Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review of White Mountain, directed by Taha Karimi

Where People Listen to Each Other

Where People Listen to Each Other:
 Review of White Mountain by Taha Karimi
Ava Homa
“I say
Put your wreath under any tree,
Near any stone,
Beside any collapsed wall,
By any river bank,
In front of any door
Bow your head and put down your wreath.
They are all my unknown soldiers' graves.”
The sharp contrast between the setting and the subject makes White Mountain an influential movie. Picture is one of the most powerful elements of White Mountain that in spite of the bitter subject makes the movie distinct and penetrating. The setting is the breathtakingly beautiful Qandil Mountain which could have been a lucrative tourist attraction to enrich Kurds and instead has turned into a war-torn area that squeezes many dead Kurds.  
A white haired, white bearded man and his tired mule’s job is to carry corpses from a part of the mountain to another. These dead bodies are called “filthy” on one side and “martyr and hero” on the other side_ depending on which political party they used to fight for. The old man has every step by heart, so does his friend and vehicle, the mule. He is the narrator, the story teller who gathers white stones from the bottom of the river while washing himself and his mule gently and meticulously. He is full of tales, tale of the bodies he transported and buried. He breaks the tree branches to make a blanket for the dead and ties a scarf to the branch to try and catch up with the numerous victims of human’s inability to live in peace.
The dialogues ironically characterize lack of communication. The way characters converse speaks of a land where people offer no patience or understanding to one another. Suspicion and anger dominates their attitudes and frustrates the members of the community. Women of the valley either hopefully cling to supernatural forces to protect their loved ones or hopelessly weep on a piece of stone that may or may not be embracing their loved one. Despite their common pain, these grieving women cannot comfort or even tolerate each other; thinking they are the only one whose loved one is lost. The old man shows a grave to five women and tells them it is where he buried their family member. The truth is he does not have the chance to bury all the corpses.
The enemy here is not the governments of Turkey, Iran or Iraq. A self-reflective, self-critical movie, White Mountain zooms on a bitter part of history that Kurds shy away from: Kurds killing Kurds. The hints are veiled and the director avoids pointing finger at any specific person or party. He puts a small mirror before all of them to get them ponder and hopefully change their approaches.
The writer and director, Taha Karimi paints a powerful situation subtly and smartly. He avoids melo-dramatizing the situation or making it too disturbing. These traps, for which some writers/directors fall, would only take away from the movie and leave the audience with nothing but shallow and transient emotions and no productive reflection.    
   A maybe-not-so-mysterious “Kak Doctor” promised the old man one day the Kurds will be prosperous, one day no kid will be hungry and no woman’s eyes would be sore. Both of what the doctor and the main character hope for are very metaphorical. Eyes become sore of either crying or ailment. Kids will not be hungry for food as well as peace and comfort. However, the most symbolic part of the garden “Kak Doctor” originally hoped for and the old man has been looking for is a place “where people listen to each other.” Communication, the ability to listen to and understand each other is a critical point of empowerment for Kurds.
The unsettling opposition between the subject of the movie and where it happens creates a sharp effect. Despite human misery and ignorance, violence and regret, Qandil Mountain is stable, prevailing and gorgeous. The stunning mountain with its trees and spring that continue to flourish regardless, mocks human’s short sightedness and inability to communicate. The contrast between Qandil and people adds layers and depth to the movie.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Haiku


Deeply enjoying the massage

Napping on Daddy's crotch!

Impatiently waiting for Daddy to return

Honk, honk, get off my way!

I am just adorable

When loud music startles somebody

Heavy sleep

Mummy, come scratch my belly

Stop taking my pictures you annoying paparazzi! 


I have no talent for photography and these are all taken with my android phone, only to capture some moments of life
This is my favourite place (so far), forest in the mountains, a lake and snow on the faraway mountains

My Shadow, Her Majesty (Haiku), at Kogawa House

A playful seal in English Bay
Cleveland,Dome,  North Vancouver 
Haiku- Who can help falling for that smile?

