Friday, September 10, 2004

The Birds Don't Need Visas?

OK, here I am, in a country that his been the very motivation of my being, Kurdistan, the land of the Kurds. But, I also landed in Kurdistan where the Turkish crescent and white quarter moon and star was flying high in what us nationalist Kurds call the capital of Greater Kurdistan, Diyarbekir. Anyways, we will pick up this philosophical argument later on. I got of the plane, waved to the machinegun totting welcome committee in Battle Dress Uniform, picked up my back, fought my way through interesting looking undercover police officers in civilian clothes [the gun gave them away] and caught a taxi just outside of the airport. No need to mention, an involuntary donation was made to Diyarbekir’s finest, it felt “great”, and every penny will be used to torture a Kurd [The Ata Turk Police Fund].

I was always told that Karwan Saray is a must for every traveling Kurd. So, I asked the taxi driver to take me to Karwan Saray Hotel, no need to say he gave me the scenic route to the hotel, got out of the taxi made arrangements for the Taxi to pick me up in the morning and get started towards Iraqi-Kurdistan. I could hardly sleep that night, the excitement was too much to handle, I was staying at a hotel my great grandfather stayed in the late 1800s when he traveled to Constantinople, I probably stayed in the same bed, and it smelled like it was from the late 1800s. Woke up at 5:00 am sharp, the driver waiting for me at the reception, checked out and hopped in the car. It was wonderful, we passed the village of Sheikhmous, well what used to be the village of Sheikhmous, apparently the villagers were terrorist Shepard who broke the most dangerous law of the land, which is being a Mountain Turk of the Black Sheep People, AKA Kurds.

I was treated really nice by the Turkish police at the Mardin checkpoint, they made me get out of the car, opened my luggage to make sure nothing was stolen, they checked my pockets to make sure I had all my money and made me stand 45 minutes outside just to make sure I had enough fresh air, they were so sweet and caring, especially the nice soldier who kept joking with me by pointing his rilfe at my chest, I’m sure it’s a wonderful past time of the Turks. After another involuntary donation to the Turkish military I was on my merry way towards Kurdistan, well, Southern Kurdistan. I came upon another military checkpoint, we got out again, we played the gun pointed at chest thing again, made another donation to the United Turkish Soldier Fund, because after all a Turk is a terrible thing to waste and we were on our way towards Cizera and Silopi.

We past a few more checkpoints made a few more donations and played more Turkish rifle games and from afar I was the Mountains of Doom, also known as Mount Cudi. The closer we got to the border the friendlier the Turkish soldiers became. Especially the one who kept calling me Peaches or Pic, I heard Turks call all their guests Pic, it means friend. I went through a few more border points, made more donations, my bags were checked 6 times by 6 different Turkish “entities” just to make sure I had all my stuff, a few gifts were taken from my luggage, yet again these nice Turks kept taking stuff from my luggage, they were so considerate, they wanted to make sure my bag wasn’t too heavy to carry, they are so sweet. I went to 14 passport checkpoints, asked where I was from, I told them Kur….Iraq, the soldier smiled and waved me through, they don’t like the ‘K’ word in Turkey, and they say if you say it 5 times, you will have bad luck for 7 years. While going through all this, I kept looking at the birds flying back and forth from one side of the border to the other, it made me feel good, at least the birds of Kurdistan are not required to pay donations. I was finally allowed to cross the border in to Kurdistan.

To my surprise Barzani’s KDP also required an involuntary donation to the Barzani Endowments of Peace and Equality. I was later told the money is for infant orphaned Kurds of Masif Salahuddin. $50 well spent, I guess, hey its ok, I also involuntarily donated at least $50 to the Turkish soldiers. The KDP were also very considerate, they made me open all my luggage, took some things to make sure my luggage was easy to carry, but they were polite, they told me they were going to take it, besides who needs expensive aftershave, and I guess my grandmother really didn’t need her blood pressure medicine, the KDP soldier needed it more than she did anyways, and by the smell of him, he needed my after shave as well. Gosh, it does feel better to give than to receive. Took another taxi and drove to my hometown! Yessssss, I made it alive, and if it wasn’t for the nice Turkish soldiers and the wonderful KDP border officers, my luggage would have been to heavy and my wallet would have been heavier and might’ve eventually caused my back aches.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Kam Biji u Kel Biji
Jiyan Ba Azadiwa Jiyana

Friday, August 06, 2004

A Kurdish villager’s Dialogue with T.S Eliot

A Kurdish villager’s Dialogue with T.S Eliot

“Gerontion”

After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities.

Testament to the clever conduit is the ruin of civilization
Those who were punished only had one inhibition,
Freedom was the only corridor left
True it was the vanity of one whose soul of millions was met by theft;


Think now

How? I was always told
Thinking is not allowed.


She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving.

But I still yearn for the fires I see
I want the freedom to be
I famished for my destiny – I won’t stop until my dream consumes all of me.


Gives too late
What’s not believed in, or is still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion.

From the memories of my forefathers, I have believed to learn,
What is given is not given but earned
And the fervor of choice swims in my vein.


Gives to soon
Into weak hands, what’s thought can be dispensed with
Till the refusal propagates a fear.

But those who fear the fear
Are those whose end is near
Its not a matter of either soon or late
Its all about humanity’s fate


Think
Neither fear nor courage saves us.

Then what do we have to fear or lose?

Unnatural vices
Are fathered by our heroism. Virtues
Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.

The birth of my nation was considered a sin
I’ve been slaughtered for no reason within
Every drop of blood is followed by a thousand tears
The mere presence of my name was considered a vice
How do you expect me to live with these corrupted lies?


These tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

A Kurd in Istanbul = Kunta Kente in Geaorgia [1789]

Lets forward from 1982 to 2000 --

Life was difficult for a Kurd raised in a land unfamiliar to him. I tried my best to try and pick the best of my Kurdish culture and mix it with the positive aspects of the American way of life, but it didn't do anything for me. I realized, if I am to accept my culture and accept my 'Kurdishness' then I must realize there is nothing negative about my Kurdish being, therefore can not pick only the positive aspects of being a 'Kurd'. The same theory applies to the "American" way of life. I was presented with a fork in the road, and in the immortal words of Robert Frost, "...I took the road not taken...." Which means, I found myself on an airplane heading from Washington DC to Istanbul, Turkey. The journy from Turkey was intense at best, I was holding on to my American passport and presented to the visa counter and welcomed me with the traditional Turkish welcome greetings of, "Sikter" I replied in my broken Spanish, "Tu tambien cabron!" and we both cordially smiled at eachother and headed towards the customs check. I got the usual third degree questioning, "Why are you coming to Turkey?" My replie, "For the nice beaches and warm people!" Which roughly translates to, I'm going back to KURDISTAN.

Now, the fun part! Its not everyday you get to experience the lovely joy of feeling like an escaped slave from a Georgia cotton plantation in the late 1700s -- I was given the pleasure of that at the baggage check. OK, I was greeted with the usual Turkish greetings and I, keeping with tradition replied in my broken Spanish. Now, for those of you who might know me, know that, well, i'm just a tad overweight. The friendly Airport Securit Guards took the pleasure of taking out my slighly large underpants and throwing it out on the floow for everyone to enjoy [How I love to bring joy to the masses]. I somehow got emancipated from the airport and headed for the other local [national] terminal and waited to get on a flight to the ancient Kurdish capitol of Amed [Diyarbekir]. To make a long story short, I ended up on a plane with chickens, goats, Turkish Intelligence officers and a few elderly Kurds. The only thing missing was a Mexican flag, Chich Marin and a bottle of equila in front of the pilot.

We landed in Alcatraz, it was strange though! We were protected by Turkish soldiers -- No, that's not strange, the strange thing us, who were they protecting us from? They all had their weapons pointed at us! Just in case we tried to hijack the luggage cart!!!!!

Next Post: Diyarbekir to Zakho! "Hey, why don't the pigeons need visas?"

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

From the Ancient Land of the Kurds to the Home of the Braves and Back!

THE INTRODUCTION: A KURD RETURNED - AUGUST 04, 2004

I once lived a normal life, grew up as an immigrant Kurd in the sub-urbs of Bible-belt America; this was in the early 1980s -- But my hear and soul belonged to the ridgy mountains of Iraqi-Kurdistan. Now, after 21 or so years away from the once forgotten land of the Kurds [Kurdistan] I have returned to a place I and my ancestors call home. I have entered a new realm -- I left Kurdistan in 1982, and being brought up in a conservative and traditional Kurdish household, I still kept my 1980s Kurdish mentality taught to me by my parents. That mentality froze in my mental set and became a party of my psyche.

Being away from Kurdistan and not being able to return, it was still the 1980s in my mind -- thought Kurdistan was moving forward, it stayed the same for myself and my family. Incredible how different the real world is -- it almost feels like I was living in a quasi bubble, protected by my invisible cultural filtering shell -- not enjoying the American culture to its fullest and at the same time alienated from the progressing Kurdish culture.

Returning to a Kurdistan free of Saddam was and is still a shock for me. No longer are we afraid of the Butcher of Baghdad, now I have to worry about the Butcher of Fallujah and the Sunni tri-angle. No longer am I a modern Kurd, but a conservative Kurd with thoughts tribalism not really fitting in my Kurdistan or the version of America I grew up in! I guess this is present in all immigrants who refuse to become 100% assimilated -- those who refuse to become 100% assimilated will definitely become 100% alienated.

Eternal Sins of My Forefather's wrath!

FEELINGS

HOW DO YOU FEEL I’M OFTEN ASKED
CAN’T YOU SEE THAT’S MY GOD DAMN FEELING HIDING BEHIND THAT BLACK MASK

WHY YOU KEEP CALLING ME HOSTILE
WHEN ALL I HAVE WITNESSED IN MY LIFE IS FUTILE

BEHIND THE FAKE CHEERS LAUGHTER AND JOY
IT’S NOTHING BUT A FAÇADE JUST ANOTHER ONE OF NATURE’S PLOY

ONE OF HISTORY’S BLUNDERS I SAY
WAS THAT DECEMBER DAY THEY CALL MY BIRTHDAY

NO USE ASKING MYSELF WHY I’M HERE
I’LL JUST KEEP POURING MY BLOOD DROP TEARS

THE AGONY OF LIFE AND THE CHAOS I SEE
IS IT JUST ME OR IS THE WORLD LIKE THIS FROM SEA TO SEA

MADNESS WITH JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF INSANITY
I OFTEN ASK THE GREAT GOD WHY ME

I WONDER IF HE GETS A KICK OUT OF WATCHING ME
WITH THOUGHTS OF DEATH WAITING TO COME TO BE

SHATTERING SOUNDS OF AGONY TOPPED WIT HATE
IS IT LIKE THIS FOR EVERYONE OR IS IT JUST A GIFT FOR ME CALLED FATE

DARK GLOOMY CLOUDS OF TYRANNY
WHO IS MY MASTER AND WHY IS HE SLOWLY KILLING ME

TAKE ME AWAY FROM THIS DOUBLE EDGED SWORD
WHAT JOY IS IN LIFE MY LORD

THEY SAY EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING
BUT MY CLOUD IS THE ONE WITH THUNDER AND LIGHTENING

SO ASK ME HOW I FEEL ONCE AGAIN