Why I came to Kurdistan

I came to Kurdistan to meet those who survived persecutions while the world was silent
Not expats who have only learned “choni, bashi, supas” after one year

I came to Kurdistan to learn Kurdish
Not listen to expats impatiently speak or yell in Arabic or English to storekeepers and taxi drivers

I came to Kurdistan in order to eat kebab, birinj u bamiya, followed by hot and sweet black tea,
not Western ‘pizza’ or fried chicken to be washed down with Coca-Cola

I came to Kurdistan in order to appreciate old men in shalwar u jamedani walking with their hands behind them playing with tasbih
Not flashy businessmen wearing foreign-made suits and ties

I came to Kurdistan to experience the job sleeping on Kurdish mattresses friend’s homes
Not so that I could enjoy a posh hotel that costs hundreds of dollars a night

I came to Kurdistan to visit Khanis’s archaeological splendor, Pira Delal, and walk through Shanidar
Not foreign-made shopping malls

I came to Kurdistan to sit down and smoke nargileh in Machko while listening to the sounds of tawla and spoons stirring sugar into tea
Not sitting in Western-inspired Coffee shops and listen to SMS-message beeps and Hip-Hop

I came to Kurdistan to shop for groceries at any bazaar
Not mega-grocery stores with overpriced exported goods

I came to Kurdistan to learn about Kurdayati, history, culture, and different traditions
Not to belittle “natives” or “locals”

I came to Kurdistan because I believe in their self-determination
Not to tell them to remain part of Iraq and that their dream of an independent state is a pipe dream

I came to Kurdistan so I could call this place “Kurdistan”
Not so I could come here to call it “Northern Iraq”

Photo by The Darling Beast

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