Posts in AMemory

“What if there isn’t enough time to give her what she deserves do you think if I begged the sky hard enough my mother’s soul would return to me as my daughter so I can give her the comfort she gave me my whole life" - Rupi Kaur”

There would never be enough time in my mothers life that I can give back to her. There would never be enough moments in her life where I can do everything for her. Before I was even born she did everything for me, before she knew who I was she killed her entire life for me. A life that took her away from her home, took her away from her family and pushed her to the other side of the world just for a new outcome in her children’s lives. She killed her entire life for me knowing that I was soon going to bloom into a flower who needed water and not gunshots, who needed sun and not fire, who needed love and not war. I wish I could give everything back to her and return what she has done for me, but the fact is I can’t. Even imagining what my mother went through is something I myself can’t fully comprehend. So how am I suppose to give her everything, if I myself don’t know truly what she gave me. I know that if my mother did not leave Kurdistan and leave the war I would not be here, I know that if my mother did not illegally cross over into Greece for the hopes of a better life for her family I would not be here. The sacrifices that my mother did slowly killed her life, her home in Kurdistan and her spirits for her return. The sacrifices that my mother did, which had killed her life did birth her children into a life that had everything and more. Birthed a life that my mother could not comprehend, but knew it was nothing like her life and that is what she wanted.

There will never be enough time for my mother to get what she deserves, not enough words that can allow my mother to get what she deserves, and not enough things to get what she deserves. What my mother did is unimaginable. What my mother did is indescribable. I hope that my life itself and what my mother did for me to be birthed in a country that echoes freedom with open arms is enough for her. I hope that once I walk down to graduate in June and receive my degrees it will be enough for her. I hope that once I give back to the country that birthed her, the village that raised her, and the people that nurtured her it will be enough for her because she has always been more than enough for me.

Dedicated to my Mother, Happy Mothers Day!

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"No matter how much I pluck and pull them my eyebrows always find their way back to each other" @rupikaur_ 

A past memory and a present struggle of ones who seem to find their way back to each other. Memories of laughing, teasing and bullying at a young age because I was my fathers daughter and it showed. The anger that I had rooted in those long hairs that kept my eyebrows together. The flat out embarrassment I felt looking at myself knowing that I couldn't break my eyebrows apart. The struggle of not being allowed to touch my eyebrows because my parents knew it was an action that was rooted in anger, but as I got older I did anyway. I plucked and plucked away the connection and before I even realized there was barley anything left. Yet my eyebrows still found a way back to each other. It has become a weekly struggle to separate and disconnect the memories of me when my eyebrows played as one. When my thick black unibrow would match my thick black moustache and that would match the patterns of the thick black waves of hair on my arms. Lovers is what they will be separated for now but not forever apart. I will stand as one with all my patterns and waves connecting together showing what I was and forever will be my fathers daughter.

a daughter who is not ashamed to share who she is and where these hairs have come from. Not ashamed to say why my eyebrows can’t seem to separate, they’re too much in love I say. I say this now as if I was aware of the cultural ties that pushed my eyebrows together as one, of the traditions that grew in between my eyebrows like flowers, and the ancestral knowledge that grew within me as each hair came out of hiding. I was a daughter who grew her hair to distract the world from her eyebrows, who wore long sweaters to hide the waves that would wash over her arms in black, who kept her head down as much as possible to hide the moustache that wouldn’t stop showing on her upper lip. I will though, stand as one with all my patterns and waves connecting together showing what I was and forever will be the daughter of Kurdistan.

[This is Me ] 

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Let those who wish to knock on this door be of those who accept me and my family. Let the knocks of those who wish to enter a small home in the basement be of acceptance and love. As I fear for my life every time I accept those knocks into my home. As I fear for my children if I allow those knocks to be heard. I pray that these knocks who want to visit my family of four are those of community and family. Are those that are happy that I along with my husband were able to escape genocide and those rotten apples. I fear that those knocks do not haunt me in my sleep when I remember the sounds of helicopters and the voices of Arab men who are try to find us. I wish that those knocks would not terrify me, but they do and I am alone.

I am alone, but want the presence of family to be around me. Even though I am scared in a new country not knowing the language I do not want those Arab men to continue to trap my culture and identity in. I do not want them to silence my story by not allowing me to share my journey of freedom. Let the journey of recovering be through those knocks that once terrified me to open. Let the journey of accepting be of those knocks that wish to know more about me and my family’s story.

I hope before you knock on this door and open the gate to my world you feel the presence of a family of four sheltered in the four corners of the basement. I hope that before you try to peak through the cracks and spaces in the gate you understand a mother's protection for her children. I hope that before there is the slight thought of wanting to knock you are introduced to the history and story of this family. A Kurdish family who escaped the ending of a death story that was written by the hands of Chemical Ali and Saddam Hussien. By imagining the unbearable life that we have had to get here. Imagine the smell of those rotten apples that still seem to linger around. Roaming through the air in the basement, on the clothes of the children, in the hearts of the family, and in the tears of the parents. Imagine the relationship with the water that illegally guided them here to this door and the voices of the Arab men that are seen in the nightmares. Allow the history to sink in, and now hear the Kurdish music through the windows by the door. Hear the Kurdish language being spoken through the walls and see the pictures of the Kurdish mountains right next to the Kurdistan flag being displayed in the corner of the home.

Now you can knock and allow the greetings of my mother and father to prove that the Kurdish spirit has not been eradicated. That the story of Chemical Ali and Saddam Hussien didn’t end in death and the disappearance of a culture, but ended in Kurdish families just like this one in the streets of a foreign land who choose to to remember, retell, and share their story. We are very much alive with tears in our eyes, but pure love in our hearts. Let the knocks invite you into our home and let us tell you our story. A story not of death, but of second chance.

