I get on my flight to Hewler (Erbil). It’s my first time flying to South Kurdistan, the autonomous region of Kurdistan. Everyone on the plane is speaking in Kurdish, in all the different dialects depending on what part of Kurdistan they are from.
I’m so far away from home but yet it feels like I’m going home.
On arrival we all exit the plane and line up for the passport control. Last time I spoke to a customs officer was in Istanbul a few months ago, he had asked me if I was Turkish and I said “No”, he then asked me “What are you?” I said “I’m Kurdish” he literally threw the passport at me…
This time I approach the customs officer that commenced with speaking in English with me, I answered him in Kurdish and this big smile covered his face, he said “Tu Kurdi (Are you Kurdish)?” I smiled back holding back tears and answered him that indeed I was. He told me “Welcome to Kurdistan, welcome home, I hope you enjoy your time here.”
I’m staying here with my friend, my childhood friend, my sister Sliva. We haven’t seen each other in probably 8 years but all this time quickly disappeared the minute we hugged each other again. Life can be extremely kind and wonderful when surrounded with love.
I wake up the next morning with the sound of construction outside my window, it’s the construction of the up and coming World Trade Center.I go out for a walk with my aunt and uncle, everywhere I go the beautiful flag of Kurdistan is waving. The flag that represents my people, the flag that in the parts of Kurdistan my family comes from, can still not be waved freely. The flag that only 40 km away from where I am, Kurdish Peshmerga are fighting for all of us to still be able to wave. The flag that reminds us each and everyday we can never stop defending or we will waste all the hard work and sacrifice of our ancestors that never gave up and never stopped believing in our people and the future of a united KURDISTAN.
I feel stronger then I’ve ever felt before. Safer then I ever felt before. I feel pride, prouder than I have ever been before.
Home is where the heart is.
Today Hewler is my home.