STATISTICS;
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I was born into a world that was constantly telling me statistical research about my life and the outcome of it. I grew up in a society hearing about these statistics based on my education and the future of it. I was told year after year how unlikely it was for me to even think about post-secondary education because my parents were refugees and immigrants to Canada. I was told year after year how unlikely it was for me because my parents did not have an education and therefore it was less likely for their children to have one.

I had voices in my head tell me that I couldn't achieve anything because I am my mother and father's daughter and I will only go as far as they did in life. I had allowed these statistics to control my life and therefore I did nothing but constantly be angry and aggressive at school. If I couldn't go to College or University than what was the point in trying to get good grades if the whole world is against me? What was the point in trying to succeed if I was already told that it was not likely for it to happen? That my parents sacrificed their whole lives and escaped genocide, death and war just to be accepted into a country that already had labels placed on them and their children. That the country had already mapped out their children's journey and it was their worst nightmare. 

These statistics only seemed to scare me because living with parents who had high expectations did not understand how the world would not only be against you (mom and dad) but me as first generation Canadians. I took the pressure and fear of failing as motivation to succeed. I challenged myself to throw and ignore those voices inside of my head and place love in my heart that allowed me to find a profession and dream that I cherish and care for and that my parents were proud of. I ignored those statistics that said I could never go to University, saying it was less likely compared to other students. I ignored those teachers who determined the level of my knowledge based on my aggression and anger. Never even asking why I was so angry all the time, but thought that was all I could end up as. I ignored those guidance counsellors who thought my decision to try to be placed in harder classes in high school wasn't a good idea for me because "College-level classes would be better for me". I ignored those voices and only did what I could to change the outcome of my life and change it for the better. In the middle of grade 10 I switched my classes to University level classes and succeeded, I got accepted into the Universities I applied for with Scholarships. 

I speak of this experience to say this, as I'm entering Teachers College and successfully finished my undergrad after 4 years of University I could have listened to those statistics and thought that these people who research such topics knew more about my life than me. That my life was already planned out for me and all I had to do was follow the path that was already drawn. I could have listened to those teachers and stayed angry and aggressive thinking that this was all I was good for. Or I could have listened to my guidance counsellor and stuck with applied (college level subjects) because he said that I couldn't do any better. I could have listened to teachers telling me that is unsafe for me to go to Kurdistan, missing out on the experience of a lifetime, BUT I DIDN'T.

I knew I had to determine my own path at a young age and knew that if I didn't fight for my path and dreams, no teacher or guidance counsellor would do it for me no matter how much they got paid. I destroyed the path that was already drawn for me from the moment I took my first breath on this earth and made a new one. I did this myself and I choose to listen to my parents and not those statistics that were yelling in my ear at a young age. 

As I enter my fifth year of University, AND my last year. I want to say ignore those statistics because they don't mean anything when you have aspirations and dreams that you can fight for. Prove them wrong because they will be sorry for not believing in you and choosing to side against you.  

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HAIR;
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 "Kurdish women embody the strength of long hair. Every strand being made to protect made to grow, and made to know. I realized why I feel unquestionably comfortable with my long hair and why my mother never wanted me to cut it. It's a part of me and my history" (03.06.18/Instagram) 

As a young girl who was always told to never cut her hair and to let it grow by my mother never realized why my mother was so persistent on my hair and its length. As a young girl who was always told by my mother to never dye my hair because there was no need to destroy it, never realized why my mother was so persistent on my hair colour and keeping it natural, while I constantly saw my sister colour her hair in more ways than one. 

The consent arguing as a child to want to fit in and follow what my friends and sister were doing turned into battles with my mother about chopping my hair off and dying it a different colour so she'd finally leave me alone. However, my hair now and even back then was a possession of mine in which I was so incredibly comfortable with. The comfort my hair allowed me to have, the safety it portrayed for me and the protection it gave me allowed me to be in control of what I allowed the world to see. My hair helped me keep certain body parts invisible. My hair helped me hide that unwanted arm hair’s that people would often pick on and question. My hair allowed for the distraction of my unibrow to be ignored while the compliments of my long natural hair were uttered. 

The realization of such simple moments brought to light the embodiment of long hair as a Kurdish woman and why those battles with my mother were simple acts of just wanting to fit in without realizing what my hair really meant to me and my culture. As each strand and root started to grow I was growing along with it. My confidence became something that I wasn't faking anymore, but almost like a possession of mine that I rooted in my hair. My strength became as strong as the Kurdish women who embody their roots during battle. I have bridged a connection between my ancestors and their long hair that became a clear form of freedom in eras of oppression and war. With every strand that grew and every inch of hair that was added it created a form of freedom for my ancestors. I embody the small freedom of growth. I embody the source of protection, confidence, and safety that allowed the female fighters of Kurdistan to battle the enemies of our land and win. the source of friendship that was placed within the moments of female fighters braiding each other’s hair for battle. 

And suddenly I'm brought back to the moment when my mother is braiding my long hair for school while I'm yelling at her to just leave my hair alone not realizing the source of friendship that can come from these moments. Now my mother who sees me brushing my hair is suddenly starring. Not realizing that with my long hair that I hated when I was younger and that everyone found weird when I told them my mother does not want me to cut it. Showcased an unbelievable resemblance to my mother at a young age. Who looked like me where she embodied the possession of long natural hair, in which she was able to remember her traditional upbringing in the village of Gundê Eradina in Kurdistan. Seeing me resembling her physical appearance and the exact age has allowed me to understand the importance of why I need to keep my long and natural hair. Not only for my mother to have an escape and source of happiness to cherish unforgettable memories of when she was my age with her long hair. But for the protection and source of strength, I feel when I put my hair down letting it run free while starring at myself in the mirror. 

