Tuesday, May 26, 2015

تۆ له‌ که‌س نه‌چوویت-دلاوةر قةرةداغى

تۆ له‌ که‌س نه‌چوویت
که‌س له‌ تۆ نه‌چوو
که‌س وه‌ک تۆ دڵڕه‌قانه‌
خۆشی نه‌ویستم
که‌س وه‌ک تۆ میهره‌بانانه‌
جێی نه‌هێشتم!
که‌س له‌ تۆ نه‌چوو
تۆ له‌ که‌س نه‌چوویت
که‌س وه‌ک تۆ ... له‌ ئه‌زه‌له‌وه‌ به‌ دوامدا نه‌گه‌ڕا
که‌س وه‌ک تۆ .... تا ئه‌به‌د‌
بزری نه‌کردم.
دلاوةر قةرةداغى

آسمانی تو ! در آن گستره خورشیدی کن





دلخوشم با غزلی تازه همینم کافیست
تو مرا باز رساندی به یقینم کافیست
قانعم بیشتر از این چه بخواهم از تو؟
گاه گاهی که کنارت بنشینم کافیست
گله ای نیست من و فاصله ها همزادیم
گاهی از دور تو را خوب ببینم کافیست
آسمانی تو ! در آن گستره خورشیدی کن
من همین قدر که گرم است زمینم کافیست
من همین قدر که با حال و هوایت گهگاه
برگی از باغچه ی شعر بچینم کافیست
فکر کردن به تو یعنی غزلی شور انگیز
که همین شوق ٬ مرا خوب ترینم ! کافیست

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dolphins and Projection


I wish you could see the dolphins today. It’s mostly the fins that I saw, with a bit of their body, but the ones I saw today were different from what I’d seen before.
Two dolphins were slowly cruising along the ocean, swimming so calmly as if it didn’t matter where the destination was and when they were supposed to arrive. In time, the two came up and dived down the water with such composure, such harmony, as if they were dancing to a rhythm only they could hear, as if it were their wedding and they were engaged in a tango and it didn’t matter that everyone was staring at them. ‘They are in love,’ I thought. ‘Of course it’s love. What else could make two creatures so synchronized, so peaceful, so delighted?’
“Have you ever seen anything like this?” asked a woman my age who had also been following the dolphins along the shore.
“I have not!” I said. “I usually see dolphins in a group and they swim much faster than this, farther from the shore and not that harmonized.”
“I think they were in labour and were going to have their babies somewhere, sometimes soon,” she said.
I laughed, surprised at her interpretation of the situation. “I thought they were in love and were savouring their moments together,” I said. Maybe they were reunited after having been apart for what must have felt as long as eternity for them.
“But we are only projecting of course.” I smiled and walked away, looked for the dolphins but couldn’t find the couples anymore. I only saw a single one quickly swimming away. ‘Go and find your love and don’t let her go!’ I wanted to scream after him.

We’re only projecting.  Only projecting.
Newport Beach, Ca
Photography: Yours truly

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Interview with Australia's SBS Radio


The interview is in Kurdish (Sorani), 13 minutes and done by Roza Garmian. The link is HERE

The below information is copied and pasted from their website:

In this discussion with Ms Homa we asked her about what she though about the events that developed as a result of Farinaz Khosrawani's death in the Kurdish city of Mahabad. Ms Homa wonders if the public reaction would have been the same if the perpetrator had not been a security office of the Islamic Republic and/or, Farinaz had still been alive?

Following the death of a young Kurdish woman, Farinaz Khosrawani, in the Kurdish city of Mahabad, many demonstrations were organised by the Kurdish people particularly in eastern Kurdish (Iran) and around the world to investigate her death.
It is alleged that she plunged to her death in order to escape sexual assault and/or rape by a security officer of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the hotel she was working at.
Reportedly many people have been critically injured and dozens arrested by the IRI.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What Is Worth Dying For?

Ava Homa

Ava Homa is a Kurdish-Canadian writer based in Toronto. She is the author of ‘Echoes from the Other Land’. Follow her on Twitter: @AvaHoma
     
Yet another woman lost her life to avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault. Last week Farinaz Khosrawani jumped to her death from the fourth floor of a hotel in Mahabad. Locals believe she escaped a sexual assault that was planned and supported by two men in power, the hotel owner and an army officer.

The question we should be asking is this: Why do we create a culture where a woman who is put in such a perilous position is led to believe death is her only option?

Instead, we seem to be so proud of Farinaz for having chosen “honour” over life. Our proud talks about her suicide unwittingly promotes the idea that every woman who has been raped would be better off dead.

Farinaz Khosrawani, regardless of what version of the story one believes, represents our homeland. Our nishtmaan, our identity, and our very existence has been abused by the oppressors for over a century.

Now that our homeland has been raped, should Kurds, as a group, die to regain “honour” or do we encourage resistance and empowerment?

It is true that Iran executes and imprisons women who defend themselves against rapists (Reyahneh Jabari and Mahabad Fatehi are some examples). It is also a fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran systematically suppresses Kurds and other ethnic groups and causes widespread poverty in the Kurdish region. If Farinaz had other job opportunities and didn’t need the job, if she were the owner of the hotel, if she were backed by the government, she would perhaps be alive today.

