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.

April 17, 2021

“I worked in a restaurant that was serving barbecue in Sarekani for 40 years. After our city was invaded by Turkey in 2019, we migrated to a camp near Tal Tamr. After we were settled, I had to start working again to provide a living for my family. I set up a trolley to sell (Mushabak), a type of sweet that's well known there. I sell a kilo for a dollar, which is way lower than Bazaar's price, and that's because I pay no taxes or shop rents, and the IDPs can't spend much money. I'm very happy with my work, I even have customers from outside of the camp. However, I can only work during the winter, in the summer not many people by my product. Therefore, I search for other jobs during the summer because I can't afford being idle”. ...

April 12, 2021

“Losing my grandparents several years ago was among the worst things that's happened to me. I lost my grandfather in 2008, and my grandmother in 2013. Even though I was just a kid, but I was really sad. I looked at my grandmother one last time before they bury her because I knew it was going to be the last time. I felt heart broken, and tears streamed down from my eyes. My father found it very difficult to tell me the news; you'd be very lucky to have grandparents like them. My grandmother used to put to me to sleep and take me everywhere with her. My grandfather used to always give me money. They were really good people, they used to always support me, and for me they were like my parents. Their passing was such a surprise to us, and I still get very sad when I think about it”. ...

April 4, 2021

“When Turkey started their attacks on Afrin, we were trying to hide from their airstrikes in the caves. I was pregnant back then and was about to have a baby, the day they took me to the hospital, the hospital was under the threat of being destroyed, there were rumors that it was going to be hit by airstrikes. I was very nervous until I had the baby, and after a week of giving milk to my baby, I couldn't do it anymore because I was so scared when I used to hear the sound of the airstrikes. Our financial situation was bad, I was sometimes only giving the babe water and salt to eat. We left our city and there was only one way out. Our car broke down and we had to walk to survive. I had my two weeks baby and I didn't even feel the pain of my surgery at the time. A car stopped and picked us up until we got to safety. I have gone through some difficult times, but I still hope that we will one day have our city safe and free again”. ...

April 1, 2021

“During the 1980s, I was a young girl living in the village, practicing our old traditions and culture. My brother wanted to get married to a girl in the village next to ours, and back then when you wanted to get married, but didn't have the money to fund the marriage, you could give your sister to one of their sons as a wife. They weren't even asking the girl if she wanted to get married or not. I got married and lived with my husband, but because we didn't know each other well, and didn't understand each other we had many problems. Nevertheless, I ultimately accepted the fact that it was my life and I needed to adapt. Due to my husband's job, who was a moving farmer, we used to move a lot. My husband decided to buy a car and move to the city, he used to go to work for weeks and not come back. During that time, I used to practice sewing to help out. I am no 70 years old and things have changed a lot. Women can speak up for their rights nowadays”. ...

March 28, 2021

“I was just three months old when my father was martyred, and I have been raised without a father, but my mother acted like both parents. On March 12, 2004, there was a football game between Jihad and Fatwa football teams. During that game, Fatwa fans, attacked the Kurdish fans of Jihad team in Qamishli stadium. This led to a chaos and a protest by the Kurdish fans, but the Syrian police forces shot fires at the Kurdish crowd. Qamishli and the other Kurdish cities did not go to sleep that night. Every young person went back to the stadiums and protested, the police fired again and my father along with other fans were martyred. My mother told me this story, I truly wish he was here with us now because I really miss him. On the other hand, my mother had always tried to do what is best for us and sent us to school. Every year Qamishli's municipality arranges a game between Qamishli (Jihad) team and Fatwa team to spread love between the fans. I am proud to be a daughter of a man who had fought the system back then”. ...

March 20, 2021

“I became friends with several people who were smuggling tobacco, the police found out and they were arrested. I was also tangled in the situation just because I was their friends, I was in prison for three months. After a month and a half, they distributed gas for cooking. That evening, some prisoners who hadn't been trialed created a chaos, some of them were in prison for theft and some for obtaining illegal drugs. They poured the gas on the blankets and sheets we had and burned them in the room we were in. At the time I was able to run, and some of my mates hid in the bathrooms”. “I couldn't do anything, the fire was getting bigger and was out of control. Even the police ran out of the building and called firefighters, but it was too late and about 58 people died in the fire. Once the fire was controlled, I went searching for my cousin, thank God he was alive because he had hidden himself in the bathrooms. It was a tragic day, I lost friends that I had made in there. There were an investigation and the people who did it received a death penalty. After I was released, I decided to never go back to smuggling and everything that was against the law so I never go back to prison. I opened a coffee shop, and now I manage it as my main job”. ...