Now I know why I feel unquestionably comfortable with my long hair and why my mother never wanted me to cut it. It's a part of me and my history. It's a part of the resilience of a Kurdish female living in an oppressed society and the idea of freedom by allowing your hair to naturally grow however it chooses to. 


do not own credits to cover photo!

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STRENGTH;
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In a second my mother's life went from the Kurdish life in the mountains of Gundê Eradina to barely escaping for her life against those rotten apples. In a split second, my mother's life went from being surrounded by her family to escaping toward what was internationally known as the borders of Turkey. 

My mother's life did not end, but it was beaten, challenged, and not cared for. Living through being an unwanted refugee in Turkey to illegally crossing over to Greece at night made those seconds of normal in Gundê Eradina become a dream for my mother. While she is trying to remember those seconds before the war before being forced to escape and hide she was forced to marry a man she never met. While she was trying to remember those seconds before the war before being forced to escape and hide she was forced to say hello to her husband at their wedding for the first time.

Forced to marry and forced to flee she was now fighting to stay afloat in the depths of the water. Along with her husband and family. Just to be placed in a city where her new temporary home would be under a bridge in a local park. My families life was packed in a suitcase and pushed along through different borders and circumstances just to be broken into by unwanted guests. Taking valuables and throwing family photos. escaping with money, but throwing their clothes as disgusting fabrics. 

There is no other word to describe this besides STRENGTH. No other way to speak of it without the word STRENGTH. My mother is the strongest and most resilient person I know. She faced many obstacles and set-backs in life. She gave up her life and her wanting to be beside her family and mother for her kids. 

I don't know how what else to say but STRENGTH. 


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AMemoryAlêComment
WATER;
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I always saw WATER as a friend. Something that the mountains would produce and give to my family when need be. WATER that followed a path from the tip of the mountain to reach my family in Gundê Eradina. This WATER that allowed me to drink, and allowed me to pray clean. I always saw myself to be friends with the mountains and what the mountains produced for me. I cherished those moments of rain because It flourished my village and the mountains that surrounded me. I wish I was still friends with this WATER because it isn't the same anymore. The rotten apples poisoned the WATER and destroyed my relationship with it. 

As I'm standing on the edge of this body of WATER I'm remembered about the friendly encounters with the WATER. I hope that by doing this my feet can move along with my family in the dark into the WATER. I try so hard for my feet to move into an unknown territory (Greece). With it I pause and remember what the WATER has given me back when life was beautiful in the mountains of Kurdistan. I pray it is the same WATER that provided for me and allowed me to live a beautiful life in my village. Hoping that the rotten apples did not poison the WATER forever, that this WATER will not turn its back on me and my family as we try and reach to freedom. Freedom away from the Turkish soldiers who want us all dead. In my head there was no term for walking with my family in the dark and escaping a country that hated who we were. In my mind there was no way to understand what my family and I were doing when we decided to leave everything behind and walk in the dark to another country. There was no word in my sense of vocabulary that identified moving through an imaginary line that divided the world from each other. As I try and grasp what is happening I know that we cannot go back to those refugee camps, we cannot live as mere animals in our oppressors eyes. And we definitely cannot go back to hiding in the mountains. I have no choice but to trust in what I remember to be the purest WATER that flourished my growth. To trust by being able to take that step into the WATER while praying that this WATER remembers me and provides for me. Provides for me an opportunity to escape to a new life, to a life that  will gradually allow for my identity to not go unnoticed and to start a family. I take that step into the cold body of WATER that is as deep as my pain for my people. I step in this cold, dark, and unknown body of WATER praying that it accepts me and my families struggle to find freedom and independence. I take my steps while also hoping to feel a sense of comfort, where everything will be okay after this. Hoping that our new lives will start now. 

With every push and dark shadow of WATER that forced us to one side, I started to count my steps. I started to count as loud as I can, not realizing the panic that I hear from my brother and his wife trying to carry their newborn son over the body of WATER. I tried my best to break through the blank sheet of darkness to see who was able to make it to the other side. With every family member that felt the land of the Greeks, I thanked the WATER for not turning its back on me. With every family member that felt a sense of new found freedom. I thanked Kurdistan for raising us to be fighters. I thank God for letting me live another day. While I step on to the other side of the WATER and welcome my new life in Greece I realized how brave we truly are and how I will forever keep my relationship with the WATER. 


I do not own credits to the photo!

This piece is written in my mothers perspective of illegally crossing the border to Greece in 1990. They had to cross a very cold and deep body of WATER to reach the border of Greece as victims of genocide, refugees, and now illegal immigrants. I thank the bravery of my family and all Kurdish families who experienced similar situations to fight for freedom. This experience my family faced could have ended extremely bad, but through this piece, I try and connect the hope of my mother and the trust she has always put into her Kurdistan and her sense of belonging to the mountains and everything that came with it. WATER has always provided for my family and for my country in more ways then I can count, this being one of them. 

would love to hear down below what you Dreamers think. 