Look at the size of the sushi! A place near Kogawa House called King sushi

Sunset at the Fraser River Park, half an hour walk from the Kogawa House

A random phallic image in North Van.

A gorgeous trail Haiku and I discovered in North Van.


and ditto

A genius home made bike (love the rear view mirror) at Richmond or Lulu Island

Just wanted to start and end with the place I love the most

Bas Newpaper, Hewler, Iraq

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Carol Giangrande, author of A Gardener on Moon, Reviews my latest story, Lullaby

Fine Writing and Human Rights

If anyone even hints to me that I ought to “take up arms against a sea of troubles,” I’m likely to tune out. Too busy, too tired, too depressed about the state of the world. Not knowing what to do about this state of affairs, I often look to literature to help me understand the more shadowy corners of the human condition. If you’re of like mind, you may want to click on Novel Rights ( The website offers high-quality literary work for purchase (at very reasonable rates), using the fees to benefit specific human rights efforts.
lullaby-coverI began by reading Ava Homa’s powerful story “Lullaby,” based on the true story of Farzad Kamangar, a Kurdish schoolteacher and poet executed in Iran three years ago after a five-minute “trial.” Homa, a Kurdish writer-in-exile, based her story on the man’s letters, published after his death (her first story collection, Echoes from the Other Land was reviewed here). Powerful and heartfelt, “Lullaby” transported me into a nightmarish world, offering a resolute example of bravery and defiance. In reading a story like this, one is stung by the realization that people like Kamangar went to their deaths never knowing if their sacrifice was worth the effort.  For that reason, it’s worth attending to the petitions that follow the story and which urge us to help save the lives of other innocent individuals trapped in Iran’s prison system. The site also has links to Amnesty International.
It’s been said that literature can’t change the world. Yet it can change us, touching us with the humanity we share with Farzad Kamangar and others like him. In pondering their stories, it becomes harder to turn away from suffering, not because of guilt but because of compassion. A writer’s artistic honesty allows us to face the world as it is. I hope you’ll visit Novel Rights and delve into some of their fine literary work.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lullaby, Story Based on Farzad Kamangar's letters from prison, published by Novel Right

Read a chapter from Ava Homa's, Novel Rights new eStroy "Lullay" inspired by Farzad Kamangar letters from prison, a 32-year-old Kurdish teacher, poet, journalist, human rights activist and social worker from the city of Kamyaran, Iran. He was executed with 4 other prisoners, four Kurds – Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alam-Holi - along with Mehdi Eslamian. They were hanged on Sunday, 9 May at Evin prison in Tehran.


