kurdi house

6 06 2008

[By Shideh]   We arrived in Sanandaj at last and greeted their famous freedom statue that most surprisingly looked exactly like a famous dance form of Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam. We stayed with the family of two most precious human beings who happen to work for Shawhin’s dad.  They had a cozy house on the hills of Sanandaj: small, humble, and darvish style, but had a view of the city.  As excited and fascinated as I was with their steep snaky streets and the gorgeous architecture of their houses, doors, and windows, I couldn’t resist noticing their weak construction methods and lack of safety in the case of an earthquake (which is quite likely). What would happen to these people if an earthquake striked? Images of Bam came to my head and it was hard to push them away as I was getting frustrated with my lack of power to help.


Freedom Statue — Photo courtesy of http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/3684/

This house had two small bedrooms for a family of five.  The wife and her young daughter wouldn’t let us do any work, no matter how persistent I was in trying to give them a hand for tea or dinner.  Their oldest daughter was 10, but she was fully capable of handling the household. I asked her about school, what they learn, what language they speak, what uniforms they wear.  She was extremely polite and shy, yet probably one of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen.  She said that she wants to wear her colorful Kurdish dresses all the time and that her favorite teacher speaks Kurdish in class, which are both forbidden.  “Boys can wear Kurish pants in school,” she said sadly, “but girls have regular uniforms, similar to the rest of the country.” Her eyes were shining when she showed me her math text book as well as Farsi Literature. I could listen to her stories forever, but her mother had prepared dinner: ghormeh sabzi, chicken, rice, yogurt, 3 different types of home-made turshi, and sabzi khordan (herbs).  It was amazing to see how polite and helpful their children are (may I say quite different from the spoiled Tehranies). We didn’t know how to show our appreciation for such a wonderful feast.  It must have been difficult for them to buy all that meat. The father came home for dinner after a day of hard work.  “He is an architect, a very good one,” said the wife proudly with a shy smile and eyes as shiny as her daughter’s.  He was an experienced construction worker I learned.  In their modest household that was built by him, it was inspiring to see how organized and clean everything was.  Most importantly, they had a TV with satellite in addition to a desktop with an internet connection. Every night, the family has dinner sitting on the floor while watching satellite in different languages: Farsi, English, and even French. They love “Voice of America” the most. It was an interesting scene, watching the family staring at the TV after dinner listening to the news in French.  I asked if they could understand the news. They said, “of course”!

When I was talking to the wife, I noticed that she had a familiar accent when she spoke Farsi. It sounded lovely, but I knew it well.  It reminded me of Rashtee accent (Gilaki). Later I found that the Kurdish language, which belongs to the northwestern sub-group of the Iranian languages (related to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family) is closely related to Gilaki, as well as Balochi and Talysh.  I learned throughout this trip that the Kurds in Iran have a strong sense of independence and pride, which is quite admirable.  I still wonder if they know how our roots interconnect.  These people have been abused by all governments for so long that they might have forgotten that they are a part of Iran and have always been Iranian, perhaps more Iranian than I am.  Is it right to deny them their independence though? Is it acceptable to deny them rights to speak their language in school?

While having dinner with this lovely Kurdish family I felt at home. We had to sleep early that night to be prepared for the conference the next day. But who could resist a cup of tea on their small and cozy balcony while watching the moon flirting with my beloved Zagros as the sound of Sunni style Azan filled the air.  

[to be continued …]





12 responses

7 06 2008
YA Architect

This particular article, and the entire Iran Shake effort, is a badly needed exposure to the realities of communities full of beauty and values. I hope that more and more audience from the “West” and the “USA” will monitor and enjoy learning about the cultures which may be a salvation to the human race, after the failure of both, Cummunism, and Capitalism alike, may be lessons in efficiency and humbleness can be earned. I am reminded of my own writtings while I travelled through the villages and oasis of Egypt, Algeria and North Africa studying (Architecture) and anthropological attributes of the most ever beautiful human agglomorations who live and prosper away from “civilization” as we know it. Love must prevail in the world no matter which Church, Azan Style call for a prayer of some sort, values must be respected, not bombarded and destroyed. Thanks to Iran Shake for bringing back the memories… YA

7 06 2008

Dear Ya!
thank you for your beautiful comment. I agree with you fully and hope for the same, even though I don’t have much hope for true tolerance and appreciation. It seems that there is a stronger force in the opposite direction, attempting to destroy the values and beauties of communities away from “civilization”. It is a pessimistic view, but I think we all need to work against this trend with full effort.

Do you, by any chance, like to share any of your writings with us and the audience of TehranShake? or do you have them published anywhere that we can access? I would love to read your thoughts as you travelled through North Africa. As I will mention in more detail in the next posts, there was a British architect at the conference in Sanandaj who persented his drawings of all the villages and cities of Iran when he biked through the country and talked about their anthropological aspects. It must be interesting to you, I will find his name.

I look forward to hearing again from you. Stay in touch.

8 06 2008

i loved the story, i fell in love with the family! how i miss the good old warmth and hospitality the real Iranian way. you did a great job in picturing the family, culture and even where tradition and modernism meet. you did great and i am so impressed i am going to tell it all to Babak right now.
i hope we get to read more of your stories.

8 06 2008

Shadi joon,
thank you so much for your supportive comments. I also fell in love with that family and miss them dearly. I want to put up some of their pictures, but am worried for their privacy. I will post a picture of the daughters.
take good care and I can’t wait to read your next post on “Adam Golabi”

9 06 2008

Thank you..
Ohhhh I have been to Sanandaj once and I really loved the statues in the squares!! I always remember them!

9 06 2008

Hi Dina jan,
good to hear from you. Sanandaj is inherently a beautiful city. I also loved their squares, especially the freedom statue. It was amazing.
I’ll talk more about their living standards and infrastructure in the future posts. In short, the city is in great need of better supervision and planning. It is disturbing to see how fast Tehran is improving in every way, while other cities are suffering to this extent. What was your experience in Sanandaj?

khoob o khosh baashee

9 06 2008

wow! arent they ever beautiful? they look smart and innocent. there is something about their beauty which i cannot describe.

11 06 2008

Hi, thnx for your reply.. I agree with you, other cities shouldn’t be ignored..
I remember there was a mathematics conference in Sanandaj and I had an wonderful stay there with my family.

11 06 2008

The statues are so lively!
We went to a darvish group performance .. lots of Dafs 😀
I remember there was a big beautiful park too, and some people were dancing kurdi:D It was so nice.

11 06 2008

This freedom statue is the first time a sculpture truly moved me… and it gave me exactly the artists intent – a deep sense of freedom… right in the space near my heart. It’s just amazing… قشنگ حس پرواز جسم آدم رو داد.

12 06 2008

12 06 2008

aaaaaaah, that’s a fantastic photo of Azadi square. You can feel the power and relief in the man’s arms and entire body gesture.
Thank you dina jaan.

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