March 13, 2021

“24 years ago, I lost my right leg in a car accident, and my life changed forever. It's very difficult to lose a leg. After getting married and having kids, I had to work every day of the year, and I was doing something different every season so that we live comfortably and my kids can go to school. During the Summer, I help my wife making jam and sweets and we sell them to people on demand. However, I do different works during the Winter, I clean other house's AC system for a small fee. A year ago, I wasn't home and my son had turned on the gas, the house was completely burnt down, but thankfully no one was hurt. Back then, my friends and neighbors all helped me get back to track, my neighbors mean the world to me because they have helped me a lot. The house we live in belonged to my father, it now belongs to my brothers and I. They wanted to build a building here and go live in apartments, but I cannot walk upstairs, and cannot do my work if I were to live in an apartment so I told them to leave the house, and they agreed”. ...

March 8, 2021

“When I was seven years old, my mother taught me how to do hand crafting, that was about 28 years ago. Back then, I was helping my mom to learn more, but when I was 15 I learned completely. Hand crafting is usually done by people from the villages, and not the cities. Hand crafting helps me financially, despite the fact that it helps me mentally. I am married and have two sons, I will also teach them once they grow up, so they can pass it on to their children. I have already taught some of my neighbors and relatives and friends. I wish this tradition stays alive for a long time. My mother can't work right now because she has gotten old and can't see well. I currently have participated in an exhibition, and I am very happy that I have”. ...

March 5, 2021

“I am 18 and I am the oldest of my brothers. Ever since I remember, I have been a shepherd because my father and my grandfather also have done the same thing. I have never been to school because our village never had a school, and it still doesn't have one. I hope one day a school opens here so when I get married and have children, my children to school. I rarely go to the city, and when a friend of mine goes for school in the city I get really upset because I am illiterate. However, there's nothing I can do about it, so I raise my cattle and make a living for my family by selling their products, such as milk, fur and meat. We had a rainless year, even until today it hasn't rained enough, we are almost in Spring and grass hasn't grown. This has damaged us very badly because we had to buy food for our sheep, and I have sold half of them to afford it”. ...

March 1, 2021

“Due to my love for animals, I quit school very early. I started by keeping birds, and then I had dogs. I created a special place for them because I really wanted to. Every morning, before I have breakfast, I was preparing their breakfast. I feed my puppies in my arms, and that makes me more affectionate towards them. What fascinates me is that dogs are the most loyal friends to humans, and so I love my dogs and I care for them. When I visit the place all of the dogs run towards me because they miss me. However, I went back one day, all of them came towards me but one, its name was Daikus. When I went to check in on it, it was dead. I was really sad because I had raised it myself. Many people have criticized because of what I do, because I spend a lot of my time with them, but nowadays even my family help me raise my animals”. ...

February 26, 2021

“A year ago, one day I had a stomach ache, I went to the doctor and he told me that I had kidney stone. He prescribed medicine for me, but it was useless. I visited other doctors but none of them could help me, I took so much medicine and still didn't feel any better. I finally visited another doctor, he said that he'd take a sample of my tissue or cells for examination. I was very scared because usually these examinations are done in case of having cancer. After 10 days I was diagnosed with gastric cancer. I took 6 chemotherapy sessions. After the third session, they wanted to examine me again”. “It turned out that I had become better and the tumor was getting smaller. I reached the fifth chemo session and the pain was unbearable. One evening, I started bleeding and was rushed to the hospital, but they couldn't do anything due to my pain, they said that my doctor had to come. I reached out to the doctor, but he didn't come despite how bad my situation was. My cousin took me to Damascus the same day, and when the doctor examined me he told me that I was very stable, and I had never had any cancerous cells, I only had a lump of blood in my stomach. I was very happy when he said that. He prescribed a few medicines for me and I was feeling much better, and I have no pain at all now. When I went back to Hasakah, I decided to file a complaint against my former doctor because he told me I had cancer, and due to his wrong analysis, I had to go through chemotherapy and caused me a lot of pain”. ...

February 23, 2021

“In 1959, there were no schools in my village so my father sent me and my brothers to a Sheikh to learn how to read and write, the holy Quran was being studied in mosques back then. Among all the students, 3 other students and I were doing well, and we could finish the Quran in 4 months, while the other students needed about a year to finish it. After a year, a school was opened in a nearby village, and my father registered me there. The teacher there tested me and told me that I should go straight to the second grade and I don't have to study the first grade, but my father refused the idea. I went to study in the first grade and the teachers really admired me, they really cared for the student that studies hard. They used to even teach me after school sometimes”. “I remember when I used to play during holidays, I wasn't afraid of my family, but I was afraid that my teachers would see me not studying. I got into the fourth grade and we left to Amuda city and settled there. I finished elementary school, but then my father discouraged me to continue because we didn't have Syrian citizenship and he thought it was useless to have an education at that circumstances. Even my teachers visited my father to convince him otherwise, but he didn't agree to it. I started being a shepherd with my brothers. I am sure if I had continued studying I would have had a good future. I grew up and my love for education was still there so I started reading Jagar Khwen's poetry, I started learning his way of writing, and now I write poetry, too”. ...