Foreign Policy Blogs

The Donkeys’ Party Enters Kurdistan’s Political Bray

The Donkeys’ Party of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region unveiled an aptly wrought statue of its four-legged namesake today. Cast in bronze by famed Kurdish sculptor Zerak Mire, the officious fellow is buttoned up in a suit, collared shirt and tie. The political m’ass’cot stands five feet tall (I believe that’s ‘15 hands’ in ‘Equinese’), and three feet thick, along Nali Street – the provincial boulevard in Sulamaniyah named for a well-known Kurdish poet who penned a popular ballad about the working “jack.”

Courtesy AFP

Absent allusions to America’s Democratic Party, in Kurdistan, the donkey is a beloved beast. So says Donkeys’ Party secretary general Omar Kalol, who hopes the statue will serve the Kurdish people as a friendly reminder to treat their domestic animals more kindly.

Karol went on to say:

“The donkey played a very distinguished role in the Kurdish armed liberation movement … and it was the only friend of the Kurdish fighters in the mountains of Kurdistan during the struggle for Kurdish rights,” he said, referring to decades-long guerrilla war in northern Iraq and Iran.

It’s not every day political imagery ties animal rights to armed resistance, but AFP reports the bronzed effigy attracted the attention of a number of Kurdish artists, intellectuals and political thinkers.

Since its foundation in 2005, the Donkey Party has worked hard to meet the measure of its namesake – administrative structure is based around the life of the donkey, while headquarters and district branches are named after the various barns and sheds that house the animal.

AFP further reports the party has demanded regional government provide financial support to open a district radio station named “Zarin,” which translates – incredibly loosely – in English to “Hee-Haw.”

To this I say, “Donkeys, well met.” Here’s to a party that aims to gain ground through honest politicking, savvy messaging and the touching recognition of the traditionally humble but hard-working engine of social and economic life.

They’re already off to a grand start.



Reid Smith
Reid Smith

Reid Smith has worked as a research associate specializing on U.S. policy in the Middle East and as a political speechwriter. He is currently a doctoral student and graduate associate with the University of Delaware's Department of Political Science and International Relations. He blogs and writes for The American Spectator.