Get To Know: Bestan Star
When my parents fled Saddam’s regime in 1996 they ended up in Finland in 1997 and a year later I was born. Out of my siblings, I am the only one who wasn’t born in Kurdistan and because of that, my dad wanted to make sure that I grew up knowing about my culture and identity and knowing that I am a Kurd. My dad taught me all of his favourite Kurdish songs and as I started first grade my mom taught me how to read and write in Kurdish too. that really assisted me and still does to this day. Knowing how to read and write in Kurdish also came in hand when we moved back home for a year. Yearly visits are regular for my family, for that, I’m very grateful.
Growing up, weekly Kurdish lessons at my school with other Kurdish students helped me learn even more about myself and my people. I could relate to the other students, and also thanks to Kurdish lessons I made lifelong Kurdish friends from all four parts! Yearly Newroz parties were also part of the memo and some of the best memories happened there, so I didn’t grow up secluded from my nationality, it just never got deeper than that. It was not until the first year of high school when I really started to get interested.
I started reading about the history of my people and that lead to me being more involved. The mythology, genocides, religions, different dialects all hidden behind the oppression of four racist countries: Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey (ew). The pictures I see of my people, Kurdish women, men and children with pain in their eyes as they face genocides, killings, kidnappings all speak to me. I feel guilt in the sense that I got to grow up living such a comfortable life while my people are struggling to survive. Kurds are still to this day being denied their identity, language, culture, freedom, even naming their children Kurdish names. And for that reason I don’t only strive for success I strive to be of value so I can help as much as possible.
“We started with the spirit of the youth, and with the spirit of the youth we will succeed.” - Abdullah Öcalan