Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Nightingale's Journey Back To Her Nest

Kurdish song about Halabja
These are pictures of my trip to my hometown in Kurdistan, Iraqi part, in April 2010 (a few were taken on a previous trip in 2006). The song above is sung by a Kurdish singer/songwriter named Sivan Perwer ("Hawar, Hawar" means Shouting, crying out loud) . The song is about the genocide that took place in Halabja, a town in Iraqi Kurdistan, where the men of Saddam (commanded by Chemical Ali) attacked the entire town with chemical weapons, causing the death of five thousand people, babies, children and adults, and injuring eleven thousand more. This massacre was recognised as "genocide" by the Iraqi High Criminal Court in early March 2010.

from Wikimedia
from nijmannews.org

  There is also a poem that I particularly like and that I'd like to share here. It's called "Who am I" and written by Kurdish poet Cigerxwin, here's the English translation :

"I am in the east,
forts and castles
towns and hamlets,
rouks and boulders,
What irony, what a shameful day !
A slave I am now for blood suckers
Yet I saved the Middle East
from the Romans and the crusaders.
Who am I ?

Yes, I am the Kurd,
the Kurd of Kurdistan
who is poor and oppressed today.
My castles and forts
are now demolished;
my name and my fame'
swindled by my assailants,
those who set germs into my body
to paralize my existence
making a nameless soul of me;
a nation with no friends.
Who am I?

I am not blood thirsty;
no, I adore peace.
Noble were my ancestors;
sincere are my leaders,
We don't ask for war but demand equality
but our enemies are the ones who betray and lie."

Erbil (called "Hewler" in Kurdish) is the capital city of Iraq's Kurdish region. The history of Erbil goes six thousand years back. It was called Arbela and meant "four Gods"( the city was the worship sanctuary for the Assyrian goddess, Ishtar). I hope you enjoy my pictures :

Erbil from the plane

A veiled version of myself. The veil for women isn't mandatory in Iraq, only at the Mosque.

The city has a long history and here are a couple of pictures of the ancient Minaret (6,000 years old) and of the Citadel, which is now considered as World heritage by UNESCO : 

Now some food...

All traditional dishes (dolmas, kebab, rice cooked with grenadine sauce)

The street market (bazaar) :

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of

I hadn't landed yet when I fell in love with New York City. From my little window I could see the skyscrapers of Manhattan, somewhere in the distance. And my heart skipped a beat. I had been waiting for this moment for too long, and it was finally there. I had the strangest feeling when my foot touched the ground of New York for the first time : I felt like I knew the city like the back of my hand. As if I'd lived there for a long time, years ago, and I was coming back. New York is most certainly the most intense city I've visited. It's so overwhelming, but god do I love it. There's so much rush around you, it challenges you. And that is probably the reason why I like living in big cities. Enjoy the pics!



Black dress from Laila Rowe, NYC, as well as necklace
White dress from AX Paris

Skylines & Stripes

Buddy Guy & Eric Clapton - Sweet Home Chicago


Skirt & top from H&M
Pop corn pic: top from Forever21
Shoes from New Look
Bag from Dorothy Perkins

And the skyline... from (sweet home) Chicago

Blue Skies

Keren Ann - Lay your Head Down

Here's a  few pictures of my time in the Hague, in the Netherlands, where I spent part of my summer 09 for an internship at one of the Int'l criminal tribunals. Apart from the main street on a Saturday, the town was incredibly quiet. Maybe it's because I was in an environment of war crimes and the complexity of a War tribunal, and living in a hotel in which witnesses & victims of crimes would usually stay for their testimony before the court, but the atmosphere was strange, "surreal", like a ghost town. The beach is probably the best thing about the Hague, where I spent most of the time after work and on weekends to keep me sane. I need to be surrounded by water. I don't think I could ever live in a place that doesn't have an ocean or a lake at least.