Thomas Schmidinger was born in Austria in 1974 and studies political science and social anthropology at the University of Vienna. He teaches now at the University of Vienna and The University of Applied Sciences Oberösterreich. His research topics range from the Kurdish region to Jihadism and Migration. His research in Kurdistan began when he was still a student in 1999, when he visited Rojava the first time. Currently he is working so a book on the Yazidis in Sinjar. Schmidinger is secretary general of the Austrian Association for Kurdish Studies and Co-editor of the Vienna Kurdish Studies Yearbook. Additional he is advisor of some members of the European Parliament on Kurdish issues. Check out his homepage here. He blogs in German language in the Austrian daily Der Standard. Some of his academic publications are also available on Academia.edu.
Publisher: PM Press/Kairos
Page count: 192
Subjects: Current Events/Middle East
In early 2018, Turkey invaded the autonomous Kurdish region of Afrin in Syria and is currently threatening to ethnically cleanse the region. Between 2012 and 2018, the “Mountain of the Kurds” (Kurd Dagh) as the area has been called for centuries, had been one of the quietest regions in a country otherwise torn by civil war.
After the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the Syrian army withdrew from the region in 2012, enabling the Party of Democratic Union (PYD), the Syrian sister party of Abdullah Öcalan’s outlawed Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to first introduce a Kurdish self-administration and then, in 2014, to establish the Canton Afrin as one of the three parts of the heavily Kurdish Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, which is better known under the name Rojava.
This self-administration—which had seen multiparty municipal and regionwide elections in the summer and autumn of 2017, which included a far-reaching autonomy for a number of ethnic and religious groups, and which had provided a safe haven for up to 300,000 refugees from other parts of Syria—is now at risk of being annihilated by the Turkish invasion and occupation.
Thomas Schmidinger is one of the very few Europeans to have visited the Canton of Afrin. In this book, he gives an account of the history and the present situation of the region. In a number of interviews, he also gives inhabitants of the region from a variety of ethnicities, religions, political orientations, and walks of life the opportunity to speak for themselves. As things stand now, the book might seem to be in danger of becoming an epitaph for the “Mountain of the Kurds,” but as the author writes, “the battle for the Mountain of the Kurds is far from over yet.
“Preferable to most journalistic accounts that reduce the Rojava revolution to a single narrative. It will remain an informative resource even when the realities have further changed.”
—Martin van Bruinessen, Kurdish Studies on Rojava: Revolution, War and the Future of Syria’s Kurds
For a calendar of speaking events, please click here
Thomas's previous English language books:
- Rojava: Revolution, War and the Future of Syria's Kurds
- Looming Shadows: Migration and Integration at a Time of Upheaval
To learn more be sure to check out:
His German language blog in the Austrian daily "Der Standard": https://derstandard.at/r2000056485933/Weltblicke
Some of his academic publications are also available on Academia.edu: https://univie.academia.edu/ThomasSchmidinger
"Vienna Kurdish Studies Yearbook": http://www.kurdologie.at/jahrbuch.html
"Austrian Association for Kurdish Studies" http://www.kurdologie.at
ArbeiterInnenbewegung im Sudan Frankfurt / Wien u.a., 2004
Der Seufzer der bedrängten Kreatur“ Religiös-politischer Widerstand schiitischer Parteien im Irak in: Kreutzer, Mary / Schmidinger, Thomas (Hg.): Irak – Von der Republik der Angst zur parlamentarischen Demokratie? Freiburg, 2004 p. 113-135
Tyrants and Terrorists: Reflections on the Connection between Totalitarianism, Neo-liberalism, Civil War and the Failure of the State in Iraq and Sudan. Civil Wars, Vol 11, September 2009, Number 3, p. 359 – 379
Looming Shadows. Migration and Integration at a Time of Upheaval. European and American Perspectives. (with Vedran Dzihic) Washington DC, 2011
Unionism and Revolution in the Arab World in: Friedrich, Wiebke / Schwarz, Christoph / Voigt, Sebastian (eds.): Gewerkschaften im demokratischen Prozess: 10 internationale Beiträge. Trade Unions in the Democratic Process 10 international Contributions. Düsseldorf, 2013 p. 27 – 52
Gora. Slawischsprachige Muslime zwischen Kosovo, Albanien, Mazedonien und Diaspora. Wien, 2013
Politischer Islam in Österreich in: Floris Biskamp / Stefan E. Hößl (eds.): Islam und Islamismus. Perspektiven für die politische Bildung. Gießen, 2013 p. 85-102
Neuland: Refugees and Austrian Residents Get Connected (with Margerita Piatti) in: Koegler-Abdi, Martina / Parncutt, Richard (Hg.): Interculturality. Practice meets Research. Newcastel upon Tyne, 2013 p. 109 – 129 The Kurdish Spring in Diaspora? Austria and its Kurds in: Ahmad, Mohammed M. / Gunter, Michael: The Kurdish Spring. Geopolitical Changes and the Kurds. Costa Mesa, California, 2013 p. 308 – 338
Krieg und Revolution in Syrisch-Kurdistan Wien, 2014
Jihadismus. Ideologie, Prävention und Deradikalisierung Wien, 2015
Rojava: Revolution, War and the Future of Syria´s Kurds London, 2018