Kurdish festival

I arrived at the second Kurdish Womens’ Festival where I had been invited to speak. Kurdish women have had an interesting trajectory and in their struggles have put top of their agenda equality among men and women – as well as the issue of rights in the lands where they live – Iran, Syria, Armenia, Turkey, etc.

Interesting – because the role of women in the Middle East (as elsewhere) is traditionally about home and family, but where there is a struggle, where there is displacement, where women have taken up arms – then the position of women is changed. It was a bit the same (though not truly comparable) after the Second World War here. Women who had taken over vital jobs on the home front were not so content to go back to the solely homemaking role thereafter.

Anyway – it isn’t only the women. The men are proud and celebrate it too. The festival was pretty lively and at first we listened to a great band – beautiful, beautiful singer. And then there was dancing. I did my best. Ibrahim Dogus extended his hand as the line of dancing went past my chair – and up I got. No choice. It’s what I never was able to do at family weddings – join in. So what my mother couldn’t make me do – the Kurdish Womens’ Festival succeeded in.

Then I gave a little speech – which was translated as I went – and did a TV interview for Kurdish TV in Belgium. And that was that. So interesting – how a diaspora moves from flight, to establishing the necessary food and roof over head and work, to education and careers. And my message to them was to take part in the political governance of the land – be that at council, parliamentary or any institutional level.