Since the beginning of time women and mothers have held a place of utmost respect in the Kurdish community. Indeed, we know that both genders were essential to creating life on the earth; tempering riotous will with beauty, tenderness and compassion. Throughout the ages, as now, Kurdistan has suffered. The strength of our women though, in this suffering, is at heart of our nation and determines both our survival and our future.
The day religion was used as an excuse to disguise atrocity, sectarian darkness became a blight on our ancient land. The fight the citizens of Kobane put up to defend against this evil, has given them a place of honour. History will never forget their bravery against these dark forces.
In future times it will be recorded that the citizens of Kobane fought to live in freedom, rejecting the prison of darkness. It will also be remembered that Kobane’s warriors included the city’s girls and women. They took action alongside the men, holding weapons of truth and beauty as well as guns against the enemy. Mothers, sisters and wives fought shoulder to shoulder, no longer fragile, but fierce in defending their freedom. Instead of acquiring a Max Factor bag of make-up, or a new Chanel purse, they carried the accoutrements of war. Their music of choice was no longer a lilting love song; instead the blast of bombs defined a desperate battle for Kobane’s beloved soil. No longer did they wrap their arms around their lovers and children, instead they fiercely embraced the necks of their Kalashnikovs. By defending so bravely that which they held most dear, the women of Kobane became global symbols of clarity and hope in a world gone mad.
A Woman from Kobane at the IWD march
This direct action and immediate bravery is set against the ineffective political talking shops. The one consolation is though, that as time goes on, people are less likely to be fooled. They are starting to demand that politicians representing a people in conflict should be getting their hands dirty – not just sit in a French castle in Alsace or being welcomed by President Obama in the White House. Invitations to safer and more peaceful climes should only be accepted when driving crucial diplomacy, instead of being seen as a perk of political office! Those in power should look to the women of Kobane for moral guidance; understanding that the thrones of power they believe to be theirs are not a God-given right. Politicians should understand that they are tools that must be used for the good of the people, no matter how hard the path. The definition of power must shift and be used to demand change, irrespective of personal or political consequences. The people of Kobane will be slow to forgive otherwise.
I have a personal message to you women, who have replied to bullets with the beauty of truth, to bombs with the spirit of endurance and to fear with a banner of hope. You are consecrated in the sight of your people. You are symbols of the enduring legacy of defiance in the face of persecution. Instead of golden jewellery, or roses, which are fleeting and passing, I wish to honour you with words that will endure. I therefore share with you this Kurdish poem. Like many other old poems in our tongue, these lines recognise in Kurdish women a spirit that is ever-lasting; and tell us that it is through your eyes all of us will come closer to understanding the true meaning of life.
This is what the poet Nali shares:
Joseph the prophet boy was honest and true
Infallible honesty is defined by Jesus’ mother and thus you
Your works be praised, as complete and true
You, the angels of Mariam
I believe your bravery can change the future for all of us. Thank you.