Mar 12, 2012

My Mother, I, and International Women's Day

Okay I know I should have blogged about women's day a few days ago, but you know things don't always go the way we want! :)

As people around the world celebrate women in this day, we in Kurdistan celebrated it in our own way.

In this day women decided to break the walls of silence and march for their rights. It was in this day when the ages of suppression by the male dominated society began to weaken.

In Kurdistan,

Since the early years and in particular since 1990s, women have fought side by side with men on the mountains for Kurdistan, women have taken into political level to make important decisions; among the most influential figures are Layla Qasim, Layla Zana (my two favorite heroines) and so many others.

In the 8th of March, we in Kurdistan wear Jli Kurdi( Kurdish traditional cloths) and celebrate the achievements of our Kurdish women. What was special about this year's celebration to me however, was that fact that I was awarded for my active role in my community! It's the little things that matter most.
8th of March, girls & boys wearing Jli Kurdi. As you can see they are partying.


Yes, it felt great hearing my name, then walking to the stage while everyone applauding.  I don’t think I can trade this moment with any other moments of my life. It was such a great honor to stand there and be appreciated for the small things I have done. On this occasion, I want to thank START Social Development Organization for awarding me. And special thanks goes to UKH for honoring me in this day.

Me while receiving the award.
My eyes are closed, but I'm not sleeping! :)

Now it's time to share with you a phenomenal story about a phenomenal Kurdish woman that I believe many other Kurdish women share in common, this will be my dedication for the international/Kurdish women's day.

Many know my dad, and they also know that he has spent half of his life on the mountains of Kurdistan. He was a Peshmerga (freedom fighter) fighting against Saddam regime with his fellow friends since early of his life. A lot of people respect him for his role in Kurdistan, but what might many not know is the power he had just beside him to help him stand still alongside all the hardships that he had faced during his Peshmerga life.

Beside my dad was an invisible peshmerga who have taken a spiritual and physical war along with him. Who have used compassion to fight against the agony of life instead of weapon, the peshmerga who used hands to cure a wound, and arms to guard many from hazard.

That invisible peshmerga was my mother!

My mother got married to my father when she was 13 years old only. Accordingly, my grandmother was a very strict woman, she died when I was very young so I don't remember her. She was the reason behind my mother's marriage to my dad in her early years. My mom, in her life had to give up a lot for the sake of her family. One of the biggest sacrifices she had made was leaving her education in the high school and raising nine of my brother and sisters while my father was on the mountains.  Sadly, in her wedding party my mom was unconscious of what was going on, she used to say, that there were days in her life she would play outside until late, and sometimes she would fall asleep and my father would come and take her home.

There are times when I hear her saying to me and my siblings, "never leave school, go as far as you can go with education, it's the only cure, and the only way out." Every time she tells us this, her eyes sparkle, it's passion in her eyes.

Knowing how great my mother is, makes me feel truly honored. During 1991, when Kurdish people were sent in exile because of Saddam, and when my dad was not in the city, my mother had to take care of the 9 of us.  She was alone and there were days we didn’t have anything to eat, she had to work so hard to bring us food and provide us with shelter.

Unfortunately, after I was born, my mom had to spend a few years in hospital due to her sickness. She was under doctors supervising for years. During the early years of my life, she wasn't home; my father and my oldest sister had to take care of me, which is why for pretty long I wasn't close to my mother.

At those times, it was hard for me to see what my mom was all about; I was just a child to understand anything. Yet, now thinking back and realizing what my mom did for us so we can survive in those tough years, I regret spending every second of my life in distance from her.

My mother was not only a mother for us; she was our father, our shelter, our source of peace and safety. Knowing I had such a strong, yet unfortunate mom in my life, makes me more determined to help the women in my country to have better lives.

Dear Mother,
I know no matter how hard I try, I can't retrieved those years you have lost trying to protect us from the ugly cold days. I know, I can't take you back in time so you can carry on your education. I know I can't hold back the tears you have shed while my dad was away or to bring back those little beautiful memories of the innocent days you were playing and falling asleep on the street with other kids.

But, I know I can promise you to do my best to help women in my community. I promise until the last breath on this earth, I will work to be a better person as you have always wished me to be. I will never forget any of the sacrifices you have made for me and my siblings. You are the most beautiful and strong woman I have ever known.

With my love for you, forever.

Happy Women's Day. :)


Photos by: Bewar Rwandzi

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