It is 1980. I have just turned 21, and Iraq has just started a war with Iran. We hear missiles exploding near us constantly, and we hear the news of people dying everyday. To live another day is to have won a lottery. We live in fear, yet I don’t know why.
Each soul in this country is family, love and life itself to someone. I don’t know how family, love and life can be so worthless to those in power. Those in power have left our sons nothing but death — not even a country of their own. These young men either have to join the military and die fighting some country, not even knowing why, living in guilt for killing people just as innocent as themselves. Or they have to fight for a homeland, a country of their own.
My brothers have chosen the second option. The rest of my family now live in fear, praying that all will be safe. If the Baath regime finds out that we have Peshmerga sons, they will arrest all of us and punish us in the most horrible way possible in order to force our sons to surrender themselves.
My mom is more worried about me than anyone else, for me being her only daughter. She tells me to go and sleep by our neighbor. I listen to her and go, but I don’t sleep. I don’t sleep so that if I hear them come to arrest my family, I can confront them and say “Take me too, I am their daughter!” In a world where my parents ache, I don’t even want to be safe.
Then it is 1991. They say that Saddam will use chemical weapons against us, just as he did in 1988 in Halabja. I don’t know why all those people had to die in 1988, and I don’t get how the people in power never learn the lesson that the death of all those people brought them nothing — so why do they continue to kill?
Everyone, except for us, is preparing to run for their lives, away from here. Our house is so warm and loving, though, that we don’t even want to think of leaving it. But then the night comes, and my mom says “Let’s go” — and just like that, we run and run and never look back. I know I used to complain at times when we were home, but right now home is all I want. I want to drink water. Oh, I have never thought that water would ever mean so much to me. Whenever we stop walking, I look at the other families that have food with them, and right then I realize how valuable walls are. At least back home, whenever I wanted something, I ached only for not having it, and not for watching someone else enjoying it.
After a week of walking despite thirst, hunger, and tiredness, we arrived in a camp in Iran. They tell us, they have brought us some clothing and they are all in a tent. I run there. I cannot possibly be more miserable, but the girl spirit inside of me still wanted all the nice clothing. I would look at each and every piece and put anything I liked aside to save them, unaware that all those things I put aside, someone else is taking it for themselves. At the end, I go back empty handed, and it doesn’t even hurt. I just sit and pray that I can go back home and see all my relatives again. Even if it is just for one day.
And then it is 2020. The U.S kills some important Iranian guy in Iraq that I have never even heard of. I don’t know why he is killed. Or more importantly, why the place where I live, which is neither Iran or the U.S, is in the middle of all of this. All I know is that I — someone who is always watching fashion and make up videos, or just useless funny things on youtube — is suddenly scrolling through all of this news, just laying on her bed, not even eating, scared so much of death.
And not just any death, but an unjust death. I have just become so emotional realizing how big I think myself to be, but how small I actually am. No, not just how small I am, but how small all the civilians together in my country are. If a war happens, one could be killed while dreaming of what they have worked for all these years, perhaps as revenge for killing someone they did not even kill.
It is mentally too hard to live in Kurdistan! We live safely, but we are mentally tortured as a result of being in the middle of all the tensions in the world. Just a short while ago, protesters in Baghdad were being killed. I don’t even understand why people have to die for protesting. And also a short while ago, the Kurds in Rojava were being killed. And I still don’t understand why they are killed… just for being Kurds.