This article originally appeared in Rudaw.
On the death anniversary of Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas, people gathered in his home city of Sulaimani to remember his contributions to his field and culture.
“I would say no one could depict the sufferings that Kurds went through the way Sherko did,” poet Ismail Talabani tells Rudaw.
He was born in 1940. He went into political exile in 1986 because of the previous Iraqi regime. Bekas was awarded the Tucholsky Prize by the Swedish PEN in 1988. He returned to the Kurdistan Region in 1992.
Family, fans, and acquaintances gathered at the famous Shaab Teashop, Azadi Park in Sulaimani. Youth also held a ceremony at the Cultural Cafe in Kalar.
At the teashop in Sulaimani an employee reminisced about Sherko.
“He used to sit in the corner over there taking out sheets of paper and writing poems as he was drinking tea. Sometimes he would throw it or rip it up or keep it,” says Omar Chaichi.
Bekas is one of the Kurdish nation’s most renowned writers, touching on the Kurdish struggle as well as the role of women in society.
“Sherko is a name that will remain a mountain in Kurdish literature. As a family, we are proud that Sherko was the poet of his time,” his son Halo Bekas says.
He died on August 4, 2013, in Stockholm, Sweden after succumbing to cancer. The entirety of his two, 1,000-page volumes is published in Kurdish with the title ‘Sherko Bekas’ Diwan.’
This article was originally published in Rudaw.