The story below was submitted by Dr. Nawroz to My Kurdistan, a new story competition sponsored by The Kurdish Project. Top stories will be featured on the Kurdish Project, and winning contestants will be awarded prizes for their education. The contest will run through the end of Summer 2016. Submit your own story to My Kurdistan here.
I was in my tenth year, as I remember, when I started to understand the meaning of being Kurdish. Teachers always used to tell us about the Arabic victories and their grandfathers’ history and there were no Kurdish history in all of that. In primary and secondary school it wasn’t accepted for any student to speak Kurdish.
Some of them were thinking about us as an enemy and others were talking about their ground on which Kurdish people are living now.
My father told me one day when asked him about our relationship with Arab people:
“My son when Saddam Al Hussein bombed Halabja (Kurdish village in Iraq) with chemical gases, some Arabic people here were celebrating about that and every one was saying Saddam is the hero.”
Struggling with my Kurdish identity as a child
At that time and as a child it was so difficult to accept myself to live under hands of people teaching me wrong things about my history and defined me as an enemy. It was really difficult, but I didn’t have any other choice.
I only take a sentence from my dad and make it the sum of my life: ”The rose will not remain under the stone. It will displace the stone away when spring be on its way”.
Actually we were different in many ways.
Kurds: Honest, merciful, human-centered
Kurds are known as being honest. If they said, they did. If they pledged, they fulfilled.
They did not know how to be thieves. They did not aim to betray anyone.
Although the others were abusing their rights in state jobs and studying at universities in racist ways and bribes, they were byword for honesty and sincerity and understanding.
They were not stupid; they were merciful and humanists.
Imprisoned and killed for being Kurdish
I still remember the story of one Kurdish politician who was arrested because his activity for Kurdish people’s rights. After five months his wife visited him in prison and she told him that he is a father now. After asking him about the name he prefers for his child, he answered: “My dear wife I am behind these prison bars because of one reason which is Kurdistan. I wish for my son to be named “Welat.” “Welat” is a Kurdish word, which means: “motherland.”
When the man finally got his freedom, Welat was ten years old.
I still remember the story of the Amude cinema from November, 1960. Amude is a city in the north of Syria, where about 400 hundred Kurdish children were killed by fire and burning because they are Kurds. My uncle said: in that time the bosses of all the primary schools were invited to send children to the cinema to watch a movie about the Algerian revolution. All ticket sales will be sent to help children in Algeria, and after the movie started only the children were at the cinema, all officers had left and the doors and windows were quietly closed, 10 minutes later fires started and the gift for Algerian children wasn’t the price of tickets, it was a mountain of children burning, pain and death.
All of that make me a proud to be Kurd – to be an abused people, not the abuser.
Using my Kurdish identity to fight racism and spread love, humanity, and knowledge
I decided to be successful in my life and inside there is a huge desire to make the others accepting of me, accepting the existence of Kurdish people on this land before them. This is my big goal and the biggest challenge for me.
I am working on it in different ways away from killing and forcing. I am working on the reasons and all reasons are from the same source: the absence of knowledge, racism and ignorance.
I am not an organization. I am only an individual and I have made a lot of relationships and friends from other cultures to change their thoughts about Kurds and Kurdistan.
I think that the spring is on the way, so let’s displace the stone of racism and make life a beautiful story – full of love and humanity.