Causes and Effects of Ethnic Conflict in Gharbi Mustafa’s When Mountains Weep

  • Saman Hussein Omar College of Languages / Salahaddin University-Erbil
  • Dana Hameed Mahmood College of Languages / Sulaimani University
Keywords: Ethnic conflict, Kurds, Arabs, displacement, culture, novel


This paper examines the causes and effects of ethnic conflict in Gharbi Mustafa’s When Mountains Weep. The novel was published in 2013. It relates the experience of a young man who is from the Duhok province, but is displaced with his family to the city of Mosul. As a young kid, Hamko faces discrimination by the Arabs he is to live with as an outcome of the policies adopted by the regime then. The paper falls into an introduction and two sections. The introduction shows how the act of displacing the Kurds is handled both as a cause and effect of ethnic conflict in the novel. Although this act is perpetrated by the ruling regime of the time, it creates tension and conflict between the major ethnic components in Iraq, Kurds and Arabs. Section one shows how the act of displacement in When Mountains Weep is systematically perpetrated by the regime against the Kurds in Iraq, obviously resulting in discrimination between the Kurds and Arabs; and sometimes leading to the feeling of hatred towards each other. Section two deals with the distinctive features of the Kurdish culture, namely with the Kurdish language and traditions, which shows that the Kurds cannot be forced into assimilation with the Arabic traditions despite being affected by them. The conclusion shows that despite living in the same country, there are many differences between the Kurds and Arabs. It shows that the regimes ruling Iraq have often tried to bring about a demographic change in the Kurdish-inhabited areas through the Arabization process for political reasons. It also shows how the displacement of the Kurds affected the Kurds’ socio-economic conditions.


- Adams, Dana. Retrieved on October 10, 2017
- Burgess, Heidi (2003). “Misunderstandings, beyond Intractability.” Retrieved in June 2013.
- Dammers, C (1998). Internally Displaced People: A Global Survey. London.
- Esman, M. J (1994). Ethnic Politics. New York: Cornell University Press.
- Galvin, Terry “No Friends, but the Mountains”. Retrieved in November, 2019.
- Human Rights Watch, 2004. Retrieved in November, 2019.
- IDMC “Iraq: Challenges of Forced Displacement within Iraq”, (2008). Retrieved in October, 2013.
- King, D. A (2005). Kurdistan on the Global Stage. New Jersey: Harold Leonard Corporation.
- Kinsley, S. F (1991). “Whatever Happened to the Iraqi Kurds?” Retrieved in October, 2019.
- “Kurdish Costumes Day.” Retrieved in August, 2019.
- “Kurds”. Retrieved in July, 2013.
- Lawrence, Q (2008). Invisible Nation. New York: Walker Publishing Company Inc.
- Mhamad, Aras Ahmed. “The Kurdistan Tribune”. Retrieved in November, 2019.
- Mustafa, Gharbi (2013). When Mountains Weep.
- Natali, D (2005). The Kurds and the State, Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey and Iran (First Edition ed.). New York: Syracuse University Press.
How to Cite
Omar S, Mahmood D. Causes and Effects of Ethnic Conflict in Gharbi Mustafa’s When Mountains Weep. JAHS [Internet]. 20Apr.2020 [cited 27Oct.2020];24(2):234 -22. Available from:

Most read articles by the same author(s)