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A closer look at the visual language of images displayed at Kurdish television channels, Nuçe TV, Stêrk TV, MMC, and Newroz TV, reveals a pattern of recurring symbols that emphasise the thriving nationalism of the world’s largest stateless nation and assist in the construction of a recent phenomenon: the pan-Kurdish identity. Researcher of Kurdish identity and media, Dr. Jaffer Sheyholislami, distinguished the following key symbols in Kurdish media: martyrs as the face of the struggle; mountain landscapes and elements of rural life; the flag of Kurdistan and its colours (red, yellow and green) occurring in political flags, clothing, banners and defining an overall aesthetic; and, finally, the map of Kurdistan with the virtual borders laid out by the Kurds over the various countries in the Kurdistan region: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Armenia.

My initial interest in Kurdish television originated from the fact that the studios of Stêrk TV are located in Denderleeuw, a Belgian town near my hometown. I intended to document this unknown territory, since it’s vast impact on a community that stretches far beyond my reach appealed to me. This book formulates my position of visitor – “Mêvan” in Kurdish – and outsider, who never gained real access to the studios, nor to the community around it. After several months of investigation, it appeared that the only way I could truly get a sense of the meaning and impact of the medium was through the television-screen. The pages in this book cover ten hours of shooting and reveal the constant recurrence of the symbols of Kurdish identity. Out of the photographical archive that emerged from my visits to the Belgian Kurdish community, I took one single photograph and used it as the cover image of this book. To me, it embodies the impact of the medium of television on everyday life of the Kurds. It shows how the Kurds identify themselves with these symbols and, through this, unite all over the world.



 
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