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The act of forgetting is the scariest thing to see and experience. I'm scared to forget my childhood and moments that I want to enjoy and relive all over again. I’m scared to forget such incredible and emotional stories that my parents chose to tell me about their past. I'm scared that I will forget to mention every beautiful thing about our Kurdish history to my children. I’m scared that I wont remember because what with forgetting comes the lack of stories, memories, and history that can be passed down from generation to generation. Every chance I get, I am constantly asking questions about certain gaps that I have created in my head about my parents story and their journey to this very moment. I ask question after question hoping that my brain can accumulate all this information and allow it to stay there in enough time for me to share these stories to my kids. For my parents, I do not want their stories to be lost in a world of materialistic things. For my parents, I do not want their stories to disappear or never be shared because it was seen as unimportant. This is why I am here today. 

I want to know every story, every tale; everyday that my parents lived, cried, escaped and celebrated to reach this moment. I want to know every part of history, every song, and every poem that was created in love of my country. I want to know every singer, every artist, and every leader that had Kurdistan in their hearts to the moment they took their first breath. My fear of forgetting is shared with my passion for my country and stories that millions of Kurds share on how they escaped genocide and war. My fear of forgetting is shared with my emotional attachment to my parents and the life that will soon come to an end for all of us. I fear that I haven't asked enough questions to get all the stories that I can. I fear that my brain will forget about these stories 10 years, 20 years or 30 years from now. I fear that I will be like my mother who has sadness in her eyes and anger in her voice because every question that her daughter seems to ask her is answered with "I can't remember" or "I don't know, stop asking". My strategy to ask question after question only seems to hurt my mother who has forgotten stories about her past, information about her mother, and moments that have subconsciously been avoided due to trauma. Through talking to my mother I've learned to try and avoid such topics. My mother who has lost her own mother can't remember certain things about her. This I've learned to avoid in fear of seeing tears in her eyes due to the realization that what is forgotten is never coming back and what is dead is never returning.

My fear of forgetting and seeing someone I love forget is also interconnected with the fear of time. I fear my time does not have enough seconds, minutes and hours to remember these stories that I wait so eagerly to be shared or answered. My time restricts me from spending those seconds, minutes and hours with family who currently live in Kurdistan away from the questions that I am constantly asking . Every second, minute and hour that passes, I fear that questions I want to ask my grandpa are coming to a close. Every second, minute and hour that passes I fear that my mother will avoid every question that I ask because now she has forgotten her whole life. With the last seconds, minutes, and hours that pass I fear that my father will have his last moment of forgetting to be of me and his children. 

So I sit here still in fear of the forgotten, fearing the stories that will stay untold, and the moments that will forever be lost. I sit here writing about my fears hoping that it will spark a small moment in time that I just now remembered, or a story that I was told that my brain kept silent. As I am who I am today, I will forever fear the forgotten and the moment of forgetting. I write to tackle such fears, I write as much as I can with every moment that I experience. I write to never be able to forget, to have stories where not only my family can read and remember, but my children can look back on and understand. Understand my story and how my story is my parents story that is all connected as one. 

And so I try and remember those stories that were told to me in the car at 10 pm when my father would drive to my University just to pick me up to go home. I try and remember the stories that were told to me on our countless drives to visit my sister and her husbands house. I try and remember the stories that were told to me in the moments of driving to the village with my parents on those unforgettable trips to Kurdistan with the mountains surrounding us. I will never stop trying to remember, and never stop asking questions and hearing stories because I need these stories to write. I need these stories to share, I want to remember these stories not just for me, but for those who think their stories are better left untold.  

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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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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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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!

Asisbiz World Photographs

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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When a moment of despair had reached my life, it was a moment where I did not know how to react. My life turned from laughing at my uncle and taking selfies with my aunt, to finding out by a Facebook status that my grandma had taken her last breath in Germany during the early hours of Ramadan. My hope that everything would be okay was destroyed. My hope that God would create strength inside of my grandma to fight harder was broken. My hope that I could show my grandma how I've changed from my crazy young self to a mature woman was erased. The strength God gave my grandma was not the strength to fight, but the strength to let go. She was holding on because she was waiting for my mother to be by her side. My grandma took her last breath as a sign of her strength. As she was able to understand she was passing on to the hereafter, knowing this was a peaceful goodbye.

My Ramadan was spent making Duha every minute and hour praying. Praying that this wont be the moment where my mother would lose her symbol of life (her mom) because I couldn't bare the sight of losing mine. I couldn't bare knowing and understanding that all life comes to an end and the moment where I would tear up even thinking about was happening to my mother. My hope was destroyed when my grandma passed away because I thought my prayers should have helped her fight harder. My realization now is that my prayers were answered, they were answered in the way of God giving my grandma the strength and courage to let go. Knowing my grandma accepted what was given to her allowed me to understand the bigger message within it all.

The message of knowing nothing lasts forever but the moments that you, as an individual, have with your mother will last forever even if life in this world doesn't.

I'll always remember the moment where my hope for the world was gone, but returned to me. It was returned to me through my best friend, my grandpa. This happened when I was in the living room crying and my grandpa suddenly sits beside me. He tells me to look at him and wipes my tears and says "your tears and sadness will not change anything. Your tears will not change what has happened, but your Duha and being able to forgive your grandma will benefit her in the hereafter. You need to just make Duha that is all she needs right now." After hearing that in that moment I stopped crying and ever since my Duhas have been for her and forever for her. 

- Alê

I love you Dapir & Im still forever making Duha for you. Insha'Allah har jehê ta bahsht bît ♥

Check out my first post I wrote about my grandma called;  "FINAL RETURN HOME"