Pain

I got both (soft) criticism and (warm) compliments after writing about the Kurdish question. Thanks for both. I feel a bit reluctant to write about it again, but what can I do? It’s an important issue and it keeps coming up in the news. Tonight, I deliberately went to see something about Kurds; I admit… I went to see Close Up Kurds, a documentary film shown at the Independent Film Festival. It deals with the way the Kurdish people were treated in the eighties and nineties, and about how terribly dirty the war between the PKK and the Turkish army was at the time. It was not a nice picture. But the good thing was, it was told from many angles and many people had their say. People from villages in the southeast that were destroyed by the Turkish army or on their orders by village militias, intellectuals who were imprisoned for writing about the Kurdish question, a former PKK fighter, and a soldier who was sent to the southeast during his military service. The film showed the pain of both Turks and Kurds, and called on people to recognise each other’s pain, and for the Turkish state to face up to its history and the mistakes made. I hardly ever have the urge to applaud after a film, but this time I did. But of course I was afraid to be the one to start: it’s not my country, not my people’s grief, not my history. Luckily, the whole audience started to applaud, so I could join in. I looked around, and realized that the people from the movie were in a way all there: all these young and old Turkish men who all served their army call-up time, probably quite a few Kurds who carry their family histories with them. All this pain, I realized, was right there around me. Goose bumps.

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