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.

February 18, 2021

“For as long as I remember, we have had birds in our house as pets. I have always loved birds and wanted to have one of every kind. Eventually, I thought about turning this into a business, I asked for support from my wife, and she agreed to fully support me. In 2011, I opened a shop for selling and keeping birds and I'm still doing it. I also have a side project at home where I am planning to breed every type of Kurdish birds, which is managed by my wife. My life has become very difficult due to this job because I can never leave my birds. I only couldn't visit my birds during the quarantine for two days, and 67 of them died. I help a lot of college students and instructors, sometimes they come and take a few birds for research free of charge. I love my job and I will never leave it because it is a way to make a living for myself and many of my friends”. ...

February 17, 2021

“My fear is for the bad path that the society is going through, it wasn't used to be like this. There was less money, and life was simpler and better. There is no doubt that good and bad exists at all times, but I believe that now the bad is much more. In today's world, people trick each other without any remorse for their own benefits. My advice for people is to be good with each other and help each other out, we all live on this planet. That's why we should treat each other as sisters, brothers, and most importantly as humans and try to bring forth a brighter future, and don't let darkness overtake us. I can say that difficulties were more than good times in my life. My mother left me while I was a child, and I grew up without the love of my mother. I got married as a teenager, it was an arranged marriage, but we love each other very much and are very happy together. I live for today because no one can tell what happens in the future, and life can end in a second. That's why I live for today not tomorrow, I always try to live in the moment”. ...

February 16, 2021

“I was in first grade when my mother passed away. In 1986, we were in Sirwan town in Halabja city. My father was a driver going to Baghdad and coming back. It was at the time of the war between Iraq and Iran, and people were hiding in schools scared they might get injured. However, Iran soon launches an airstrike on a particular school. During that incident, my mother and brother and sister all become casualties in that school, they all died that day. That airstrikes are known as the burnt building of Sirwan. My father got married again after 45 days, and we became homeless due to my stepmother, our darkest days began then because even if we went to other people's houses my father used to get mad at those people. My sister was in an arranged marriage with our cousin since childhood, and I left to Iran when I was 13 and didn't come back until 2007. My mother's passing left a gap in my life that will never be filled, and I will never forget her. Even the whole world cannot be compared to your mother's finger”. ...

February 16, 2021

“The best time of my life was when I started to know myself more, I knew where my place is in the world and where I should be going, and art gave that rhythm. Negative thoughts are like people who are in your ship, and does not want your ship to reach land, they try to drown you and take you to the bottom of the ocean, but you need to remember that you are the sailor of this ship, never let these thoughts dominate your mind and soul and get them off as soon as you can. Anyone with any way of thinking, if they don't harm the society, then their existence is valid. My darkest times were when I had lost myself, I had created a dark world for myself that I could not be optimistic in. My biggest goal is for my music to reach the world and introduce Kurdish music in a different way to the world. Every day of my life is dedicated for changing for the better, while I learn and understand more”. ...

February 15, 2021

“After finishing high school, I went to study in laboratory. Our country wasn't doing well back then, people's livelihood was very bad and we didn't have public services due to the war. I decided to work as a volunteer while studying. I gathered a number of my friends and started helping people. Even though we didn't have much resources, but helping people worth it even if it only puts a smile on someone's face. We were providing food for less fortunate and displaced people. Then, I started working for a church, we offered a project and they liked it. The project was to put chairs in Al-Hasakah so senior people could sit on them when they get tired. Two years ago, during the attacks on Raas Al-Ain, many people migrated to Hasaka and were living in schools and some of them had nowhere to go. I decided to work voluntarily again with some of my friends, we bought clothes for displaced people as well as necessary items for their kids”. “The work was very difficult and we were really tired. Nevertheless, the look on their faces made us forget all that hardship. I finished college and started working in my own field. COVID-19 emerged and I started working in the emergency room, we were taking samples from people who were suspected to have the virus. The work was very risky because we had direct contact with the patients. We were the defense line against the virus and were most likely to retract the virus. I had the opportunity to travel outside of the country, but I didn't take that chance because the country needed people like me. I hope every young person who has left the country comes back and help us rebuild our country”. ...

February 14, 2021

“Life is full of risks, and I'm scared of many things, animals as well as humans. However, we have been brought up to only fear God, so that he doesn't take revenge from us. Growing up, I slowly started to love God, and understood that I don't have to fear God, and I could spend my time as a friend with God. This helped me to spend my days in happiness, I'm happy whenever I speak to God. Now, I don't even get upset from most things, like wearing bad clothes. I found a way to love God and my purpose in life was to be happy”. ...

