Anonymous, 25 May 2019
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Negotiating Nationhood on the Net: The Case of the Turcomans and Assyrians of Iraq

Negotiating Nationhood on the Net: The Case of the Turcomans and Assyrians of Iraq
A central argument that has swirled around the contours of the Iraqi nation from its inception in the 1920s has migrated to the Internet. The argument pits the legitimacy of Iraq as a nation-state against that of a whole host of different “national” communities settled within the modern state. The claim has been made that Iraq has never cohered into a nation because successive governments have prevented the assimilation and integration of “the multiple histories of Iraqis” into “a single narrative of state power”. The argument is more a Western construct than an indigenous formulation. State-centered ideology is not monolithic and has its ebbs and flows: in certain periods (such as under the monarchy), Iraqis did indeed forge solid ties of marriage, commercial partnerships, and social relationships across ethnic and sectarian lines. Moreover, Iraqi nationalism appeals to certain groups more than others. Various observers have noted that, over the last eighty years, some of the Kurds and some of the Shi’a have been somewhat more ambivalent about their Iraqi identity than others in the country. Recently, different ways in which social groups both inside and outside of Iraq are currently reformulating their ties to Iraq and notions of “Iraq” have appeared on the Internet at the same time that the country passes through one of the severest tests in its history.
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