Peace Day In Kurdistan

By Kazheen Jalal

A thousand years have passed and still we see no change; whatever our conflicts, still we see no change. It is time for the world to hear our voices, even though our voices are stuck.

Take a moment to ask yourself this question to yourself, “What is Peace?”. Peace could be lack of mental chaos or not hearing the sound of weapons. In some cases peace should also be about loving yourself.

My answer would be that is all of those mentioned examples: Peace should not be determined by one thing, it should be about everything. We all need it but each in different form. Some are seeking mental peace, while their friends seek physical peace, and their neighbors wish for economic peace. It is every humans’ right to ask for things that they are not given, but peace is the most important right. And we should get it.

On September 21st 2018, several Postcards For Peace Ambassadors from Kurdistan, in partnership with Emma organization for human development, celebrated Peace Day by distributing hundreds of postcards around a camp of Internally Displaced People (IDP) who had fled from ISIS fighters and settled in Kurdistan and now live in a terrible mental and physical conditions. Even though some of them were illiterate, they all understood as we explained our project, delivering the message we had prepared to them. They held hope that, through the postcards, their voices would be heard; hoped the international community will help bring back peace to their world. PEACE: something which is missing now and often completely forgotten.

Walan, a Yezidi survivor who escaped her ISIS attacker, stated, “I do not remember when I last lived in peace. That could be a long ago”. She held a postcard on which was written, “Do not talk about my dignity, I will bring back peace”. Walan, who belives she has lost her dignity, asked us to hide her face while taking her picture, she was afraid the ISIS fighter that raped her, may discover her hiding place.

The postcards we shared were all designed with religious and national symbols, even the quotes were extracted from ancestors’ poets or old religions. It is clear that Kurdistan is a nest for many ancient beliefs such as Zoroastrian, Yezidi, Christian and Islam. And, nations such as Kurd, Turkmen, Arab and Chaldean live in Kurdistan. We tried to create postcards which quoted or represented each religious group. The aim of the project was to show the good side of each group.

In Kurdistan almost everyone has been facing war in various ways. From our ancestors to the 2018 generation, all have a bloody moment in common. When students study history, they see the current situation. They study how the fallen Iraqi reign brutally stormed into Kurdistan, sweeping the people aside with their guns. They see how villages were ruined and Kurdish men beheaded. Thoughout history, they see how bad the situation has been for women too; often the significant victim. It does seem that there is no difference between old and new Kurdish history: it is always is the same. It does not matter what age they are at, they feel the same, they shared the same stories. In 2018, still historians write stories about atrocities that we face. As I am writing this, I am sure this will be history one day, and hope will teach people to wake up and make peace.

We dream a world where we do not need campaigns anymore, a world which humanity is spreading in the streets.

Kazheen Jalal (pictured above) is a Postcards For Peace Ambassador, living in Kurdistan region of Iraq.