February 12, 2021

“Age to me, is the biggest thing that could be wasted in life. The fact that we have to think second by second not to waste our lives and that death comes at last scares me a lot, and I believe it's okay because most people are like that. The death of my loved ones has been the hardest thing. While growing up, I realized that regardless of your beliefs and how you think, you could only survive by spending time with your loved ones. Life is short, try to make people happy, and that's the only advice I could give. The best time of my life is when I draw, when I turn people's feelings into drawings. It'd be very difficult for to get away from art. I still regret the fact that I went to Sports college and not arts. The day I saw Alan Kurdi's body on the shore I became hopeless from life, I'll never forget that image. People who I have helped become better have turned their backs on me, and that could be very depressing”. ...

February 10, 2021

“During the 80s when Peshmarga forces were active in the mountains and the cities, there was a volunteer force in Garmian called Pshtiwani force. Wherever help was needed, they were there. I also felt I had a responsibility then, so I bought a weapon and joined that force, and after a while I became the commander of a team consisting of 10 people. Then after the revolution, no one even said thank you to us. As far as I could, I was able to make a living for myself doing construction work, and being a shepherd. Unfortunately, I now cannot get out of the house much, I have become very weak and I don't like going out. I don't even like going into crowds of people. I don't even go to funerals in our village. Cities, streets, and events have no meaning to me anymore. The only thing that I have hope for is going to the house of God, I always dream that I will one day get there”. ...

February 8, 2021

“My life may be different from many other lives on this merciless planet. I have been trying to reach my goals ever since I was a kid, and every day I see my goals and dreams get destroyed. Nevertheless, I haven't stopped dreaming, and I hope that one day of them come true. After graduating high school, I didn't get the grades I wanted, and so I left school, even though it was always my dream to have a degree and work. As I grew up, I understood that education and degrees have no value in this place. I loved photography, but I couldn't work despite having many goals because in this country families are the worst enemy of their children's dreams, especially when you are a girl. I now do sewing for work with my sister. I hope one day I can develop this work and it allows me to reach my other goals. Life hasn't stopped, so we shouldn't stop either and we should always try to make our dreams come true”. ...

February 6, 2021

“I was 21 years old when the Anfal started in 1988. I will never forget how my 5 brothers and 3 nephews and nieces were killed in front of my eyes, then took us all to the Duz prison then Tkreet. Only God knows what I suffered away from my mother and family in those prisons for 6 months and 12 days. I was scared and missed my mom so much, I almost lost my mind. I tattooed my mom's name on my hand out of my miseries and loneliness. Not long after we were freed and returned to Chamchamal, my father passed away. Our wound from losing him hadn't healed, when martyrdom of my Peshmarga brother was added too. The only person remaining I was attached to was my mother, who also passed away 5 years ago. We went through Anfal and we were punished for being Kurds, but who remembers us now? I don't even have a political prisoner's ID yet”. ...

February 5, 2021

“My father was alone, and my two brothers were small and couldn't work, I was the only one who could work with him. I left school when I was in fifth grade and started working as a laborer. I first started working in Mousel's bazaar transferring things for 10 fills per day. In 1964, when Abdulkarim Qasim was the president of Iraq I started working in Mousel's sugar factory. I was the only one able to carry three 100kg bags of sugar at once in that factory. One day, a man from Gayara of Mousel challenged us to carry three 100kg bags of sugar for a reward. Despite being the youngest one, I said I could, too. The Arab man laughed at me, and said that if I could carry the bags to his car, he would invite all of the laborer’s to lunch, and if I couldn't do it, I would have to pay for their lunch. I completed the challenge. Back then, my father used to make 6 dinars per month, and mine was 16 dinars. I’m 80 years now and I have visited God's house five years so far, and I feel very healthy”. ...

February 4, 2021

“My father registered my sister and myself in a Tae Kwan Do school since we were 11 so that we can learn to defend ourselves and learn martial arts. Many people criticized us, but our family was supportive and were able to succeed. We have participated in many international competitions. Our first competition was in Urdu in Turkey, and I got a gold medal. In 2019, I participated in a tournament in Oman, Jordan and got a gold medal in that one, too, and in the same year I got a bronze in Beirut Open. I also got a gold medal in Erbil tournament in 2018. We had planned to participate in Berlin and Malaysia tournaments, but we couldn't due to the pandemic. In 2016, there was an explosion next to our school, we lost two of our friends, and that was a dark period. Nevertheless, we never gave up. Alongside with Tae Kwan Do, I also study Science at Euphrates University. I am in my third year and I have only left one year to graduate. I believe in myself, and I know I succeed both in Tae Kwan Do and in college as well”. ...