Lullaby/Ava Homa

lullaby cover
“The call rings out. I tell myself the students are still learning, in secret, the history of the Kurds. The call for prayer echoes through Evin Prison. It turns me cold with fear.
Footsteps! I know the sound of those heavy boots. I know them well. My pen falls down from my bed and I curl into a ball, shrinking with fear. The pain in my head and face, legs and back, stomach and ribs becomes much sharper. Clutching at the pillow does not stop me from shaking. The footsteps stop before they reach my ward. “Hands up,” I think, and almost say it out loud.
“Hands up,” the old guard says.
I know what they are doing in the other cell. The blindfold, the click of the handcuffs, and the guards take Ali out, pushing and kicking him.
I toss and turn and follow them in my head as Ali is taken downstairs, dragged nineteen steps to the right, down nineteen stairs and delivered to the interrogators. Under his blindfold, Ali will count the pairs of shoes in the room: four, six, eight . . . black, formal shoes that are thick with blood, polished by blood. The whipping will start soon after the curses. If the man they call “Mongrel” is there, the interrogation will last longer and be much more painful. Every Kurd knows that man’s strange voice, an unusual mixture of high and low. In his vocabulary, “fucking murdering savages” means “Kurds.” It is rumoured that Mongrel’s brother had been killed in Kurdistan thirty years ago during one of the uprisings. Five, six whiplashes and Ali will think about concentration camps, pyramids, the Great Wall of China, but he will not feel the whipping anymore. I hope.
The number of cracks on the wall is three hundred and five today. I sneak a pen out from under my mattress and take some paper, folded four times, out from my underwear. “My dear students,” I write, lying on my left on a stinking army blanket. “All I have been able to do for you is to secretly teach you our Kurdish alphabet, our literature and our history. Please, children, remember your heritage and pass it on. Dear little ones, never allow this knowledge to steal from you the joy of childhood. May you keep the joy of youth in your minds forever. It may be the one and only investment you can use later when the agony of earning the ‘bread and butter’ dominates you, my sons, and the sin of being ‘the second sex’ overpowers you, my daughters. When you are picking flowers in the valleys to make crowns for your children, tell them about the purity and happiness of childhood. Remember not to turn your backs on your dreams, loves, music, poetry and Kurdistan’s magical nature. Get together, sing the songs and recite the poetry as we used to do.”
want to reacd more? 
special sale
By Buying “Lullaby” Novel Rights ePUB Short Stroy written by Ava Homa, You will help us to create more HRL (Human Rights Literature) short stories and produce many more events around the globe promoting literature that supports human rights values.
lullaby cover
Can you hear it?  That is the sound of the secret history of the Kurds.
It sounds just like a lullaby passing through cracks in concrete walls. 
Farzad Kamangar, a village teacher labelled terrorist, counts those cracks, argues innocence and shares the hopeful sweetness of home made chocolates with his fellow prisoners.  
“Under ropes, the chocolates melt in our mouths...”and we, the readers hear through the cracks. 
Hear it here: the lullaby of legendary Farzad Kamangar. 
by Ava Homa
ava homaAva Homa is the author of Echoes from the Other Land, which was nominated for the 2011 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and placed 6th in the Top Ten CBC Reader’s Choice Contest for the Giller Prize.
Her work has appeared in The Literary Review of Canada, Toronto Quarterly, Windsor Review, the Toronto Star and Rabble. Her collection has a running theme of resistance by modern Iranian women. The stories are told on a universal scale, depicting human endurance, desire and passion.
Ava Homa is a columnist for Bas Newspaper, teaches Creative Writing and English at George Brown College in Toronto and a is member of PEN Canada.
Ava exiled from Kurdistan-Iran in 2007 leaving her family and friends behind her.
She is among the few Kurdish female authors who write about the Kurdish community, Human Rights abused and history.
Purchase Now! Click Here (Or on the paypal icon) 
Cover Illustration “Lullaby”: Tamar Levi; Graphic Design: Hagit Schechter
© All Rights Reserved to Novel Rights

Ava Homa, Author’s Note/ “Lullaby”

