Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Introduction and Index to Shabak Culture

During my studies at East Stroudsburg University, I found myself taking a World Regional Geography class.  I now find myself expanding my knowledge on a different culture known as Shabak that reside in Iraq.  I have started this blog to learn more about this culture and to also inform others!  I will make sure to share information on things such as their history, homeland, the world of the Shabak, their neighbors, Shabak migrations and diaspora, birds of Iraq, even share information from an actual interview with someone of this culture, and their cultural survival!

Outline of my blogposts--

  • Shabak History
  • Homeland: Mosul, Iraq
  • Their World
  • Cosmos
  • Neighbors of the Shabak 
  • Shabak Migrations and Diaspora 
  • Birds of Iraq: Chukar Partridge
  • Interview
  • Cultural Survival
  • References 

Shabak History

Local people to their area say that the name Shabak is derived from the Arabic word "shabaka".  Shabaka stands for intertwining, as the Shabak are composed of a group of different tribes.  It wasn't until 1952 that they were actually recognized as their own ethnic group.  After they had been recognized as their own ethnic group, in the 1980's they began to experience their first genocide.  This genocide occured when Saddams Regime tried moving twenty two of their villages, causing 3,000 families to be relocated the North of Iraq. 

Homeland: Iraq

Iraq can be found in the Middle East around the Persian Gulf, just in between Iran and Kuwait. There is a large amount of desert plains, with mountainous regions around the northern borders of Turkey and Iran. Along the southern boarders it has lower elevation. In Iraq, there are two major rivers that run through the center; Tigris and Euphrates. The climate in Iraq, as I said was mostly desert, meaning they have mild winters and hot summers. In Iraq’s mountainous regions, they are the opposite experiencing extreme, cold winters with mild summers. 

Mosul is located in northern Iraq, right on the Tigris River located on the opposite of the plains of Nineveh.  Out of all the cities in northern Iraq, Mosul is the largest city. Mosul, is also the third largest city in the country.  As of 1987, Mosul had a recorded population that was at 664, 221.  Most of the urban population in Mosul is Arab.  The occupations of those that live in Mosul are in the trade fields of agricultural goods and exploitation of oil in the surrounding oil fields.  Oil is very big in Mosul, it has an oil refinery that was effected by the current war. 

Their World

There is an estimated number of Shabak people living in the Ninevah area somewhere between four to five hundred.  Their spoken languages are Turkish, Persian, Kurdish, and Arabic.  They also have their own language known as Shabaki.  It differs from any other Kurdish languages or dialects. Many people in the Kurdish parties are trying to say that the Shabaki language is just only a dialect off of the Kurdish language.  The Shabak people do not have one set of religious beliefs.  Their beliefs usually consist of Shi's, Sunni, Shiite, Muslim, and Christian.  Those who are in the the Shiite religion have a very famous shrine, known as the Zeen Al- Abedeen Shrine which is located in the Ali Rash village.  The Shabaki people may live with other cultures like the Kurds but they always had their own style, how they dress. They have their own clear separate foods and customs. 
Zeen Al- Abedeen Shrine 

Neighbors of the Shabak

Nearby neighbors to the Shabak, which I mentioned in this blog are the Kurds.  The Kurdish population is much larger than the population of the Shabak.  Like the Shabak, the Kurds have never had a country all to their own.  They can be found in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Germany.  Kurdistan, is an area that borders the countries of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey where they all meet.  This is where most Kurdish people can be found. Since 1923, Kurdistan was divided between Iraq and Turkey, Iran, and Syria causing them to have problems building their own nation.  The current war going on between Iraq and Iran has caused the Kurds to be put into a terrible position, stuck in the middle between the fighting that has been going on between both countries. 

Shabak Migrations and Diaspora

This culture are of Kurdish descendants of the Turcoman Shiite tribes that had once migrated to the east of the Ottoman Empire from Persia all the way up until the 17th century.  It has been known that the people of this culture have been living in Iraq since 1502.  It is believed that in the 16th century the Shabak people immigrated from Persia, spreading into the Nineveh plain of Mesopotamia.  The Shabak people can be found in many different villages around the east of Mosul, Iraq. These places include some areas in Iraqi Kurdistan to Tall'Affar, Iraq to Mosul, and Kirkuk to Khanaqin, Iraq.  It has been recorded that there has been a smaller amount of Shabaks in Iraq, they usually tend to work as sharecroppers on farms in the areas that they live in.  

Birds of Iraq: Chukar Partridge

The Chukar Partridge, also known as the Kew, or Chukker is a long partridge, usually light brown, grey chested, with a little puff belly.  They can come in a variety of shades across different populations.  On their haunch area, they are a reddish-brownish color, red legs, and have a coral colored beak. Their tails have exactly fourteen feathers on them.  Both the male and the femal Chukar are the same besides the fact that the female Chukar is somewhat smaller, and missing the spur.  

They usually make calling noises during the mornings and evenings. Their call is repetitive, loud, and sounds like "chuck" which is where they get their name from.  There seems to be no correlation to their population and being effected by hunting, or the loss of their habitat.  One thing that does in fact have an effect on their population is the weather patterns during their mating season which is in the summer. 
 Once the summer comes, the Chukar birds begin to pair up so that way they could begin to breed.  At this time, the male Chukar birds being to become aggressive. Once the winter arrives, they start to move into valleys, and other fields used to feed.  When they are not in their breeding season, these birds can be found in small flocks, ranging from ten to fifty birds.  When the mother lays her eggs, there usually is between seven to fourteen eggs that are laid. It is only after twenty-three to twenty-five days that have gone by that the eggs are able to hatch and join the flock.  When these birds get upset or feel bothered, they seem to chose running over flying. If the bird happens to chose to fly, it will only fly for a very short distance, in a slope motion with it's wings rounded while making it's "chuck" noises.