.ku Top domain for Kurdistan

By Dilan Roshani, Kurdistan Web Org, Written on May 2001

You –as the reader of this article– might be a Kurdish citizen and one of the 35 million Kurds without a country of your own. Kurds have been denied the right to rule their motherland, Kurdistan, since the Allies divided the Middle East after the fall of the Ottoman Empire (post-WWI) in the 1920s.

The advent of the World Wide Web has allowed the global population to access even the remotest sections of the planet. Kurdish citizens feel the freedom of their nation in this virtual world, a world free from violence, bloodshed and killing. This is a world where Kurdishness safely gets its due. A world in which the innocent do not have to lose their lives for a basic human right as declared by the United Nations – an organization, incidentally, which counts among its members Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, all of whom currently occupy Kurdistan.

A forbidden language and a denied nation have both found the freedom to create a national electronic heritage online, where Kurds can freely document their history, geography and culture. The global communication offered by the Internet has paved the way for Kurdish scholars in all sectors of Kurdistan and abroad to make many positive efforts on behalf of their language and historical heritage. The Internet has opened a new door to the Kurdish cause in the Middle East.

The release of the news that “Palestine Wins Internet Home” [1] gave me the idea -as a team-member of the Kurdish Computer Society (KUCS)-to propose the dot-ku (www.your_name.ku) top-level domain for Kurdistan through KUCS. The top-level or country code domains indicate the national origin of computers connected to the Internet, including top-level domains such as .us for the United States, .jp for Japan, and .il for Israel. Generic top-level domains such as .com and .org were intended for general use by the Internet public, while country code top-level domains were created to be used by each individual country as they deemed necessary.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit corporation that was formed to assume responsibility for the IP address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions previously performed under U.S. Government contract by IANA and other entities.

Country-code top-level domains in the Internet domain-name system are designated by two-letter codes (“alpha-2 codes“) shown on the ISO 3166-1 [2] list maintained by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency (ISO 3166/MA). That list consists of codes given in the UN Bulletin “Country Names” and in the code list of the “Standard Country or Area Codes for Statistical Use.” There is also a provision for assignment of codes by the Maintenance Agency, in certain limited circumstances, in response to a request by the affected national government or national standards body. The ISO 3166-1 list is used worldwide in many applications involving coded information concerning names of countries and of physically separated dependent territories. Kurdistan has no Standard Country or Area Codes! Although the top-domain codes allocate to the country codes listed at the ISO 3166-1, there is a re-register list (such as ISO 3166/MA for new applications) which has to make sure that ISO 3166-1 does not express personal opinions concerning the legal status of a country or dependency. When the ISO 3166/MA receives a request for the inclusion of a country name or a dependent area in ISO 3166-1, it examines the justification given for the request, applying the three criteria below. All three criteria need to be fulfilled if the request is to be considered by the ISO 3166/MA.

The area name for which the inclusion in ISO 3166-1 is requested represents an area which is physically separated from its parent country. Dependent areas directly bordering on the parent country cannot be included in ISO 3166-1.

An interchange requirement exists between the area for which a code element is requested and other physical locations. For the purposes of ISO 3166-1 the term “interchange requirement” includes a stated and proven necessity to move physical objects (e.g. goods) or non-physical objects (e.g. electronic messages) from one physical location to another.

A request for the inclusion of a country name (or the name of a dependent area) in ISO 3166-1 must originate from the national government of the country or from the national standards body of that country. The ISO 3166/MA rejects any request which is not accompanied by a written statement from the national government explicitly agreeing to and supporting the request.

Many autonomous territories and federal states of European countries – Gibraltar, Netherlands Antilles, etc. – have their own Internet-top-level-domain.

On the other hand, a federal government like Scotland has its own parliament with devolution, but still does not have its own Domain Name System. Domain Name System (or DNS) is a database system that translates an IP address or the part of TCP/IP, the protocol used to route a data packet from its source to its destination over the Internet into a domain name (see footnote 4). Although Scotland (for example) does not have a DNS, other areas such as Antarctica do. So do many minor islands. Some of them are barely inhabited (Pitcairn/.pn, population 48 people). Some are now dependencies of Australia or New Zealand but still have their own ISO 3166 codes and DNS entries. Similarly, the Kurdish federal state should be in charge of the DNS for Kurdistan.According to the above-mentioned regulation the application for the Kurdistan top-level domain dot-ku needs to be made by the Kurdistan regional government (KGR). The KGR needs to put this application on the top of the agenda of the KGR parliament. Furthermore, such an application not only needs support of many IT professionals, but also some manufacturers and Internet providers as well as the Security Network Provider (SNP). The KUCR can provide assistance and expertise in the area and prepare work for a standard distribution of the future .ku domain. The www.your_domain.co.ku, .gov.ku, .org.ku .net.ku, .ac.ku, .mil.ku, .tv.ku, .web.ku, etc., can be the DNS ID for many Kurdish institutes and private company around the world.

Kurdish intellectuals and scholars need to organize themselves to create civil constitutions and frameworks according to their expertise. Internet and IT technology is one of the most sensitive and significant areas which needs a central organ to standardize the usage and framework regarding local interest. Kurdish citizens have the right to be identified correctly in the new virtual world.

It is a fact that the Kurdish scripting system is not represented in any instructional language code. According to ISO the Kurdish language classifies as KUR for ISO 639-2/B or bibliographic code, KUR for ISO 639-2/T or terminology code and KU for ISO 639-1 which is an alphabetic code. Today, as the result of fast-growing electronic communication, archiving systems and advanced Information Technology, all Computer software is developed with bases for existing pre-defined International Scripting codes. Because the Kurdish language remains un-coded (and for other reasons like a multi-scripting coding system representing Kurdish Language), an indirect consumer market for Kurdish has developed which relies on modified Arabic, Turkish, and/or Persian software to write and archive in Kurdish. As a result, neither the Kurds nor their language Kurdish is represented in any global computer and electronic base standards.

The Kurds have no standard scripting, country or area codes. This lack of what is needed for constitutional usage framework in the age of fast growing electronic media needs to be considered urgently.

Mr. Dilan Roshani (dilan.roshani@kurdistanica.com), is a PhD researcher in Civil Engineering, computing and communication at the University of Nottingham, UK, and the Managing Director of the KURDISTANICA (www.kurdistanica.com), the Encyclopedia of Kurdistan.

Last update March 2003

References
[1] Palestine Wins Internet Home, report by www.wired.com, March 23, 2000
[2] English country names and code elements, (http://www.din.de/gremien/nas/nabd/iso3166ma/codlstp1/en_listp1.html)
[3] The Internet and ISO 3166-1, (http://www.din.de/gremien/nas/nabd/iso3166ma/internet.html)
[4] Creating a top level domain for Scotland, (http://www.siliconglen.com/Scotland/20_3.html)

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