KNOCK;

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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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