A begana* amongst beganas

Shwan Dizayee

By Shwan Dizayee:

It’s funny how a group of letters, which make up a name, can spark so many memories, stories, tragedies, joy, and change the course of so many lives: some for better, some for worse, some long term and some short.

Saddam Hussain

The reason for me being here today. All things happen for a reason but I can’t help but wonder who I would be today, what I’d be doing, and where I would be if my father back in ‘88 hadn’t taken the life-changing decision to flee his country, leave his family, in order to be safe and live a life that his father and forefathers only dreamt of.

I was born into this world in a country called Scotland and so, even as I sit in my Chinese chair on British land, I am still not at home. I may seem to be at peace or, in other words, happy, but that’s only due to the fact that routine has taken over and the stability that my parents worked hard to achieve is all I’ve ever known.

I don’t know what it feels like to inhale mustard gas and see people disintegrate before you. I don’t know what it’s like to run away whilst the enemy retraces your every track. I don’t know what it feels like to lose a loved one to tyranny and injustice. I don’t know what it’s like to seek ‘safe haven’ amongst mountains whilst anxiously awaiting news or just patiently waiting for death to knock on your door. I’m only 20, and I recognise that I don’t know everything about anything, but I do know one thing: I am Kurdish.

Everything in my life is Kurdish: the way my parents have pushed me throughout my life to exceed and fulfil my fullest potential strictly in my studies, to see me successful – that’s Kurdish. The food my mum sets on the table, be it morning, afternoon or evening – that’s Kurdish. The way I and my family communicate with each other in our household – that’s Kurdish. The overwhelming emotion that overcomes us when we get news of the passing of a relative – that’s Kurdish. The feeling of being helpless because of the distance – that’s Kurdish. The feeling of your arteries clogging up after ‘sar u pe’ – that’s Kurdish. Being perceived in a certain way and being talked about otherwise – that’s Kurdish. Gathering with friends to drink tea and talk politics – that’s Kurdish. Saying one day you will return to your homeland where you rightfully belong – that’s Kurdish. Fighting over who pays the bill at a restaurant – that’s Kurdish. Locking hands, aligning feet and shoulders with the beating of the drum and the harmony of the flute – that’s Kurdish.

The fact that I relate these attributes to the culture of my ancestors and forefathers and, in a sense, lead a life that they so closely cherished and led, and that I will carry on doing so long after today – that’s what makes me Kurdish.

The way I’m listening to the legendary Najmadin Xulami whilst I write this – that’s what makes me Kurdish.

The emptiness I feel on a daily basis, whilst being surrounded by everything I need. I am Kurdish.

*Begana is Kurdish for ‘foreigner’.

Shwan Dizayee is a 20 year old student currently studying Chemical Engineering in the United Kingdom where he resides with his family. He hopes to return to Kurdistan one day, where he feels most at home, in order to help provide for his people whose culture and tradition have helped shape who he is today.

Copyright © 2013 Kurdistantribune.com

3 Responses to A begana* amongst beganas
  1. Ganj K Dizayee
    February 19, 2013 | 06:23

    Kurd and proud

  2. chope lastarkian
    February 21, 2013 | 21:04

    love that,its so impressive! lovely letter

  3. sabir
    February 22, 2013 | 19:38

    I think your title is motivated by a book ‘Minority within minority…”?

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