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AMemoryAlêComment
MOM;
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Mom has always been a distant word for me, a word that seemed so foreign that I could not label you as because you were much more. You weren't "Mom" as my friends in school would call their parents, but you were always Dadê or Adâ. You went by words that were rooted in a variety of stories that categorized your life, you were rooted in culture, and in a powerful language that were created to describe everything you are in Kurdish.

You gave and sacrificed. You cried and asked why. You fought and won. 

You were Adâ because you were able to break off your roots in a land that was once dangerous and constantly smelled of apples. You broke off your roots in a land that called for you crying for you to return, but you knew that you had to leave. You carried those roots on your back to a new place that you hoped you could replant again. However, you knew that as you carry these broken roots on your back in the mountains away from the smell of apples and warplanes that you probably left unbreakable roots back in your homeland that you will forget. That will disappear because you could not carry them with you and that scared you the most. Forgetting and not being able to remember who you were back when life was simple. 

Even with such fears and lack of memory that you have you were able to protect and fight by constantly replanting your roots and breaking them to travel to a new country. Not for you, but for your children. You broke yourself each time, you cried and asked why each time, and you gave and sacrificed each time not for yourself but you fought and won to place your children in a new life. A life that didn't smell of apples, a life that didn't see warplanes everywhere they turned, and a life that didn't restrict everything you did. 

You weren't simply my mom as many others might put it, but you were much more because of the roots that you shared with me. You carried Kurdistan on your back and gave it to me to bring back home for you. Even with the broken roots and missing memories that have been forgotten in the land that we call home I learned about my culture, language, history, and families stories from you. I received my strong nature to fight for everything, and my emotional love for everything I hold dear to me from you. You are not only my Adâ, but my whole heart and everything beautiful about me. 

Happy Mothers Day Adâ


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Alê Comments
HALABJA;

Babû why are my eyes itching,
please tell me why are my eyes turning red?
why do I keep coughing,
Its hard to breathe Babû please save me.
why can't I feel your warmth while in your arms
why is your loving grip slowly disappearing?
Please tell me you're still breathing Babû..
Babû speak to me...
tell me everything will be alright
tell me that the smell of these apples are the signs of spring and new beginnings
tell me that we will go back to preparing for the Kurdish New Year with my mother and siblings. 

Babû the smell of these apples are growing stronger, I don't think I can hold on much longer. I don't think I have the strength to live through this. I'm sorry, I'm sorry that I had to die like this and that you had to die with me... I know much you wanted a son. I know how much you prayed every day to the skies for a son. Praying that God will finally gift you with one so you can experience an unbreakable love. I'm sorry babû that our love broke so fast because of those apples. I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough, I just couldn't breathe those apples didn't let me breathe... Why Babû why?

I know how much you wanted to save me because of how much you wanted me. Even before I was given to you, I heard you Babû, I heard your prayers. I was coming home to you, and I knew in your arms that is where my home was. 

You thought they were just bombs, bombs that would rise to the sky and not roam on the ground. You thought you were safe if you just took me in the basement for shelter. I believe you babû... I know that if you knew why the smell of apples grew in our beautiful town that you would have done things differently. I believe you.

I'm going to shut my eyes now... I'm too tired for this. Close them with me Babû let us fly the mountains together... Let us say goodbye to this pain and suffering and be free again live life the way Kurds were supposed to live. 

It's okay Babû don't cry for me. I am happy here, I can breathe again because  I'm with you flying through the mountains of Kurdistan. I can see again without my eyes itching and turning red, I'm alive. Don't feel bad because I didn't have a childhood. I'm with you, I heard your prayers when you cried to God calling for me and I came Babû. I came for you so you experience the love of having a son, and you did.

We can close our eyes together today on March 16, 1988, and as I close my eyes I know I have your loving grip around me and the warmth of your body on me. Thank you Babû, and now we can fly together. Forever in your warmth surrounded by the mountains looking down at my beautiful town still standing. 


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AlêComment
APPLES;

The smell of apples can be a sign of spring and new beginnings. The smell of apples has been a sign of life and tasteful creations of God. 

Though, our apples, our smells of those rotten apples were signs of a chemical storm dropping into a town of people. Our apples were the images of babies who died in their mother's arms, kids on the floor feet away from escaping, and men who all they cared about was protecting their own. 

Our smells of those rotten apples we're signs of people not knowing what was taking place and of people dropping to the ground. The Kurds smelled those apples and saw people die. The Kurds smelled those apples closed their eyes and saw nothing but the gates of heaven. The Kurds smelled those apples closed their eyes and now were little birds in the sky.

Our apples weren't of new beginnings but of a dark time in our history. They were not welcoming the signs of spring but killing the signs of life in the hands of chemical Ali and Saddam Hussein. They were not welcoming the celebration of Newroz, but the beginning of months of Anfal, months of genocide. 

The rotten apples still linger in our hearts and in the town of Halabja. Those rotten apples still haunt the people affected and grow tears in those who are grieving.

Though the smell of our apples didn't welcome new beginnings and a new life. Our Nergîz (narcissus) grew despite those apples. Grew to fight the smell of those apples and lived to destroy those apples. We created our new beginnings by remembering our old ones. 

We grew those Nergîz because just as our history is written we Kurds can overcome oppression, we grow stronger in our resistance and remember those days of those rotten apples to never forget who we are as individuals, as a people, and as a country. 

Let those Nergîz grow, but let us remember the days of those rotten apples forever. 


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AFRIN;

The olive trees have been known to grow. To grow with strong roots, strong branches, and even stronger stems. The olive trees have been known to grow. To grow with incredible texture and a strong taste. A taste of resistance, freedom, and strength. 

