeyên siyasî û aborî yên Marka Kurdistanê de. Wisa jî, Marka Kurdistanê û Helly Luv bi awayekî muteqabil dîskûra duserî ya şerê li dijî terorê vesaz dikin, dîskûrek ku hevterîb e ligel şerkeriya muhafizekariya nû ya emerîkî û hewlên împeretoriya Dewletên Yekbûyî yên Emerîkayê.

ABSTRACT IN SORANI

Dirûstkirdinî Brand Kurdistan: Helly Luv, cênderî neteweyatî w Şerrî Dij Be Têror

Le seretay salanî 2000, Hikûmetî Herêmî Kurdistan şerîkeyekî emrîkîy girt bo berêwebirdinî hellmetêkî pêwendiye cemaweriyekan be nawî "Êraqî Dîke". Lew katewe, hikûmet legell çendîn şerîkeyî pêwendiye cemaweriyekan û lobî karî kirdûwe bo dirûstkirdinî amrazêkî kultûrî, siyasî û darayî, ke min nawî denêm "Brand Kurdistan". Em amraze amanciyetî le cemawerekanî rojavayî biçespênê ke kurd nimûneyekî yektay komelgay lîbiral in le Rojhellatî Nawerastî dûr le lîbiralî, û bem şêweye beqay Hikûmetî Herêmî Kurdistan bo bedesthênanî serbexoyîy neteweyî ziyatir bikat. Em wutare sebaret pêwendiyekanî nêwan Brand Kurdistan û becênderkirdinî netewegerrîy kurdî ye, be taybetîş çaw le Helly Luvî dîvay popî kurd dekat. Le mosîqayekey da Luv têmay jinî kurdî "yaxî" le xizmet projekanî siyasî û aborîy Brand Kurdistan da dexate pêş. Bem şêweye, Brand Kurdistan û Helly Luv pêkewe ew dîskûrî cîhanî duberekîy le ser şerrî dij be terror serlenwê dirûst deken, dîskûrêk ke hawterîbe legell şerrkerîy muhafizekarekanî nwêy emrîka û hewllekanî împeretorîy Dewlete Yekgirtûyekanî Emrîka.


Keywords


Gender; nation branding; pop music; war on terror; Iraqi Kurdistan

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References


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