Newroz: The forbidden Kurdish festival

Opinion Uncategorized

A traditional holiday celebrating the deliverance of the Kurdish people from a mythical tyrant is under threat…

It is Newroz festival today. Newroz means 'new day' in Kurdish.

They say this 'new day festival' is being celebrated in all Eastern cultures but for Kurdish people it means a lot more than a new day that says spring is coming.

Once upon a time, there was a cruel commander whose name was Dehak, in Mesopotamia.

Maybe he wasn't called cruel before, maybe he was a good man, but there was something which made him to do bad things.

It was his illness. He was near death. A doctor said he could live longer if he would eat the brain of a young boy every day.

He was afraid of death, he wanted to live longer but didn't think that his victims might also want to live and was afraid.

He began to execute them one-by-one everyday. He searched for new ones, and went on killing and living longer.

Kawa who was an ironworker, had a son too. He loved his son like every father but was brave.

He decided to play a dangerous game. He preferred to be killed to seeing his son die at Dehak's hand.

He shared his plan with the citizens. He said: "I'm taking my son to Dehak's house. I will take my sledgehammer with me. I'm going to kill him and rescue my son. If I succeed, I will make a fire on the mountainside as a sign of victory, if I don't, you will know both of us are dead."

Kawa and his dear son went to Dehak's house. Dehak was grinning, a new victim came and would give his life for Dehak that day.

Kawa, for the sake of his son's life, hit his sledgehammer on Dehak's head, hit many times until sparks flew and those sparks became a big fire that could be seen from the mountain.

Newroz then became a celebration of a new day, coming after the dark.

The powerful commander lost his life by the hand of an ordinary ironworker to give life to those young innocent people. It was a sign of victory and hope for many generations since then.

Today Kurdish people light fires everywhere to mark the occasion.

It is not a sign of victory, but the hope that victory will one day come. They want to be independent in their own country under the name of Kurdistan.

They want to speak Kurdish everywhere, to learn and teach it to their children at schools, and learn Kurdish history and literature.

As it stands, they can't even use their Kurdish names. The current injustice is bigger than Dehak's. Although every Turkish national day is celebrated, and Newroz isn't counted as a holiday.

Students, teachers, doctors and nurses are not allowed leave to celebrate. If they do go, they will be questioned.

People are being assimilated. Kurdish culture is dying. The cruelty is bigger now than it ever was before.

There are Kawas but not many because courage is also dying.

Newroz means 'a new day' but Kurdish people still hope for a real new day.