The Kurdish Globe
By Sazan M. Mandalawi
It has been a while, a very long while. But here is a bird with stronger wings flying above the clouds to a destination called home. How great I feel as I am in the sky knowing in a matter of hours I will land in Erbil International Airport. While typing on the plane even the words on the laptop screen seem to be dancing with happiness. The joy is not just in the idea of the return, but in the fact that this is a one way ticket journey back home, which means it is time to settle.
The return is a secret; my family is not expecting me home until another two weeks. I try to imagine my mother's reaction as I enter our family home; I can already smell her tight hug. My mother does not have a clue when she returns from work this afternoon her daughter will sit at the dinner table tonight; my father has no idea that his little bird will also be among his other birds today as he waters his plants in the garden. The little brother has no clue Big Sister is back; the best friend has no idea she will get a surprise at her door tomorrow morning. And I smile as I remember it is my good friend Narin who I will see first in Erbil; Home sweet home indeed.
For those who followed the Memoirs column previously, you will remember that I left Kurdistan as part of the KRG's Human Capacity Building Program for students to pursue post graduate studies abroad. As I departed I wrote of my emotions and thoughts, now exactly 363 days later I write of my return.
As I am returning home it is not just of my happiness that I am thinking, but the joy of many young Kurds who have just submitted their final research papers and are flying home having completed their MA degrees.
I am thinking of the mother of my former colleague who lives in Ranya, who suffered a lot in her life as she raised her children. I wonder if words can reflect her happiness as she sees her son walking in the front door knowing he has made a dream come true. Her sacrifices have paid off.
I am thinking of the Kurdish man who not long ago fought on mountain tops and faced death for the sake of this nation. How will he feel and what will run through his mind as he sees his daughter return home having made her dream come true, a dream he probably never dreamed of.
If one of my friends read this she would say that I am "talking to the birds again" and she would be right. Who knows what the reality is like; how will it feel to be a petit, young female in a career path that is dominated by males? How will it be to an ambitious woman with too many dreams in a developing society? How difficult will it be to pursue the dream job I often think about in an environment that does not always believe in the capacity of young people? Many 'how' and 'what' questions remain at the back of my mind, but only the Memoirs ahead will show what it means to be a 21st Century Kurdish girl living in Kurdistan.