These olive trees are not trees to declare war. These olive trees are not the trees to freely destroy without consequence. The people who planted these trees that handpicked a land that is free allowed these trees to grow as strong as they could. 

these are trees that grow to protect a city and its people from men who allow these olive trees to bleed. From men who laugh at these olive trees crying. Who wait to count how many olives fall down these trees and smile. 

I speak to you to let these men know that there is something special about these olive trees that you declare and point your guns at. These trees with the strong branches, strong stems rise up. 

These olive trees I speak so highly of are the women who rise up against these men. The women who point their guns back at these men. Who protect cities, families, and children from the bloody guns of these men. These are the women who pick up those olives and place them back on the tree to allow them to grow freely and even more powerful than ever. 

Let us women rise up. Let us women rise up for the city of Afrin and the beautiful people who have been living in freedom and peace before these olive trees were attacked. The city who allows the freedom of trees to grow and who embrace and grieve the bloody flowers of red in their land. 

Let us raise and stand up for all of Afrin. Let the world know that the female voices of the world have risen for Afrin and its strong olive trees to fight back the oppression. 

Let us Echo the names of the people in Afrin 


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KIRKUK, KURDISTAN;

"I believe that Kurdistan will give up just about any place, but there is not a Kurd,  not even one single noble Kurd, that will give up Kirkuk" - Mam Jalal. 

We have struggled, given up, and died for Kurdistan. We have cheered, celebrated, and praised in all four parts of Kurdistan. We cried, prayed, and screamed with just the mere thought of losing Kurdistan.

We cry with the mountains surrounding us soaking up the water to give life to the next generation. We pray with the mountains surrounding us hearing our prayers by growing stronger and faster against our oppressors, our enemies. We scream with the mountains surrounding us echoing our calls so the world can finally hear us. 

to hear our message that we will never give up Kirkuk. Kirkuk has the rightful place in the hearts of every Kurdish citizen. We will cry, pray, and scream knowing that our voices will eventually be heard and our Kirkuk will be returned to us. We have fought long and hard for the recognition that is placed upon us today. We will fight even harder, pray harder, and scream louder to bring Kirkuk back to the peaceful and accepting borders of Kurdistan. 

Resistance and the strength to fight has been embedded in the mountains before I was born. The cries of our ancestors are still being seen with the plants that still continue to grow and the waters still continue to follow in moments of dryness. The prayers of our ancestors are still being known with the strength and presence of the mountains and the screams of our ancestors that still continue to echo in between the mountains telling us...

To never give up Kurdistan. To never lose any part of our land to our oppressors and enemies & to always remember Kirkuk is and forever will be where our hearts reside.  

Kirkukê Dilê Kurdistanê 

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AlêComment
IF ONLY I COULD SPEAK;

If only I could speak I would tell you that I'm crying but I can't seem to wipe my tears. I'm bleeding but I can't stop the blood from flowing into the ground. I'm hurt but nobody knows how to fix my heart.

If only I could speak I would tell you that I cry every time a fighter takes their last breath, I bleed every time a bomb is dropped on the land that represents me. I hurt when the world turns it back on me and the people that protect me. 

I am crying but nobody seems to care, I bleed and now the rivers are red, I hurt because people try to divide my heart into four. I'm weak. 

If only I could speak I would tell you that I have nurtured strong fighters who use my mountains for protection. That I have nurtured the people of my land who represent the light that is shined on them every day. That I have nurtured the trees, flowers, and fields of food to grow from the blood that won't stop flowing. 

I have sacrificed my land which was intended for peace, freedom, and independence. I have sacrificed my mountains to protect and fight those who consider the people of my land enemies. If only I could speak I would tell you that I fight so the people in my land can have a celebration of independence, to know what freedom is and to live in peace. 

You see I will continue to cry while the world cheers, I will continue to bleed while the world watches, and I will continue to hurt while the world tries to divide my heart into four. I will fight back while the world sees me cry. I will be strong while the world wants me to die and I will unite while the world wants me to divide. 

Because I am Kurdistan. I am the land that protects the people who live with me. I am the mountains that protect the villages and roads that move within me. I am the sun that shines it's 21 rays on the land that was born from resistance and that fought oppression. 

If only I could speak I would tell you that I am Kurdistan and nobody can deny that.

- Alê 

(If only I could speak is a piece written with the perspective of if only Kurdistan could speak what would it tell the world?)   


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KurdistanAlêComment
MY FEMALE VOICE OF THE WORLD;

I love discovering talented, brave and fierce Kurdish young girls who are passionate about their homeland and how they work towards making a change for gender equality in our male dominant society. You are very much appreciated and loved and will always have my support and respect, no matter where you are, know that you are not alone and that I stand with you. - Dashni

Read Alin’s beautiful and honest story here below, enjoy angels.


Hello, my name is Alin Saidali

I am 21 years old (turning 22 on November 14th) Kurdish woman living in Canada. I am currently enrolled in my 4th year of University to become an English and Geography teacher.

