Drama queen in Kurdish language class

Firaqşo. I had to walk to the kitchen to check, but yes, dish washing machine is firaqşo in Kurdish. I check that in the kitchen because I put a note saying ‘firaqşo’ on the machine, but obviously, even after seeing it several times a day, I’m not a hundred percent sure I remembered it right. There are notes all over my house. On the door (derî), the cold (sar) and hot (germ) water (av) tap (muslix), on the table (mase) and the chair (kûrsî), on the wall (dîwar) and the washing machine (cilşo – walked to the bathroom to check that one).

Firaqşo. Click to enlarge.

I started learning Kurdish in 2012, in Istanbul. Teacher Apo had a small class of some six young Kurds who wanted to learn their mother tongue properly, and me. We had fun during class hours, every Saturday afternoon, but I also remember often having tears in my eyes. My class mates were obviously faster than me since they knew some basic Kurdish already and I started from scratch. I felt stupid, I thought I’d never learn. I could have quit, but I really wanted to learn, so I persisted. Not that it lead anywhere at all. In Istanbul I couldn’t practice, although I admit I never tried asking for ‘du kîlo firingî’ (two kilos of tomatoes) at the Üsküdar market. Continue reading “Drama queen in Kurdish language class”

Will hunger strikers die in vain?

What’s going on?
Since 12 September an increasing number of inmates in Turkish prisons have been on a hunger strike. Recently, on 15 October, a huge new group of prisoners joined in, exactly how many is not clear, but at least 628.

Who are these prisoners?
Continue reading “Will hunger strikers die in vain?”

Kurdish language class in Trabzon

No really, I think that’s a good idea, Kurdish language classes in Trabzon.  And in Denizli, Antalya, Konya and Bursa, for that matter. Everywhere where Kurdish kids are not the majority in school, a few hours per week of lessons in the second language of the country. Why? To bring Turkey’s biggest population groups, Turks and Kurds, closer together. Continue reading “Kurdish language class in Trabzon”

‘It’s time to take the fingers off the triggers’

‘If the PKK lays down its arms, the military operations will stop’, Prime Minister Erdogan declared this week. The fighting between the army and the PKK has been extremely heavy this summer. When I read between the lines, I think Erdogan wants to make it appear as if the PKK is totally worn out by all the violence and is somehow begging for mercy. Erdogan wants to make it look as if he is about to give the PKK the final blow, unless they lay down their arms now. But of course, Erdogan knows the PKK will not lay down its arms now. The PKK didn’t react to his words. The fighting continues. The death toll goes up. Continue reading “‘It’s time to take the fingers off the triggers’”

From Tansu Ciller to Tayyip Erdogan

Today, the biggest court case against journalists in the history of the Turkish republic starts. No less than 44 Kurdish journalists are being tried for ‘membership of an illegal organisation’, namely the KCK, the Union of Communities in Kurdistan. To cut it short: they are not members of any group, there is no proof against them whatsoever, the indictments are full of nonsense. They are being put on trial just because of their writing about the Kurdish issue. Continue reading “From Tansu Ciller to Tayyip Erdogan”

‘Maybe we’ll get into trouble for studying here’

Müjde is twenty years old, and she is finally learning her mother tongue. Even though she has been speaking Kurmanci ever since she was a little girl, only now is she learning the grammar, the proper words, and the stories of her native language. ‘Do you know that since I’ve been studying here, I have found out that almost half of the words that I thought were Kurmanci were actually Turkish?’ Continue reading “‘Maybe we’ll get into trouble for studying here’”