So the old saying goes: “Dogs are a man’s best friend”, that, my dear reader can be applied anywhere in the world, but one would only be foolish to acquaint a Kurdish man’s best friend with a dog. From much thinking and analyzing and with living experience with Kurdish men, I have finally completed my list. So what would be the best friend of a Kurdish man? Surely not a dog, nor is it gold-- like their female counterparts.
Being the eldest and the only girl in the family, the love I earn from my father is boundless, yet I must admit, at times there are two, as a matter of fact, now three others in the house who I am disgracefully jealous of—the attention and love they receive from him is as if they were born years before I was.
This morning, like all other mornings he’s awake at least forty-five minutes earlier than the time he needs to wake up for work. It takes my father a quarter of an hour to make breakfast for Shalan, Dalan and baby Xapan (or Xapo). They are on a healthy diet; orange, apple, cucumber, tomatoes and only red capsicum and ripe dates.
They are also picky and do not drink tea, so instead they prefer cool water; and how can I forget that the bread must be minced thoroughly of equal sizes, if measured, the dimensions would probably be exact; this should first be soaked in a little bit of water and a pinch of sugar to sweeten it up. All this fuss and these three eat like birds. Amusingly, that is because they are birds!!
If he is not at work, or writing then his time is spent with these three small birds; he cares for them, feeds them, lets them fly around the house freely (pooping wherever pleases them) and he is a doctor when they break their legs or wings. The cages are cleaned every day, with fresh food. They sing to him, they sit on his shoulders; they nip on his hands and flatter their wings. When he is feeling angry they calm him down, when his joyful they complete his happiness, and when he is tired they are his remedy to unwind. After all, they are his best friends!
Prior to taking any family trip that will last few days, there is always a warning “do not bring too many things—there is no room” as soon as a I enter the car I see the guests are there before me, the back seats are put down to make room for two cages- and I realize one again I will be deadened the entire journey with the endless tweeting sounds coming from the back. It would not be as bad if we had two sets of 2 year-old twins at the back.
A story that runs in our family is of a man from Mandaly, and lived in Baghdad; he was deported to Iran in the 1980s with the many other Kurds, under the Hussein regime. His house, belongings, money, documents and even clothes were confiscated as he was forced to leave his house and dropped on the border of Iran. He refused to leave his house if he could not take his bird with him. He insisted, the bird, too, had to be deported with his family making the point he was part of the family. Having no other option the authorities allowed him to take the bird along, two decades later the old man died and so did the bird, but the message is that the love and connection is plainly as strong as iron.
Any person can reflect on their father or grandfather polishing a cherished gun or a small sword reminding them of ‘those days’, but fortunately today weaponry is not the best friend of the Kurd, but it remains a hobby or a favorite past time. Many Kurdish men have also a hobby of collecting rosary—in all their shapes, sizes, colors and textures. Some of them have very specific stories behind them, others made of simple beads but some men cannot leave the house without the rosary in one of their hands.
Posing the question to some friends about the best friend of a Kurdish man, one reply was ‘eeer… his AK-74’ another one said ‘dancing’ and a few others suggested nature. All proposals seem to be appropriate associations!
I would not be naive to believe a young Kurdish infant performs his first dancing steps from the time he is still in his mother’s womb-- that is, the traditional Halparke dance. As much of a professional dancer you maybe, it is incomparable to the way a Kurdish man dances; the way the feet, shoulders and the rest of the body liaise in the traditional dancing is remarkable. But to disseminate a Kurdish man with only dancing you will be underrating his many other talents.
The guys working in the Globe prefer driving over 25 minutes to outside Erbil to literally be in the middle of nowhere to work on the paper instead of the local office around the corner to many of us—this is because the other is surrounded by green scenery and oversees some trees and bushes.
Finally a Kurdish man’s best friend all comes back to nature. In nature he uses his AK-74, in nature he observes the birds, in nature he enjoys to read and work, in nature he plays music and begins to dance on mountain tops and it is in nature that he finds his inner happiness. Nature is their medicine!
Sazan M. Mandalawi published issue 223 www.kurdishglobe.net