ava homa
May 9, 2010 was going to be a happy day: I had time to write another cover letter for yet another job that was not my forte, not being an author, before I dressed up for a party, to be ready to be picked up by my fiancé…
It was Radio Farda that announced Farzad Kamangar  and four other Kurds were charged with “Animosity with God and terrorism” and hanged without warning
My tears had no reason to roll down since I did not know any of these people and they were neither the first, nor the last Kurds executed by the Iranian government. But tears don’t look for reasons and I surrendered to hours of non-stop sobs that smudged the words I’d been writing.
Resolving not to ruin my fiancé’s evening, I showered and put on a smile. But a “What’s wrong?” coming from a person that knew me so well was enough to smear my mascara and stain his new shirt. He was not the first person to warn me that my unusual empathies had turned into a curse. But what was I to do?
What are you and I to do when we don’t want to turn a blind eye to the atrocities happening around the world? Embittered by the writing industry that I’d experienced before, I had put aside my abilities as a writer and now, with the news from the radio I wondered even how to read. How are we to read the bitter narrative of this world? Is what happened to this Farzad and many others, part of a bigger narrative that can provide context and offer meaning? Justification? In a world of contradictions, the sublime and the hideous, how are we to face the complications, adapt, and yet again recover the eagerness to push on towards creating a better place?
Art and literature.
The artist and writer disrobes the fully-dolled-up-world, cultivates our senses by exposing the magnificence and the repugnant, humanizes the “other” and encourages us to reflect, to negate the negative, and finally art fuels us to stay humane, to become humane.
That day I picked up my pen again and have never put it down since.
Ava Homa
special sale
Ava Homa is the author of Echoes from the Other Land, which was nominated for the 2011 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and placed 6th in the Top Ten CBC Reader’s Choice Contest for the Giller Prize.
Her work has appeared in The Literary Review of Canada, Toronto Quarterly, Windsor Review, the Toronto Star and Rabble. Her collection has a running theme of resistance by modern Iranian women. The stories are told on a universal scale, depicting human endurance, desire and passion.
Ava Homa is a columnist for Bas Newspaper, teaches Creative Writing and English at George Brown College in Toronto and a is member of PEN Canada.
Ava exiled from Kurdistan-Iran in 2007 leaving her family and friends behind her.
She is among the few Kurdish female authors who write about the Kurdish community, Human Rights abused and history.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

كوردپا » ماڵی مێژوویی "کاگاوا" میوانداریەتی ژنە نووسەرێکی کورد دەکات

كوردپا » ماڵی مێژوویی "کاگاوا" میوانداریەتی ژنە نووسەرێکی کورد دەکات

ماڵی مێژوویی "کاگاوا" میوانداریەتی ژنە نووسەرێکی کورد دەکات
1392/02/18 - 2013/05/08 - 13:35 تارانچاپكردنی ئه‌م بابه‌ته‌ژماره‌ی بینینی بابه‌ت28 قه‌باره‌ی فۆنت: قه‌باره‌ی نووسراوه‌ گه‌وره‌ بكه‌قه‌باره‌ی نووسراوه‌ بچووكتر بكه‌‌

ماڵی مێژوویی ئاژانسی کوردپا: ماڵی مێژوویی "جووی کاگاوا" لە ولاتی کانادا، میوانداریەتیی ژنە نووسەرێکی کوردی خەڵکی شاری سنە دەکات.
ماڵپەڕی "شهروند" لە راپۆرتێکدا بڵاوی کردەوە، خاتوو "ئاوا هوما" نووسەری کوردی دانیشتووی "تۆرێنتۆ" بۆ ماوەی ٣ مانگ لە ماڵی مێژوویی "جووی کاگاوا" لە شاری "ڤانکۆوێر"ی کانادا میوان دەبێت و بڕیارە نووسینی رۆمانەکەی خۆی لەوێ تەواو بکات.

جووی کاگاوا، شاعیر و رۆماننووسی بەناوبانگی ژاپۆنی – کانادایی سالی ١٩٣٥ لە شاری ڤەنکۆوێری کانادا لە دایک بووە و تەمەنی منداڵیی خۆی لە ساڵانی شەڕی جیهانیی یەکەمدا تێپەڕاندووە.

ئەو نووسەرە ژاپۆنییە نووسینەوەی ئەزموون و بیرەوەرییەکانی خۆی لە ساڵانی شەڕی جیهانیی یەکەمدا، وەک کەسایەتییەکی جیهانی ناوبانگی دەرکردووە و ناسراوە.

ئاوا هوما بڕیارە لەماوەی ئەو ٣ مانگەدا لەسەر یەکەمین رۆمانی درێژی خۆی بەناوی "Many cunning PASSages" (زۆرێک لە رێڕەوەکانی فێڵ‌بازی) کە رۆمانێکی مێژووییە، کار بکات.

