Welcome home; Duhokâ Rengîn
I still remember the time I traveled from Canada to Kurdistan with my father in 2012. This was many many years after I visited Kurdistan when I was a young girl in 2000 with my family. When life was completely different for Kurds and how they lived their daily lives. As cheesy as it sounds, I remember when we were finally in Duhok and I stepped out of the car for the first time in awe by the mountains that surrounded me. I stepped out of the car for the first time in along time and was memorized by the mountains. How the mountains where able to protect every inch and every corner that was Duhok. Smelling the air of warmth and freedom. I stepped out of that car and knew from that moment I did not want to leave this place. The mountains, the people, my family. It was like I found a new part of me that I never knew during the time could happen. I was introduced to my family who I only remember spitting images/memories of. I was introduced to the mountains with their names and the memories my father holds of him fighting as a pêshmerga (Kurdish army) on the mountains. I was introduced to the culture with daily reminders that this was nothing like Canadian culture. I was introduced to the idea of not knowing everyone but knowing them as your brother and sister because we were all Kurdish speaking a beautiful, historical, and loving language. I stepped out of the car ready to embrace my Kurdish culture, ethnicity, and traditions as an individualized part of me. I was able to create friendships with my family that could never be imaginable in Canada. I bonded with my family members that I never even knew existed and I created my unconditional love for Kurdistan. I knew that after I step out of the car my life would change forever... and it did. Duhok is the city where my love for Kurdistan became a reality. This is where my love for history started to grow and where my love for knowledge continued. My friendship with Kurdistan and its mountains is what keeps my passion relevant. My friendship with the mountains was assigned to me at birth, but only after this trip with my father the mountains truly became my friends. As every Kurd understands the mountains will forever be our only friends and I will forever love Duhok, Kurdistan as my only home and the place where my love grew.
(this story was written on the basis of what I remember a friend telling me after I came back from Kurdistan in 2012 with my father. She had sat me down and told me that ever since I came back I've changed. She talked to me as if it was a bad thing that my personality was different and how I acted was not like me. However, I was finally able to accept my culture in such a white and westernized society. This is why I wrote this piece because I am extremely happy my father took me to Kurdistan when he did because I've never been more content with myself and my identity. I changed in 2012 because I was able to finally see my differences among people who all acted the same)