These are unchangeable facts, realities of life in Rojhalat. But there are realities we can and must change. Praising death and blaming the government will get Kurds nowhere.

The fact remains that Farinaz did not find her community supportive either. How would the community react, had Farinaz opened up about the assault later? How would we respond if more Kurdish women shared their traumatic sexual experiences? What if the rapist was not working for the Iranian army? What if the rapist was “one of us”?

Life is precious. Victims of sexual harassment and sexual assult need tremendous support to recover from the trauma they have been through. The last thing they need is an environment that praises death for a victim.

Farinaz lost her life but many of our women live today who relate to Farinaz on a much deeper and more personal level. We should reassure the ones who didn’t kill themselves that death is not the only option, that our community accepts, protects, and supports all the victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, or class.

More importantly, we need to let the traumatized group know that we are on their side regardless of who the invader has been and how powerful he is.

There is no question that Iran is anti-women and anti-Kurds but rather than repeating these points over and over again, we must take a close look at our culture, dissect and remove some of the negative imprints that the government has left on our conscious and unconscious mind.

Kurdish community would be empowered once we stop praising death and instead create a strong supportive for the victims of sexual assault, letting them know that they are not alone, that death is not the option. Kas nale Kurd merdwa- Let No one Say that Kurds are Dead.

The article was originally published in BasNews

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mahabad protests: Kurds, gender, politics


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It was only a decade ago. After graduation from university, my friend Kajal was among the few fortunate ones to find a job in a government office. She was overjoyed and I was proud of her.
 
Her joy lasted only a few weeks, however, because her boss, a man 23 years her senior, started verbally harassing her. We’ll call him Mr N.
 
He would summon her into his office several times a day, call her on her cellphone at odd times, trying to convince her to go to bed with him.
 
“I’m only offering sex for your own benefit,” he would repeatedly say. “I’m married and my needs are met.”
 
Kajal was hopeless. She was a young virgin and in Iranian culture, if she were to complain, a man’s words would be considered much more reliable than hers. She was a Kurd and Mr N was Persian, the dominant ethnic group in Iran.
 
Plus, she was Sunni and he was a prominent Shiite man who was present at the first row of every religious gathering. She was a new employee and he was in power.
 
Weeks after weeks, she cried on my shoulder in silence and I cried with her. We couldn’t think of a solution. No one would take her side over his and losing the job would be public defeat.
 
The boss’s harassment grew more aggressive. It went from “I would do this and that to you,” to demanding her to sit close to him and not protest to his  hands on her body.
 
Kajal broke down, filled with shame and humiliation, feeling trapped and suffocated.
 
One of Kajal’s colleagues who had become suspicious of Mr N’s behavior approached her. She was a woman. She knew. But she was also a Kurd, also a woman, also a Sunni, also an employee.
 
She did, however, have one privilege in this highly ageist culture. She was a mature woman.
 
She encouraged my friend to record Mr N’s voice, to keep his nasty voice messages, to gather evidence. Kajal did so but there was a problem. If she were to be the one telling on the boss, she would not be safe from his future revenge. A plan had to be devised.
 
The woman talked to male colleagues about Kajal’s situation. But to get them on her side, to convince them—to go beyond blaming the female victim—she couldn’t just rely on reminding the men of a woman’s right to work in a safe environment.
 
She emphasized that the boss was a Fars, belonging to the notorious Etela’at, the Iranian intelligence agency, a group with a history of victimizing Kurds. This was reason enough for the men risk their careers to protect a young woman.
 
After days of discussion, a plan was devised.
 
One day, when Mr N called Kajal in and tried to touch her, she raised her voice. Other employees who had gathered behind the door, waiting to hear Kajal’s call, rushed inside while she was yelling at him.
 
The boss had been caught red-handed and the witnesses were men. Denial was no longer an option for Mr N.
 
Mr N, of course, was never punished for what he did. He was only transferred to another Kurdish city where he could continue harassing other Kurdish women.
 
That is not the moral of this story.
 
Kurdistan has come a long way over the past decade. This week, Kurds gathered to protest an alleged rapist’s immunity after the victim’s fatal jump.
 
On Monday, Farinaz Khosrawani plunged to her death from the fourth floor of the Tara Hotel in Mahabad after allegedly being threatened to rape. Local people and Kurds in other cities felt they could not remain silent. Over 25 people, including security personnel, were injured in this protest.
 
This incident can be analyzed from many angles. This article, however, focuses on gender.
 
In Mahabad, being a woman is no longer the only reason she is harassed. It is not because of what she is wearing or where she is—or simply because she exists and her very existence is arousing for men—that she becomes the victim of sexual assault.
 
Fingers are pointing at the invader but not just because the attacker is a man. He is believed to be an Iranian army officer, a group with over three decades of figuratively having abused Nishtman, the Kurdish homeland.
 
Regardless of what caused Farinaz’s fatal jump, what matters is that in a still highly patriarchal culture, yet another woman was killed or was put in a situation to kill herself.
 