رۆمانی زۆرێک لە رێڕەوەکانی فێڵ‌بازی، چیرۆکی بنەماڵەیەکی کورد لە وڵاتی ئێرانە و سەرگورووشتەی ئەو بنەماڵەیە لە پاش شۆڕشی ١٣٥٧ـەوە هەتا سەرهەڵدانی بزووتنەوەی سەوز دەخاتەڕوو.
ئاوا هوما بە بیستنی هەواڵی ئێعدام کرانی فەرزاد کەمانگەر، بڕیاری نووینەوەی ئەو پەرتووکەی دا و هەنووکە سەرقاڵی تەواو کردنیەتی.

ئاوا هوما کە پێشتر یەکەم کۆمەڵە چیرۆک خۆی بەناوی "زایەڵەیەک لە وڵاتێکی دیکەوە" لە وڵاتی کانادا چاپ و بڵاو کردەوە.

ئەو نووسەرە کوردە لە زانکۆی تەباتەبایی بڕوانامەی کارناسیی باڵای لە ئەدەبیاتی ئینگلیزیدا وەرگرتووە و پاش ئەوەی رووی لە وڵاتی کانادا کردووە، خوێندنی لە رشتەی "نووسین"دا درێژە پێ‌داوە و هەنووکە ئەندامی "ئەنجومەنی قەڵەمی کانادا"یە و سەرقاڵی نووسەری و وانە وتنەوەیە.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Shahrvand and my Joy Kogawa House Reidency

آوا هما، نویسنده‌ ی کردِ ایرانی، مهمان ویژه‌ ی خانه ‌ی کاگاوا در ونکوور

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«نباید در مورد یک سرزمین، فقط یک صدا وجود داشته باشد»

