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.

March 27, 2022

“There are many people who have misconceptions about villagers. They think they are ill-educated and ignorant! Being enlightened has nothing to do with clothes and the place and way of living! Living in a village does not mean that we are not aware of technology and the political and economic situation. Nowadays social media is the fastest way to keep you informed of all things. But our differences in some things have led to that misunderstanding. We enjoy the mounds and hills instead of the tall buildings. It is true we don't have a bazaar but seeing the plains and birds makes us very comfortable. Nowadays life is more about interests. Wherever you have a better life, you move there. I lived in the city for a few years. It's difficult to live there. I worked for twenty days a month and the payment was not enough for us! But now I earn enough money for a month from one week of work, in addition to clean air and good health”. ...

March 30, 2022

“It is clear to everyone that adolescence is the beginning of the process of enjoying things. Sadly, I didn't get that enjoyment. Because I am the only child of my mother. The lack of siblings has made my responsibility more difficult. Aside from doing all the work of the house, I’m always trying to keep my mother from being bored with that loneliness. Living in a house without waiting for a father to come back in the evenings is not easy! But in spite of all the misery, having a kind mother makes me thankful. She has raised and educated me in a way that only God can reward her for that. Whenever I’m bored and tired, I remind myself of the times when my mother didn't say no for anything I asked. So I won't feel tired as long as she is alive. I remember complaining about a job once, and a man asked, "Is your mother still alive?" I said yes. "So you must not complain about life," he said. I did not understand that at the time. Now I know how hopeful his answer is”. ...

April 10, 2022

“We have been friends since primary school. We didn't have enough time in school, but since we were neighbors, we spent most of our time together. We finished school together. I don't remember ever being angry with each other. We are alike in most of our things, except for our height! And people only see that difference! I don't understand why people make "height" a basis for friendship? Each of us has been told hundreds of times that “You are like number one and zero”. But those comments have strengthened our relationship. We are university students, unfortunately we hear such comments there as well. I find it strange, where is their consciousness to think that way?. But we respect our friendship and nothing cools us down. Let's not let color, race, height and style prevent two people from being friends and loving each other”. ...

April 20, 2022

“My name is Roody and I'm 31 years old. In 2016, I thought about starting a project in Qamishli under the name of Story of Nation, but the circumstances were not helpful. I have started it now again, and the project involves taking photos of people's faces from all the different groups and backgrounds in Rojava, furthermore improving the coexistence amongst the people. Every night, I make plans for the next day. I schedule a time with the person I want to take pictures of and then start the shooting. Some of the photographs are spontaneous, and others the people asked me to take them. So far I have taken more than 70 photos, and a while back, I opened an exhibition. I sold some of the photographs and donated the money to a cancer treatment hospital. For the photos that were not sold, I gifted them to the individuals, which made them really happy”. ...

May 5, 2022

“People call me Rashoi Saz. For me, life means music. This Saz is the closest person to my heart. Every day, I make people happy by playing my saz in the bazaar, and I’m sure they all love me for it. They always want to pay for my meals, and they have never charged me in teashops. When I come or leave the bazaar, people honk and stop their cars for me on the street. I am self-taught in music. Otherwise, I don’t even know how to write my own name. Muhammed Arif’s voice brought me into the world of music. So, I don’t spend a night without listening to him. When I want to learn a new melody, I repetitively listen to it and then try to imitate it. It was tough for me during the quarantine because I had no life without the bazaar. To put it better, my life depends on the money people give me either for playing music for them or just because of how much they love me”. ...

May 18, 2022

“Coexistence in Halabja has a long history. The beauty of this city comes from the reality that nothing comes between their love and devotion for each other. I am a Kakaiy girl; this hasn’t stopped me from having Muslim friends. When I see a person speaking Kurdish, I don’t care much about other things. What truly makes me happy is that my friends also have the same understanding of peaceful-coexistence. We both respect each others' culture and holiness. I have been a teacher for some years now, and there is mutual respect between me, my colleagues, and my students. Moreover, I have been working as a photographer in this city for many years now. I think I have attended events and birthdays of Muslims more than of the Kakaiys! I even participate in most of their religious rituals and take their photos. They also come with me to Hawar village, where our shrine is, and it is the true residing place of the Kakaiys”. ...

June 5, 2022

“Learning a new language has its challenges but also has twice the delights. I learned two new languages through Facebook. My English and Ukrainian friends were shocked at how I learned their languages solely through texting at such old age. I have improved my Ukrainian to a point where I can video call my friends and not just text them. They are so interested in our way of life and culture; they always ask me to show the people and the surrounding in the Bazaar of Khanaqin, even if it is for a few minutes. Now, they have become friends with the other shopkeepers around me. The neighboring shopkeepers make conversations with them occasionally, and I translate for them. I would love to have them visit Khanaqin and see the place for themselves. Unfortunately, they are worried about the security of Iraq. God willing, I plan to personally visit them, strengthen our friendship in person, and improve my language even more”. ...

July 3, 2022

“My dream is to become a volleyball player. Since this sport doesn’t receive enough recognition in Kurdistan, becoming a volleyball player is rather difficult. Players must work tirelessly to prove themselves and be accepted in a club. These things are challenging but not impossible. I have trust in myself, and my family supports me. I only work to make this dream come true. I practice daily after school; we don’t have a proper sports field, so instead, we do our exercises on the dirt field. The ones with experience around me have told me that players should start from an early age. So, I’m at the perfect age to make a great beginning. I feel happy that my height and weight are suitable for playing volleyball; currently, I only have time for school and practice. Gladly, I don’t even have friends! My best friend is my ball”. ...

July 20, 2022

“I have always been grateful to have my mother in my life. Now that I am a mother myself, I understand motherhood is a great responsibility. It is such a strange state; it evolves you from a simple and ordinary person to an emotional and empathetic one. It makes your consciousness to be awake at all times. It teaches you calmness and strengthens your self-confidence. Even though it holds many complications and new experiences, it is still significantly enjoyable with all its worries and pains. When a child is born, it is not simply a new soul coming into the world but also the most beautiful memory between you and your husband. A child is the legacy of love and affection between husband and wife. Thus, the joy of being a mother is endless”. ...

August 1, 2022

“If a human is born in a hedge even, they’ll still be attached to it. I was born in this house, this might not mean much for people, but for me, every corner of this house holds hundreds of memories. I spent my childhood and teenage years in that room. Since the building was old, it was crumbling and deteriorating. And because we were renting the house, we could not renovate the place; eventually, we left on the landlord’s demand. I have rented another house near this one; it is enough for me to see it every day and not lose sight of it. It is not easy to live your whole life in a house and see them demolishing it in front of your eyes. Every afternoon, I gaze at the front gate and remember my mother waiting for my father, and from the end corner of the alley, my father would appear holding bags in both hands”. ...

August 3, 2022

“I was ten years old in the 80s when I used to come here to fish with my father and brothers. Since I was raised near Dukan Lake, our life depended on fishing, so I also became a fisherman. We are a family of seven, and we rely on fishing. Fishing needs a lot of knowledge and experience; the fisher must be patient and quick to react. Sometimes, it comes down to luck; there were days I didn’t catch any, and some other days I caught up to 50 kilos of fish. I remember fish weighing 150 kilos being caught in this lake, and I have personally caught fish by hook, that weighed more than 30 kilos in this lake. Unfortunately, the fish population has lessened in Dukan now because of cruel methods of fishing that some people use, such as blast fishing and electric shock”. ...