Origin: 14th Trip home, episode one; The time is 20.30 and as the plane descents and I hear the rubber tires of the plane hit the tarmac, all of the sudden I go into a daydream of thoughts, realizing how far we have come in Başur (South Kurdistan).
My thoughts take me back to 2004, when I traveled back to Hawler for the first time through the now unsafe Syria, a journey that was not filled with smiles and or happy thoughts. Going back now in the year 2013 with direct flights that take me from the Netherlands to Hawler is definitely a way toward our Kurdish dream and “destination”.
The Erbil (Hawler) international airport has grown immensely since the time when the first commercial plane took off in the year 2005, before the year 1991 it was used as a military base for the Saddam regime, but now almost no trace of the barbaric war exists and the airp0rt has truly become an important international airport in the Middle East, it has been renewed, rebuilt, expanded and there are flights to almost all the countries in the region and to large European cities.
As I think of this development, I get a kick back to reality by the chaos in the plane, I look around and I see everybody rushing to get their hand luggage ready while the plane hasn’t even come to a full stop yet. It’s the Kurdish nature, patience is not a virtue we admire. As I smile at the situation and actually feel at ease to be amongst my own people again, I too get the urge to quickly get my stuff and apparently try to “jump” out of the plane as soon as possible.
When I finally got the chance to exit the plane, I thank the cabin crew for their patience and their time on the plane, after that I find myself in a big hall, which was empty expect for the passengers whom had just disembarked the same flight I was on. The rest believe it or not is quite normal, an airport similar to any other international airport around the world.
A passport check that swiftly stamps an entry visa on your passport. I myself love when that happens, I like to collect those stamps as a reminder and a souvenir of my travels to Hawler.
In the baggage claim hall, a funny situation arises, as one of the sensors on the baggage roll is broken, all the baggage coming through hit the ground as there was too many suitcases coming out of that magical “hole” all at once, and of course as impatient as the Kurds are they immediately get frustrated and criticize not only the airport and its personnel but also the whole government and its leaders. A small malfunction has brought the Kurds into talking to each other and sharing their complaints which after a couple of minutes in no way has had anything to do with the situation here and now.
Some of the youngsters were taking up the chore of gathering the baggage’s and placing them in line, till the staff came and continued their work.
I myself, far from the situation was trying to get a glimpse of my family, suddenly I get into a tunnel vision when I see my sisters little girls rushing and running towards me for a hug, at the same time as I am laughing and hugging these little brats, who later dominate my journey, my eyes search for the smile and shape of a little lady that I have missed the most, my mother.
To be continued
Cover image photographer: Peshtkir