Daya, where is Kurdistan?

My son, Yad, not even three yet, has recently grown an interest in countries. It’s the phase. I go with the flow and since he is interested in whatever it is, I try to give him little information here and there.


Last week he got a train, placed it on the table, and began to speak to himself. “I am going to another country.” Later that night I went on Amazon and ordered a child friendly world map, “I will explain the concept to him and maybe he will learn the names of a few countries,” I thought to myself.

little did I know many encounters in life repeat themselves.

With excitement I got out a large, colourful illustration of the world and a book it came with. So proud of my initiative I even brought two kebab sticks from the kitchen so we can point at the countries and say their names. One stick for Yad. One for daya.

I mentioned Australia, and showed how far that is from the United Kingdom. He asked where London is and so I pointed and tried to explain that London is within the UK. There is only so much you can explain to a toddler. Somethings they take in, others will need to be explained again when they’re a little older. Which is entirely fine with me.

He then asked Kwa Hawleeeel (where is Hawler/ Erbil)? My heart sank, I gulped and I sighed. It reminded me of the times I was younger, when I went home and asked my father where Kurdistan was on the map because my friends at school were curious.

I know now, how my dad would have felt at that time, a peshmerga fighter of many years, who had to explain to his young daughter that Kurds are a stateless nation, and our home is not recognised on any international atlas.

And here I am, decades later, feeling the same way, doing the same explanation to my son.

Generation after generation, we tell our children we are stateless. Unrecognised. Almost like we are a rejected population. Could it be, that my Yad will one day say the same words to his child?

I find it upsetting that my child can’t point at the birth place of all four of his grandparents on an atlas. It never occurred to me that before his third birthday I have to answer questions that my father, and many Kurds, fought to accomplish for their children. I can’t say they failed. By no means did any peshmerga fail. But justice in this day and age has ceased to exist.

My dearest son, no, Kurdistan is not on the map. Unfortunately.

Love to Kurdistan



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