I never saw myself simply finishing university and finding a secure and safe job teaching children in Canada. I dreamt of my life in a place that kept my heart ever since visiting in 2011. I was dreaming of Kurdistan, the dream of being surrounded by the mountains, by the children running around playing soccer on the streets and by seeing my people thrive and succeed. My dream was to teach in Kurdistan, to teach the children of Kurdistan as the next generation. I try my best every day to pursue these dreams not only for me but for my parents who came to Canada in 1995 after escaping Saddam Hussein’s brutal attacks in Bashur. I have so many dreams that all end up with my love for my people, for my country, and for the fight of freedom. In May of this year, I decided to create a website where I could creatively write about things that were on my mind and the only thing that was on my mind was Kurdistan. I created a website called Kurdish Dream where I wrote about oral stories that my parents told me of how they escaped genocide and I wrote about Kurdistan and the need for Independence. Bringing the aspect of Kurdish fashion and the Kurdish community together allowed for a perfect audience. My overall dream is to help my country in any way possible, to never take my life for granted and be a leading example of never giving up on your dreams even if people think it’s too crazy to happen.

Throughout my life, I faced multiple hardships because of the fact I did not want to be placed in such a life that I did not create for myself or want for myself. I’ve had people ask me when am I going to get married assuming that my time is almost up and If I don’t marry before the age of 30 it's over for me. Unfortunately, I’ve had my own parents be pressured to try and restrict me because they fear that people in the Kurdish community would speak poorly about me. Some have laughed when I speak about my dreams and passions, some think I’m crazy when I tell them I want to live in Kurdistan to teach. My hardships have always come along with the stereotypes and assumptions people have about me based on my gender and my culture. The idea of finding a profession to go into so you could settle down, marry a man and have children as if it’s a checklist and needing to do one after another.

I’ve learned to deal with the criticism because I realized that what I am doing with my life to pursue my dreams and be independent is not what individuals see on a regular basis especially in the Kurdish community. I survive these struggles knowing that my country and my people have survived terrible things that I can never imagine and yet they still continue to lead and befriend the mountains. I will continue to survive so I can push the odds of what a stereotypical Kurdish woman is supposed to do and to be there to help my country through education and bringing awareness to my people.

The biggest advice I can give is to never listen to anyone who belittles your dreams and your passions, to continue to grow into an independent woman and make something beautiful out of yourself. To be the individual you choose to be not allowing the restrictions that you face based on your gender or even your culture destroy what you have because what you have is gold. Don’t ever underestimate your strength, you need to continue to fight so you can change the stereotypes people see in young woman by accomplishing what is in the purest spot in your heart because trust me everything will fall into place at the end.

I hope you felt a glimpse of motivation while reading and thank you Dashni for the amazing opportunity to speak about such an important subject. Supas bû hemîya, Bijî Kurd û Kurdistan.


Check out the piece on her Facebook by clicking HERE

Check out the piece on her Instagram by clicking HERE

Always check out my Instagram for more posts by clicking HERE

#FemaleVoicesOfTheWorld


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PESHMERGA;

Every time I see those mountains I'm reminded of you. I'm reminded of you as a fighter. The fighter who fought for those 21 rays and the unconditional love for the mountains. The ones who faced death when the world caused you pain. The ones who approached death's door when the world ran away. 

The person who fought without question because the mountains were screaming for friends, for protection. I see those mountains knowing that each rock that was carved into creating my country was created with a purpose and a story. A story of battles and blood. Stories of victory and death. Stories that seem so far away, but still happen amongst it all. 

I notice the poppies that have handpicked their spots in those mountains, in those fields of battle and blood. To remind us what you did for the world and for the people that grew surrounded by the beauty of green. Poppies that grew from the love that you had and the blood that you spilled for my family to wake up to those mountains every day. 

Those poppies represent the seeds that grew in us. The seeds that the world thought had disappeared and been eradicated had grown. It spread, picked their spots and drew their rightful line of land to call home. 

You created those poppies with the stories you shared, with the memories of loss and with the thought of love. Those poppies became our seeds of life, success, and pride for the mountains. The mountains that protected us when the world turned its back on us, battled with us when the world tried to destroy our seeds and guided us in times of darkness when the sun would rest in the west. 

You, my brave Peshmerga fighter, remind me of the mountains and everything Kurdistan stands for. You planted those seeds in the fields of the mountains and allowed them to grow when the world tried to poison us. You created those poppies with the blood of the brave men and women that fought to protect us. 

You, my brave Peshmerga, allowed those mountains to be our view every morning and our prayer every night. You have allowed me to identify a clear home that will be surrounded by the mountains, by the poppies that grow and by the brave Peshmerga fighters that will forever fight for my home. 

Thank you

Dedicated to the pêshmerga. Wrote this on Remembrance Day/Veterans Day 

Bijî Kurd Û Kurdistan.
Bijî Pêshmerga

-Alê


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THE LIGHT;

My father who is in Kurdistan at the moment took this photo in Barzan while paying his out most respects to the incredible leaders. The leaders that spoke to my father in more ways than one giving him the courage to fight along with the pêshmerga during the Saddam era. He prayed for Kurdistan and thanked Mullah Mustafa Barzani for the incredible and brave work he did to fight for Kurdish freedom. My dad experienced something beautiful that day. While the light from the sun was diminishing being laid to rest he still saw the rays of the sun peaking through. The sun of the Kurdistan flag peaked through covering the mountains and the beautiful flowers that handpicked their spot in Barzan. You see even in times when we expect it to be dark with no light guiding us we as the Kurdish community who make up the beautiful Kurdistan are able to see the light every time our flag is flying in the sky. We see the 21 rays that cover every inch of Kurdistan and protect us from the darkness that may fight its way into our mountains. 

