Humans of Kurdistan
The "Humans Of Kurdistan" project aims to present the cultural diversity of the country. A look at the faces but also the stories that lie behind each of them.

September 20, 2021

“My father was the mosque’s Imam. Since I grew up in a religious family, I walked in their footsteps and studied Islamic Law during my adolescent years. Later on, I became an Imam. But 70 years ago, in light of my liking and passion for fixing clocks, I decided to open a shop and provide for myself. My father once told me, “My son, I know you very well, you do not take money from people in return for your hands’ exhaustion. This will cause financial damage.” But I told him that even if I don’t receive money, I will open a store and serve people. Therefore, my father agreed, and I have started this work ever since until now. After my father’s death, I returned so I could become an Imam, from then on up until today, I fix clocks and work as an Imam in a mosque as well. Now, my eyes are getting frail and that has weakened my business, but even so, I still keep going. I have surpassed various conditions but stayed committed to my job, my identity, and my work as the mosque’s Imam remained”. ...

September 15, 2021

“We are spouses, we have studied the English language academically and our occupation is teaching the English language. We have always been concerned regarding the withering of our mother tongue (the Hawrami Language), which is unfortunately due to the lack of media; it has caused the speaker to forget the Hawrami language, which is our native tongue. Most of the time, we would observe that Hawrami children shy away from speaking because their Sorani dialect is not fluent. Last year, we wanted to initiate something different to revive the Hawrami language, in a form where the future children and youth are not self-conscious of being Hawrami, and are well aware of their language and culture through scientific methods and hold their heads high”. “As the first two individuals who walk on this path, my wife, who holds a Master’s degree in linguistics and is a Hawrami native, publishes English – Hawrami videos through social media platforms (Instagram). For the second phase, we uploaded the villages and the resorts of Hawraman in English-Hawrami, in the form of a short documentary on Instagram about the residents of the villages, resorts, the construction, the differences between the villages in the aspects of language and behavior, the ceremonies, the religions of Hawraman to introduce them to the world, alongside introducing the language. The third phase, which is our latest project, is establishing the first motion-picture dictionary in Hawrami-English”. ...

September 13, 2021

“When I first started working with my father, we would make tahini with very simple equipment. I recall back in that time, our tahini mill operated with water and we would grill the sesame with wood and fire. We had very little product with a lot of diligence on daily basis. Thanks to God, we have transported our factory from the village to a much larger village called Qasrok in the borders of Duhok City. Currently, my brothers and I work together, and we make more than 1 ton of sesame into tahini, and manufacture 2000 Kilograms of tahini per day. A fraction of it is local sesame and we import the other fraction from abroad. The weather in Kurdistan Region is suitable for producing sesame but due to the strength and the increase in the sesame fat percentage in the Region, we import a selection of the sesame from abroad. As of now, we export all of our products to the Kurdistan Region, and due to the hygiene and quality of our tahini, it has a lot of demand. I have a very pleasant feeling because I get to witness the outcome of our years of diligence and I am proud of myself.”. ...

September 11, 2021

“My friends and I are busy playing in that deserted area over there on daily basis. In many instances, adults complain and say that this is no place to play games and that jumping and leaping here is a mistake. Their excuse is that this place is covered with argil and our clothes will get smeared, or that the perils of all that smoke and the flames from the oil fields will influence our health. We are also aware of that but they must acknowledge the fact that we are children and we like playing. When we do not have anywhere to go, we are compelled to play here. When we gather in alleys, we cannot play from the fear of fast drivers. If we do not have designated locations for playing where we are secure, we are obligated to turn to a place as such. I hope the government can establish a number of centers and lawn playgrounds so that we could advance our aptitudes in sports”. ...

September 9, 2021

“You perceive being an only child mostly when people and your surroundings repeatedly tell you and remind you that apparently, you are a lonely person and deserted. I am an only child and I have always thought that a human’s essence is his own pillar in every aspect. Therefore, if you believe that having various brothers means you won’t lack anything and that in one form or another, you are a whole person, I would like to inform you that you are immensely mistaken. One hundred brothers cannot become the safety net your parents can be. Being an only child is not the same as being an orphan. Being without a mother or a father is. We often overhear from people and they assume only children are weak. Personally, I feel as though it is exactly the opposite. Because you feel as though you must stand on your own feet from a very early age. Therefore, I want to inform all the only children who are similar to me, that we are powerful people, we are our own support and backbone”. ...

September 5, 2021

“I have been visiting the Great Mosque for 30 years and pray there. I have memorized the entire 30 parts of the Quran. I recall when I had good eyesight, I used to crop wheat and barley and cut down trees in the village. When I lost my eyes, I was not able to perform anything, it was very hard. In the year 1953, I lost both my eyes due to eye pain. I do not have hope that my eyes will heal ever again because they do not even have corneas any longer. But this is God’s will, and he will form rocks inside the eyes if he desires. In the year 1959, I asked for my cousin’s hand in marriage and we wedded. She cared for me very well, and thank God, we have 5 sons and 5 daughters. On the day of the Halabja Bombardment, I was heading to the mosque to perform the lead prayer. I reached the gates and the sound of planes appeared. Everyone ran. My son grasped my hands and we went inside a basement. I lost many families and relatives due to the chemical bombings. If I had my eyesight, I would have liked to see the saints; to see Sheikh Ahmad again alongside everyone else I know”. ...

