Ten years later – Part I

One decade. Yes, one decade has passed since I first returned to Kurdistan. Dearest one, if only you knew what sort of decade it has been for me. If I stored the buckets of tears I have shed I wouldn’t have had enough place to keep them; And if I had counted the laughter, I would have not had enough mathematical knowledge to keep up the numbers…

In these ten years of life back home I made friends, wrote a book, and kept a blog. I worked and volunteered in a handful of different places – not counting the job I did for just 8 hours – leading to my life’s most amazing experiences.

In the past ten years I attended more weddings than I can count and did enough halparke to dislocate a shoulder (glad that didn’t happen). In ten years I have probably devoured over ten sinis of dolma, had a truck full of shootis and had the deepest, most life changing conversations over endless istikans of chai (just ask my dentist!).

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Photo captured by: D. M. K.

From a teenager, I transformed into an adult (hopefully a wise one), and from someone who was a little lost about what home meant; I grew up to become a mother who wants to instil Kurdish values in her child.

I changed. Life changed. Kurdistan changed.

I remember it like yesterday when I stepped down the plane into a hall big enough to be our home living room. It was called Erbil International Airport. I landed to a place where petrol was sold in plastic containers, and harassment came in the form of anonymous phone calls from unknown ‘boys’.  I found myself lost in a land I felt no specific attachment to.

Time passed, and as this blog and my weekly Memoirs column showed, I grew to love Kurdistan more. Day after day, I saw people, felt their stories and I felt more and more home. 

For a few of the ten years I lived in la-la land where Kurdistan was the land of dreams, hopes and ambitions. The land of opportunity, of success, and a place where the future always looked bright. This was the reality.

Tonight, as I write this blog post next to my son who is fast asleep… I have feelings that are new to me. Feelings that only older people have. I feel like a grand-parent whose hair looks like a fluffy white cloud, has a hunched back and a map of wrinkles on aged, soft hands. A rather peculiar feeling for a girl who looks 19 (so I’m told), lives like she’s 21 and is stepping into her 27th year in three months.

The wise side of my mind says these feelings are abnormal. The crazy side says anything is normal when it comes to Saz, but my heart says it might be the motherly instincts that are appearing.

I am worried. I am upset. I am heart broken. I am infuriated. And for the first time, in ten years, I feel helpless.

I worry about my child’s education, his health and the justice of the place he will grow up in.  I am heart broken for the relative who can’t pay rent at the end of the month and for the young man who had to leave university to make ends meet for his family… or the lady who put her kidney for sale…

I have been trying to see this phase as “Kurdistan is unwell,” but it is recovering. It had cancer. Now it’s taking chemotherapy. I am a believer of hope, and a better tomorrow. I’m a believer in life. We will recover, of course we will. Right?

But my heart is shattering to pieces everyday to see people of my nation suffering in this way. I put my head down in shame in front of my son as  I see the political fight we have against our own kind.

Ten years ago I had far greater hopes, dreams, expectations and ambitions for the Kurdistan that I see today…

I’m no longer sure if I will pass on my Independence dreams to my son, as my father passed to me….

But always,

Love from

My Nest in Kurdistan

Sazan,

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