The Kurdish Globe
By Sazan M. Mandalawi
My first Olympic experience was in Australia when as a little girl I watched the Sydney Olympics in 2000 lying on the floor of our living room. Tonight, 12 years later I am in our house in Erbil watching the London 2012 games. My dearest reader, do not blame me for being too dreamy, na´ve or optimistic as I am sure right now as you are watching that you are thinking what I am thinking.
As I am watching the most spectacular opening ceremony that comes to mind and in awe of a brilliant performance, my heart is missing something. Now I am not only imagining one day for Kurdistan to take part in the games but I am thinking of the day when Erbil will host the Olympic Games. I am sure you also thought of this.
I watched the James Bond scenario, the Queen's entrance and the story of Britain's history in what was a spectacular show with lights, imagination and much preparation. A nation's culture, history and pride was shown to the world. I loved the way the lights changed and told stories; I loved the fact that thousands volunteered to make the event happen; I loved how in a packed stadium every single person was smiling and celebrating as countries from all different religions, cultures, languages and backgrounds were all under one sky, in one place without violence.
How I wish one day we can do the same. I am wondering if we hosted an opening ceremony as such what we would show to the rest of the world. We have such a colorful and vibrant culture as well as a very diverse and a rich history.
Now as I watch the countries come out with their national flags one after the other in alphabetical order I hope until we reach the letter "K", the Kurdistan team will make their entrance waving to a stadium roaring and cheering with people, our players will follow the Kurdish flag leading the way. I also imagine the athlete carrying the flag to be a female dressed in the traditional, colorful jli Kurdi.
Like a little child, very secretly inside I think to myself maybe now I will see the Kurdistani team make an entrance. Maybe it is a surprise. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
The opening ceremony is finished.
Yet I reach for the remote and put off the TV set well past midnight feeling a little down. The Olympic Games brings nations and countries together, unites everyone in a healthy competition. Countries made their way into the stadium in front of the entire world, I feel left out. I wish my flag also waved proudly in that stadium with the gentle breeze that drove over London earlier that evening. I wish for "Kurdistan" to have been called out in English and the eloquent French accent in the stadium. I wish and wish.
I found my diary, on the evening of September 15th 2000 when I was only ten years old I had written: "Thank you Australia... I am so lucky." Tonight I begin the first line of my diary dated 27 July 2012.
With a little sadness but much hope, determination and optimism, I begin writing: "London 2012 has made me dream of Erbil 2-something."
That something could be another 50, 100 or 150 years. It might be in the lifetime of my children, if not then my grandchildren. But dreams do come true and for the first time in my life I have an Olympic Wish. I am sure you did too.