Iran is a country that punishes women who defend themselves against rapists, by imprisonment or by death. Mahabad Fatehi was one of these women, put on death row after stabbing a man who tried to rape her. She was only 17 at the time of the incident, but what mattered to Iranian officials was that a man’s life was, and still is, more worthwhile than a woman’s.
 
Under such rules and despite of, or because of, such misogynistic laws, this writer admires the dynamic and brave culture in Kurdistan that is trending towards progressiveness and is, slowly but surely, recognizing a woman’s right to safety.
 
This is a considerable shift from a culture that has always blamed the women who have been victims of sexual assault.
 
Political pressure, ironically, has and continues to create more awareness and a strong resistance among elite Kurds.
 
Demanding justice for Farinaz is not just about removing gender-based violence. Like most matters in the Middle East, it is a story with political repercussions.
 
Kurds in Iran are frustrated by the ever-increasing political, ethnical and economic pressures in the region. Maybe the Mahabad riot was an outlet, but at least these days a woman’s pain is reason enough for a protest.
 
The praise for Fainaz runs deep: she is acclaimed for choosing death over “indignity,” for protecting “namoos”– honor, for having worn Kurdish dress, and she is compared with the female fighters in Kobane.
 
But, would her life be less worthy had she found a solution other than suicide? Would she still be trusted, protected, accepted, respected and healed if she had opened up about the assault after the fact?
 

Ava Homa is a Kurdish writer based in the US.
The article was originally published HERE

Friday, May 8, 2015

The lullaby of legendary Farzad Kamangar

The lullaby of legendary Farzad Kamangar




Ava Homa
Ava Homa/ Author; Lullaby
“I will eventually get out of here. The butterfly that flew away in the night told me my fortune,” Farzad Kamangar wrote in prison, shortly before the Iranian government made the decision to place a noose around his neck.
It was on May 10, 2010—Mother’s Day—that Farzad’s mother heard through the media that her son, who had been told he would be released, was killed.
“He had such a tender soul. He loved his students to pieces. Spring was his favorite season. He was born in spring,” his mother says in a video posted on YouTube. But tears stop her from continuing—from telling us that he was executed in his favorite season.
This man who loved spring and his students was charged with moharebeh (enmity with God and the state) and terrorism. It is true. Teaching young children their banned mother tongue terrorizes the Iranian oppressor.
Farzad Kamangar was tremendously popular, cherished by Kurds and non-Kurds, young and old, men and women. The love others had for him was, ironically, what convinced the authorities to execute him despite his obvious innocence. Popularity terrorizes dictators, who are nourished by hostility and antipathy in their nation.
How did Farzad move so many people? Was it something in his voice, spreading across the internet and making him one of the most influential Iranian figures of 2010? Did he hypnotize us with his poems? His letters?
Farzad Kamangar couldn’t stop his torturers from breaking his chin and teeth, but he was able to maintain the life within him through imagination and literature. “I won’t let them kill me inside,” was his goal—and he reached it.
In one of his letters—­which are still available on the internet—he describes being transported to Sanandaj Prison, Kurdistan. He paints a vivid picture of Kurdistan in the autumn for us through his view—not only from the window of the plane, but also through the window of his imagination. He writes little about his anguish, but instead about his moments of falling in love while listening to the music of legendary singer Abbas Kamandy and of hiking the Awyar Mountain. He is distracted from these memories only when the bitterness of the blood he accidentally swallows threatens to suffocate him.
The prison guard who anxiously checks that Farzad has survived a severe beating doesn’t know, cannot know, that Farzad, in his mind, is dancing at his wedding, waving his chopi—his handkerchief—in the air and shouting, “Cheers! Cheers to all the prisoners’ mothers who are awaiting reunion with their children. Cheers to all the men and women who lost their lives for their ideals.”
That is what has made Farzad Kamangar a legend. He is one of the few people on the planet—like Nelson Mandela, like Leila Zana—who was not broken under torture.
Lullaby / Ava Homa
Farzad Kamangar / Illustration: Tamar Levi
Farzad Kamangar was a teacher devoted to improving the life of village children. He was all too familiar with suffering, both directly in his own life and indirectly through others’ experiences. Farzad knew the pain of Kurds, the pain of ethnocide and linguicide. He was familiar with the widespread poverty in Kurdistan resulting from politicization of the region, with the abuse and violence suffered by women because of the government’s gender policies. For Farzad, the hurt wasn’t just the physical torture he endured—it was the pain of his nation.
His voice, his imagination, his words, his ability to touch the agony of others made Farzad Kamangar an icon representing all political prisoners who have been executed at the hands of the Iranian government. He was and still is a strong inspiration. He continues to live in the heart of all those who admire him. His voice continues to be heard not only through his own writing, but also in the poems and stories he inspired.
Novel Rights has published a short story inspired by Farzad Kamangar’s letters from prison: “Lullaby” offers a glimpse of his powerful reality.
- See more at: http://www.novelrights.org/2015/05/08/the-lullaby-of-legendary-farzad-kamangar/#sthash.5JJnpCDF.Q9tiEPnA.dpuf