 Though darkness often times may fight its way through the beautiful rays of sun in Kurdistan it will never be apart of our rewritten history. We as Kurds need to unite stay strong, hopeful and most of all continue to fight for freedom and peace because we have never given up on our dreams. A dream that is commonly shared throughout Kurdistan of one day allowing that light that is represented by those 21 rays to shine every day without that sudden darkness coming through. While my father was in Barzan the light from the Kurdistan flag continued to shine even in the moments of darkness peaking through while the sun was setting. Without darkness, our light cannot grow as strong and as bright. We as Kurds need to accept these dark times to understand the light that everyone has fought for. We need to continue fighting for those moments of light because it will be the light that wakes us up on the day of independence. The light that will peak through your windows shining brighter than ever to let us Kurds know that the Kurds have won the war of independence. 

My father stands in Barzan acknowledging the light and knowing Kurdistan will soon get its moment to shine forever. 

Bijî Kurd û Bijî Kurdistan

-Alê

A GENERATIONS DREAM;

My father who strongly and proudly holds the Kurdistan flag as he is wearing traditional Kurdish clothing. He holds one side of the flag while I, his daughter hold the other. We are standing together holding the flag of freedom, the flag of independence, and the flag of Kurdistan. 

As I am holding this flag I think about all the stories, traditions, culture, and language my father had gifted me with. It was his dream to take care of his children and teach them the dream of Kurdistan. As I stand beside my father with the Kurdistan flag in between us I want to thank him for teaching me the importance of accepting my Kurdish identity. The importance of dreaming because all we could do was dream of Kurdistan and to dream of better days. He walks proudly representing his generation of dreamers and I walk proudly representing the generation of mine. I walk proudly knowing that everything I learned, I learned from the man who would do anything for his land and his people. A man who dreamed of going back to Kurdistan with his family to start a new life there, who wanted nothing, but freedom for his country.

My father and I walk together holding the beauty of the sun, praying for the blood of the peshmerga, and reflecting on the beautiful nature of the mountains. Though my father has lived a longer life than me our dream is still one. 

Our dream is what generations before us dreamt about, what the peshmergas fight for, and what rightfully belongs to us. Nobody can take away our right and our reality from us because we had declared those lands before you people knew about its beauty. We had celebrated our traditions before you knew who we were. As I stand here by my father who is a  peshmerga, a son, a brother, and an uncle I dream the same. Though I do not feel the same I can only imagine the pain and struggle of having to leave his roots behind and start fresh in another country. To fight every day to keep the Kurdish dream, traditions, culture, and language alive in his children as the next generation.  

We both hold this flag representing separate generations of the same blood. Holding the same dream, same identity, and the same ethnicity I share this moment with my father as a way of letting him know that his struggles created a strong independent Kurdish woman who will do anything to see that flag represented on a world stage as the newly declared country called "Kurdistan". 

Bijî Kurd û Kurdistan

- Alê


As I write this Diary entry my father is on his way to Kurdistan. He left to vote on September 25th for the referendum of Kurdistan. If that does not show true dedication to Kurdistan I don't know what will. Love you Bab, Insha'allah Salamatî ghîya malâ xou. 

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REFERENDUM;

How lucky are we to be apart of the true path. A path that led all of us individuals who make up Kurdistan to true independence. As we walk through the path we carry all those before us, we appreciate the blood that spilled for the next generation and we remember those who dreamt of this journey.  

Kurdistan's referendum is the beginning of the journey of independence. As we vote yes, we vote yes thinking about Mullah Mustafa Barzani and the revolution that took place in the past. we vote yes thinking about Qazi Mohammed speech. We vote yes thinking about all those individuals who died in the hands of our oppressors in Bashur, Bakur, Rojhelat, and Rojava.

This journey to independence is much more than any political gathering or separation of our people. We vote yes because we are Kurdish. A Kurd who looks past any political goal and only looks at the true goal of independence. A goal that has been embedded into our minds ever since we were just children. We dreamt of independence for our parents and the genocide they faced during the Anfal campaigns. We dreamt of independence every day thinking about those who we lost, and those who we wish we could see again. We dreamt of independence because we know with a country we will be free from oppressors, genocide, and discrimination.  

This referendum will create a true journey for independence because we have waited too long. It's our time to declare those mountains that are rightfully ours. To declare those cities that have been left behind and to open the doors for all people of all religions who support Kurdistan.

- Alê


September 25th will be the day where we take that step towards our independence and rightfully so. Vote yes for your parents, your grandparents, and for greater Kurdistan. 

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INDEPENDENCE;

The dictionary definition of Independence is stated as "not influenced by others in matters of opinion, conduct; thinking or acting for oneself" being "autonomous and free" and "not being dependent upon something else for existence". When reading this definition of independence I think about Kurdistan and how the definition of Kurdistan's independence has been written in our history, it is seen within our borders and will be present when true independence is declared for the people of Kurdistan. The definition of true independence will be created when Kurdistan is finally able to change its history. The definition that reflects on Kurdish independence is the heart of Kurdistan, the dreams of its people, and the blood of its fighters coming together to declare independence. 

You see, through everything that my people have been through, through the consent battle of fighting to just merely exist in our oppressor's eyes to declaring those rightful borders as ours is something that reflects on more than just being independent. Through the constant genocide, constant oppression, and constant enemies on all four sides independence will be shown as a gift to us Kurds because we fought when no one knew we were alive. We fought when Saddam attacked every village, we fought when Assad did not allow the Kurdish language to be spoken, we fought when Erdogan would kill children calling them terrorists, we fought when any form of Kurdish celebration would get you killed in Rojhelat. 

