After my stay as a volunteer in the Kurdish Institute of Brussels, I am not only going back home with thousands of things in my suitcase, but also with my soul enriched by this experience. I have lived many experiences during these months among people who belong to a very different culture, legends, traditions and customs, which are already part of me and will never be blotted out of my memory.
The truth is that humans are scared about what is unknown for us. That was how I felt, afraid of the adventure I was thinking to undertake and which, I knew, would not make me feel indifferent. So I decided to put aside my fears, face the challenge and delve into the madness that had started to get myself hooked. Kurdistan, Kurdish question, unrecognized nation, forgotten people, … everything was difficult to understand but, at the same time, I began to find the inner motivation to go deeply into this cause, cause that many people are still struggling to annihilate. I was no longer in doubt, just people around “warning” me about the oddest option they had ever heard in their lives. However, my decision had been already taken.
From the same moment I arrived in Belgium, I started to enjoy every second of what would be the most rewarding experience of my life. My mind reminded open and my heart was grateful for all the experiences were about to live. I started meeting people who, with the days, became my own family, people with different backgrounds, but all with a common story: the struggle to defend their culture, their folklore, their language, the freedom that they had never had to be taken away.
Who gives us the right to look down on those whose only “crime” they have committed is fighting to preserve their own identity? Who would not do it in their place? If your language is forbidden, your traditions forgotten, your music banned, your land taken, your village destroyed, your people killed, … what would be left in you? These are the things that make people exist, that give real meaning to our lives, that let us know who we really are.
We are informed every day of conflicts and wars that are caused because of the intolerance towards other forms of expression, but I wonder what would happen whether we lived on a planet where there was no multiculturalism, everyone spoke the same language and the colour of our skin was the same everywhere. If we lived in a reality without nuances, without variety, without freedom of speech, the humanity itself would be drown in its sorrow.
During my personal experience with the Kurdish people, not only has my fear disappeared, but also it has turned into admiration. Perhaps the Kurds are the largest stateless ethnic minority of the world but, without any doubt, they are an example of resistance. I have realized they are still alive, their language in use and their fight in active, despite the maps, laws and boundaries imposed on them. Women, men and children struggle every day to preserve their culture, their dignity, by other resistance than weapons.
In spite of being victims of the worst atrocities in the world, one day they decided not to surrender, not to drown their voices without being listened, not accepting their own denial that would have led them to the end of their own existence. They promised to take the risk, to pluck up courage to be true with theirselves, not to give up, and that is what makes them worthy of everyone’s respect.
I was frightened of living surrounded by a culture I had not heard before, but this experience has helped me to realize that we are missing extraordinary things because of our prejudices, our fears, things that would make us more human. We always tend to discriminate other ways of living different from ours, but the world is plenty of genuine people from whom we can learn even more than those who speak our own language.
Like Kurds, one day I decided to take the risk, and even though I have to say goodbye, I am sure that my experience does not finish here, as Kurdistan and its people are going to be in my memory for the rest of my life. Among valleys and mountains, I will join their voices by shouting their name and fighting for what belongs to them, their dignity, their honor and their right to live free among the people in the world.
“I am Kurdish, what can I do?”
There is nothing barbarous and savage in this
nation (…) but everyone calls barbarism
what is not usual for them.
Even if dying of hunger or from poverty
Still I will not serve strangers all my life long,
I have no fear of chains, ropes, rods, or the prison
Should they hack me into pieces, should they kill me
Still I will say: I am a Kurd!