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.