We dreamt for independence not because we believed that it was something that would only be possible in our dreams, but we dreamt because we knew that there will be a time when the world will see what we knew all along. The Kurds are the true protectors and lions of Kurdistan, through every side, every inch, and every border we fought not only to protect ourselves but to protect every individual, religion, celebration, and coroner of Kurdistan. We have become the light in the middle east and as true as our sun can be, as pure as our blood can bleed we will always be fighters. 

Fighters with each passing generation because we were never taught to back down. Our parents fought for their existence and their chance to stay alive when the world kept silent and barrels of apples kept flying. Our parents fought when they left everything behind in the mountains to step out into the unknown world. We as the next generation continue to fight so our parent's struggles don't go down in vain. We fight so our country can taste the freedom and independence and we will continue to fight for that dream to come true.   

because without the dreams of Mullah Mustafa Barzani, Qazi Mohamad, and Abdullah Ocalan we would be nothing. Our independence will come and our definition will forever stay true. We will forever celebrate because nothing will ever stop us from declaring what we (Kurds) already know to be. The world will find out what Kurdistan is truly all about.

- Alê


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TO TRULY BE A KURD;

It seems like nowadays stating you are Kurdish comes with nothing, but an unaccepted status without a true identity. Being a Kurd within this generation is seen with no awareness of the oppression, the history, or the true culture of what it means to be Kurdish. I often see Kurds who have assimilated into our oppressor's culture, Kurds who never speak about their Kurdish heritage and Kurds who still continue to deny their identity and their obligation to know about what being a true Kurd really means. 

To truly be a Kurd is to allow yourself the time and openness to educate yourself on what being Kurdish truly stands for. It is to give respect to your elders and allow their experiences and stories to be heard through oral traditions. To allow their experiences be valued and accepted as part of the Kurdish history. Being a true Kurd is to understand the vocabulary and language that is used and understand the idea to deny the oppressors language on our land. To not identify Kurds as part of the oppressors country, but to identify them as part of Kurdistan's four beautiful sides (for example to not say Kurdêt Turkey or Kurdêt Iraqê, but to say Kurdêt Bakur or Kurdêt Bashur). 

To truly be a Kurd is to express what you absolutely love about Kurdistan, but also express your opinions on what you believe we need to change. To never allow oppressors to speak about Kurdistan unjustly and to always stand up for yourself like a true representation of our mountains as strong and as beautiful. To stand up for those who could not speak because all they smelled was apples, to stand up for those who could not stand because all they saw was airplanes attacking their villages, and to stand up for those who could not see because barring the sight of losing their loved ones as out of the question. To acknowledge the bravery and pure hearts of our fighters who protect every inch of Kurdistan. To thank those who fought and those who still remember every inch of those mountains. Being a true Kurd is not just love for our own nation or your own religion, but to support every nation who is struggling, every community who has been oppressed, and every culture who has faced genocide because with support comes love and with love comes with the ability to confidently grow.

Through that it is allowing yourself to love who loves you, to love who supports you, and to love who you truly are because without love nothing can grow. Through the growth of one's self, you will find what the true meaning behind being a Kurd really is and why being a Kurd is the true beauty of your identity. 

- Ale


I encourage discussions down below feel free to state your opinions respectfully 

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& Happy Eid to all (Eida
wa hemîya pîroz dkam)

IS IT REALLY LOVE;

I often sit and think about how incredible God created us Kurds, with such beautiful qualities and characteristics. We were created with nothing, but love. Love for our mountains, our people, our language, and everything in between. The love we have for our country is truly one of a kind because with each passing generation our love grows stronger and even more passionate. I have experienced this love along with the rest of my country and even with all our enemies denying our existence, we continue to grow stronger and love harder. 

However, Is it really love when we write about Kurdistan being our home and the mountains being our friends when we trash the mountains with our garbage and leftovers? 

Is it really love when we say, "the mountains are our only friends" but don't take care of the mountains or protect them? Is it really love when we pray for an accepting nation, but go and kill animals in the streets or the mountains?

Is it really love when we state that Kurds should never be divided, but we demonize and restrict women within the community? Is it really love when we pray for an independent Kurdistan, but contribute in all of these wrong doings within our community? 

I sit and reflect on the amount of love we state we have in our country and with one another, but some individuals actions never reflect it. We have been oppressed throughout many generations, we have cried for our freedom, fought for our rights and our protection within the mountains, yet we still treat our land like it's nothing.

We (as the Kurdish community in general) throw our trash on the beloved mountains that our parents used as protection against Saddam's regime. We throw our trash while we are in the mountains celebrating Newroz (Kurdish New Year), but don't even have the respect for our land to pick it up and dispose of it. Yet we love Kurdistan?

We kill animals that have always been a significant part of our culture because we believe that animals don't have the same value as humans. We kill animals for pleasure and we kill animals out of anger. Yet we love Kurdistan?

Is it really love if you are sitting down and reading this telling yourself you have done these things? Love Kurdistan wholeheartedly, love every piece of it, respect every inch of it, and value every individual in its land and borders because without the love we hold for our land those mountains, people, and animals won't be able to grow in such hate and we as a country won't be able to grow in such conditions. 

- Ale


I do apologize for not posting frequently I had family come for my cousin's wedding and I wanted to spend as much time as I can with them. As some of my family members left and the house is quiet I have time to really sit down and write for you guys.

writing this post I wanted to come back stronger than ever.