شهروند- آرش عزیزی: آوا هما، نویسنده‌ ی کردتبار و ایرانی مقیم تورنتو، این هفته عازم ونکوور کانادا می ‌شود تا سه ماه مهمان ویژه ‌ی خانه‌ ی تاریخی جوی کاگاوا در این شهر باشد و اولین رمان بلندش را در آن‌ جا به پایان برساند.
جوی کاگاوا، شاعر و رمان نویس شهیر ژاپنی‌-کانادایی است. او در سال ۱۹۳۵ در ونکوور به دنیا آمد و کودکی‌ اش را در سال‌های سخت جنگ جهانی دوم گذراند که در آن شهروندان ژاپنی‌ تبار کشور را به اردوگاه‌ های دستگیری اعزام می ‌کردند. کاگاوا سپس با رمان ‌های خود در مورد تجربیاتش در آن سال‌ ها به شهرت جهانی رسید.
آوا هما در مراسم معرفی کتابش
خانه ‌ی تاریخی کاگاوا در محله‌ ی ماریپولِ شهر ونکوور از سال ۲۰۰۸ میزبان مهمان‌ های ویژه بوده است؛ یعنی نویسندگانی که می‌ خواهند چند ماه فرصت اقامت و نوشتن و الهام از خانه ‌ی یکی از بزرگ ‌ترین نویسندگان کانادا را داشته باشند. پیش از این خانه ‌ی کاگاوا بیشتر میزبان نام های بزرگ و شناخته ‌شده بوده است.
از جون عصفور، شاعر لبنانی-کانادایی اهل مونترال، تا نانسی لی، نویسنده‌ ی چینی و هندی‌ تبارِ اهل ریچموندِ بی سی.
امسال اما این خانه میزبان نویسنده‌ ی جوانی است که هنوز آنقدرها شناخته‌ شده نیست اما او را اینقدر بااستعداد تشخیص داده ‌اند تا این افتخار را نصیبش کنند.
آوا هما که کتاب اولش با عنوان «پژواک ‌هایی از سرزمین دیگر» (مجموعه‌ داستان) در کانادا با اقبال بسیاری روبرو شد، اکنون توسط خانه‌ ی کاگاوا پذیرفته شده است و مهمان آن خواهد بود. تمام هزینه‌ های او در این چند ماه بر عهده‌ ی این خانه است و در عوض او ۴۰ درصد از زمانش را وقت تدریس به دانشجویان علاقه ‌مند می‌ کند.
او در این مدت قرار است روی اولین داستان بلند خود کار کند که رمانی تاریخی است. این کتاب «Many Cunning Passages» نام دارد و داستان خانواده‌ ی کردی در ایران است که رمان زندگی آن ‌ها را از پیش از انقلاب ۵۷ تا ماجرای جنبش سبز در سال ۲۰۰۹ دنبال می‌ کند. آوا به شهروند گفت اولین بار در مه ۲۰۱۰، وقتی خبر اعدام فرزاد کمانگر، معلم چپ‌ گرای کرد در ایران، را شنید به فکر نوشتن این کتاب افتاد و پس از گذشت سه سال بالاخره آماده‌ ی تمام کردن آن است.
از آوا می ‌پرسم چطور او را به نویسنده‌ های صاحب نام‌ تر ترجیح داده ‌اند. او گفت: «دو نفر در کمیته‌ ی انتخاب بودند که از کتاب من خوششان آمده بود و بقیه را متقاعد کردند که به من رای دهند.»
آوا پیش از این نیز در برنامه‌ ی اقامت نویسندگان «مرکز فرهنگی میندن هیلز» در شمال انتاریو که به نام آر دی لارنس، فعال مشهور محیط ‌زیست کانادایی، نام‌ گذاری شده شرکت کرده بود. او می‌ گوید برای نویسندگان هیچ چیز بهتر از دور شدن چند ماهه از فضای معمول و تمرکز روی نوشتن نیست.
از آوا می ‌پرسم علاقه‌ اش به ملت کرد، که از موضوعات مکرر آثار و فعالیت‌ های او هستند، از کجا می‌ آید، می‌گوید: «خوب این هویت من است و ملیتی که به آن تعلق دارم. اما تنها دلیل این نیست. ببینید، مثلا من در کتاب اولی که نوشتم برایم خیلی مهم بود که داستان‌ هایش در مورد کل ایران باشند. اما این بار فکر کردم ایران صداهای قوی ‌ای برای نمایندگی آن در کانادا دارد. با این حساب، کردستان احتیاج بیشتری به این صدا دارد.»
او گفت نمی ‌داند در آینده نیز در مورد کردستان بنویسد یا نه: «واقعا نمی‌ دانم چه شود. اما می‌ دانم که می‌ خواهم در زمینه ادبی و هنر داستان‌ نویسی موفق باشم و فکر نمی ‌کنم موضوع برایم خیلی مطرح باشد.»
آوا می‌ گوید یکی از نویسنده‌ های مورد علاقه‌ اش در نسل جدید، چیماماندا انگوزی آدیچیه، ستاره‌ ی جوان ادبیات نیجریه، است. آدیچیه در یکی از سخنرانی‌ های مشهور خود از «خطرِ داستان‌ واحد» می‌ گوید و این‌که چگونه وقتی فقط یک صدا در مورد جایی وجود داشته باشد تصویرها مخدوش می‌ شود. آوا ماجرایی از آدیچیه نقل می‌ کند که جهت افکارش را نشان می‌ دهد. او در همان سخنرانی معروف از برخورد خود با یکی از دانشجویانش می‌ گوید. این دانشجوی آمریکایی پس از خواندن رمان آدیچیه پیش آمده و گفته متاسف است که در نیجریه مردان با زنان بدرفتاری می‌ کنند. آدیچیه در پاسخ می ‌گوید رمان «روانی آمریکایی»‌، نوشته ‌ی برت ایستون الیس، را خوانده و متاسف است که در آمریکا همه قاتل حرفه ‌ای هستند!
آوا با اشاره به این ماجرا می ‌گوید: «نباید در مورد یک سرزمین فقط یک صدا وجود داشته باشد.»