August 31, 2021

“I was a school principal for more than 40 years. Our salary was very little at the time, and regardless of that, I did not quit working. I was teaching because of my passion for it. In 2019, the army of the Muslims who operated under the Turkish flag entered Serê Kaniyê and demolished the village. We had to migrate and move locations. My condition worsened when I moved to a camp. I had nothing left with me. Our village was destroyed and I strayed far from it. I was old and have so many long-term illnesses that I cannot even leave the tent. I reminisce about my youth very often. I have had illnesses for 20 years. I have married twice but God did not grant me any children. Despite that, I believe in God and say, “Thank you, God”. ...

August 29, 2021

“There are plenty of people who are unemployed with the excuse of the lack of work opportunities. If a man is determined to work, he will find bread in the mouth of a lion. I am from Hajiawa and I currently reside there. Job opportunities are limited in that neighborhood. There aren’t many work openings and vacancies as required. It is not possible to wait on employment. Therefore, for the past few years, I found it suitable to sell fruits on the side of the road in Smaquli. I alter my fruits depending on the season, and I am familiar with the tourist’s preferences. Generally, they enjoy fruits that can be devoured on the road inside their cars such as, (plum, rhubarb, strawberry, apricot, berries, Egyptian cucumber, and so on). So, I try to bring the fruits that are domestic products from the fruits and vegetable suppliers as much as I can, because they taste better for the customers and it is beneficial for the region’s economy, and it also motivates our farmers.I love the location I work in. Although it is the source of my income, I was also acquainted with a good household here; we became relatives and they are now my in-laws”. ...

August 28, 2021

“I grew up in a socially accepting family. One day, 3 years ago, I was watching the Ms. Musical Ensemble during the national formal ceremonies. I was mesmerized by their adequacy, costumes, and discipline. This motivated me to practice and join this ensemble. My family did not hold me back, they even supported me. I accomplished my dreams when I participated and became one of the group’s elementary members. Now, I participate in every formal ceremony. I faced a lot of backlash from society because I am a female, but my family was supportive and I had faith in what I was doing, so I did not respond to the criticism. From this moment on to the Western revolution, which was also a revolution for women, they were able to partake in every sector; they became the holder of their own free will”. ...

August 26, 2021

“Since childhood, I have had a soft spot for drawing. This is why I started doing artistic work in school. In high school, I worked with art instructors that were prominent for drawing such as Akbary Mansouri in Kurdistan. The majority of the people who work with art have divergent definitions for it. To me, art is the meaning of a pleasant livelihood, and this has a different meaning for each individual. The existence of art within every aspect of an artist’s life becomes the reason why human beings can adjust themselves with attributes, locations, and time. Art is the reason for growth, it is the reason for tranquility and grasping life from another perspective, and giving value to the goods life has to offer”. “One of my finest works includes working on rocks and mounts, which is a significant part of the lives of the people of Hawraman, who have established their lives with rocks and stones. I remember when we used to reside in the village, we were a poor household and we were not able to go to class. That was when I left for Tehran for the first time. The first job they assigned to me was working on bitumen roads with a mattock. I will never forget when one evening I worked so hard my hands started bleeding. This was the start of a life filled with diligence that went on and on for years. The repetition of these factors was the reason for my growth and experiencing a knowledgeable life”. ...

August 1, 2021

“Back when I was 11 years old, I would watch Karate and Kungfu tournaments on the television screen. Even though during that era, satellite channels and social media platforms did not exist. Oftentimes, I would watch Korean or Japanese films, in my heart, I would wish to be acquainted with that art. I will never forget when my deceased mother would turn sacks and cloths into a cushion, I would hang it on the ceiling and practice for 2 to 3 hours every day. It got to the point where I would raise my voice and be buried so deep in the game, even my neighbors were aware of how passionate I am for that sport. In 1999, I practiced Kungfu and Karate with 2 black belt instructors for a year and a half. Afterwards, both of them relocated their homes to Erbil. We were over 20 players and were left without an instructor. It is misfortunate that within this society, solely soccer is considered as a sport, while other sports have faced neglect. Thus, I drifted afar from that sport and to this day, whenever I see a Karate player on the television, I feel a lump in my throat”. ...

July 30, 2021

“We were working on a film on the borders of Bazargan between Iran and Turkey, it was evening and the sun was almost setting. A security guard was on duty, in my heart, I said, “How lovely it must be to be able to view the sunset every evening”. I watched him for a few seconds, my friends were all gone and strayed far from me. I kept on observing the soldier. I could tell he felt uneasy, discomfort and grief from the way he walked. But when he saw me, a smile erupted on his lips. When I saw him, I answered with a smile and a wave. He waved back and I noticed the way he was walking had become stronger and more powerful; I realized that he had become a completely different person. I have to tell the cinema, “Thank you.” For allowing me to view the joy and dreams of humans from up close, and visit various locations in order to perceive human emotions”. ...