I hope you enjoy!  


 


 

BAKUR;

This is where my families history had journeyed toward. This is where the Kurdish history had journeyed towards, the journey toward freedom, acceptance, and equality. However, the journey was not where Bakur was placed upon. Bakur (North Kurdistan) did everything in their power to protect the Kurds, but the visitors of our land did everything they could to dehumanize and belittle the Kurds. The Kurds who ran for the mountains during the time of genocide and death by Saddam. However, the so-called "leader" did nothing to allow freedom for my people. All he installed was more fear and sadness. 

My parents who lived in the Amed camp from 1988 to 1990, had experienced troubling times upon the streets that were named as Turkish. These Kurds were visitors in their own land, soil, and mountains because this land was declared to be Turkey. My parents lived in a ruling where outside those walls that divided the Kurds from society was no place for Kurds at all. The Kurds, like my father, who went out of the so-called protection of the walls to find jobs, money or food for his family was presented with the Turkish army attacking anything in relation to the idea of Kurdistan. The army attacked Kurds on sight without explanation and justification not allowing for the native language to be spoken in their own soil.

The government, as told by my grandfather who was also in this camp, would hand out food such as bread to the refugees. However, often times some of the pieces of bread carried poison of some sort along with it. This was a way of slowly eradicating and destroying the Kurds. Imagine running away from a dictator who killed Kurds by using forceful violence and chemicals to be led by another dictator who was using forceful violence and poison to get rid of the Kurds. My parents experienced violence, inequality, and forceful discipline because they were Kurdish. Living in their homeland of Kurdistan without ever feeling like a home because of these so-called leaders.

However, Bakur was a piece of Kurdistan and will always be. We declared these lands before such dictators and so-called leaders were announced. Bakur took care of my family through the nurturing, the protection, and the acceptance within the Refugee camp. Where the Kurds were all united and experiencing it all as one. Even with the forceful violence that was implemented the Kurds continued to stick together. The Kurds continue to remember each other, the memories they shared, the celebrations they created, and the weddings that were presented. Bakur protected my parents, Amed created strength in my parents, and Kurdistan continued to love my parents. Within those walls that divided the Kurds from society were walls that protected the culture and tradition, it created love and allowed it to grow. It created strength and the future within the next generation. 

United we stand, growing together in a garden of red, yellow, white, and green flowers

- Ale

Unfortunately, after visiting the Refugee camp in Amed I did not take a lot of photos because I was told by the guy at the hotel my father and I stayed at that a lot of people will just grab your phones on the street and in your pockets so I left my phone in the hotel room. I did take a lot of videos, but there's no way for me to add videos to blog posts. 

The photo was also taken on my way to Amed from Duhok in 2014.


Sopas

CAMP;

Approaching an area in a city North of Kurdistan, which was occupied by the Turkish Government. A city in Bakur, where my father and mother met, was categorized as a refugee camp. I visited an area that seemed so detached and separate from society. With gates and walls blocking off the individuals that were living in the apartments. We were in Amed, Kurdistan which is categorized to the world as Diyarbakir. I was with my father, mother, aunt, and cousin. My father was categorizing these apartments and neighborhood where his family stayed after many days of occupying borders of what is known to be Turkey when escaping the genocide of Saddam. Walking in these streets with my mother and father seeing oddly enough smiles on their faces. I think they realized how far they have come. From being refugees in what was categorized as a different country with no money and no way to speak outside these walls. To coming back with their daughter with the freedom to walk around in the streets with a Canadian passport and not to be questioned. This was important because during the time anything related to Kurdish identity, culture, and traditions were banned.

As I stand in front of the building that my parents lived in being shown the room in which my father lived in with his family. Being shown where he lived after his father had kicked him out at the age of 16-18 when he got married to my mother. He had lived in the basement of this 3 story apartment building, where he would often leave my mother alone to go work and find food. You see though me standing in front of this building I don't see what my parents see, I don't feel what my parents feel. I'm being taught these stories trying my best to remember because I don't want my parent's struggles and difficulties go down in vain. The struggles that I worry no one will hear them or remember them. I start to feel like my mind is writing down these notes with every sentence my father speaks about his experience here. The kids that live in this camp start surrounding me because I start to take pictures with my phone. I tell myself that pictures will speak a thousand words that I won't have room to write within my mind.

My dad shows me the basement where he lived with my mother. I see it as a caged cell that we are not allowed to go through. I see it as a prison where my grandfather threw my dad in and soon the anger I had for my grandfather starts to resurface. However, I will never let it control me again. Even as I stand on this street, in this apartment building, holding these bars that lock me out of the basement it's hard for me to imagine what life my parents lived at ages 16-18. Even pictures would not be able to illustrate their true experiences in the moment within this refugee camp. However, as my parents smiled when they arrived at this camp, I will smile too because I know that my parents beat any odds that were placed on them for survival. They smile because they come back to this moment when it was just my father and my mother but they brought me. A true testament that they were able to beat the voices of individuals who tried to eradicate the Kurds. They won the fight because they were able to escape grow a family, and come back stronger than ever and being able to just remember the memories and smile.

- Ale

 my father standing in the 2nd floor of the hallway looking out the caged windows.

my father standing in the 2nd floor of the hallway looking out the caged windows.

 door leading to the apartment bulding 

door leading to the apartment bulding 

 The streets of the refugee camp 

The streets of the refugee camp 


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Sopas