Fading Love for Kurdistan

I grew up in the arms of a father who told us Peshmerga stories at bedtime. Who sat us on his lap, and told us how it was to be escaping the enemy from cave to cave in the mountains during the night; how it was for friends’ limbs to be amputated; what it was like for best friends to be executed or your own name to come up for execution, and how it felt to receive letters from siblings who did not know if you were still alive or gone… 

Sometimes I feel I am the last generation of Kurdistan to love this land unconditionally, the last to hear the lyrics of a patriotic song and have the tear become a gulp in my throat; the last to know this soil that we can freely speak Kurdish on did not come easy, the last to have the sound of fireworks echo in our ears as bombardment… from the time we were six or seven. 

I often question my own parenting, maybe it is the role of the parent to embed that love, appreciation and respect to one’s country

I am not that old. At least I don’t think I am. Born in December of 1989, more than a year following the Halabja Chemical attacks. I was named after 30 girls named Sazan who were martyred by the chemical attacks in the Sazan area. 

I grew up in a home where when I complained about studies by father would say “meh  hamali krdm w daftara ladasm bui” (I was a working boy with the book in my hand). When we spoke about possessions we were reminded by a proud father “meh heech nayashtm” (I had nothing), any complaint, and my brother and I received a long talk of how lucky and grateful we must feel because “ee rozha xawnig bui aram” (this day was only a dream for me). As Mandalawi siblings, we joke about this today, because we both have these stories of ‘back in my time’ not just engraved in our minds but stamped and drilled all over our hearts too. 

Where did we go wrong?

It comes with sadness the love for this soil is fading. My generation is probably the last to appreciate the blessings of modern-day Kurdistan, and have an unconditional love for this land, despite the circumstances. 

We complain, out of eagerness for better for this land and what it deserves. We speak the injustice not from hatred but from an inner wound of love; our words are sometimes bitter, as it is a call for collective action more than loath. 

It saddens me to feel like a grandmother talking among the 21st century generation. What can we do? How do we approach this? Where did we go wrong? What can we do for the younger generation to love their Kurdistan? I learned early with a love for the land and the nation we become fruitful citizens in our community. Along the way something went wrong? 

How do I know? Just read the social media comments.

Lots of love from

My Nest in Kurdistan

Sazan Mandalawi,

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