The emotional intensity of the ancient hatreds and violence between Turks and Kurds, the origins of which may not even be clear to the participants, is vividly illuminated by this novel by Yasar Kemal, a Turk with Kurdish origins. Set in the 20th century, a fact made clear only because cars and tractors are mentioned once or twice, this novel feels as if it could have been set almost any time over the past 2000 years. Kurds, Armenians, Yedizis, Turkomans, and even Bedouins inhabit the area between Turkey and Iraq, just after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Time here is not linear, nor is the novel itself, spiraling instead through generations, forced exilings, attempts to settle down, unconscionable atrocities, and rises and falls in fortune.
Category Archive for 'Kurdistan'
A young Kurdish boy, living in the Zagros Mountains in 1921, has always felt loved and protected, despite his family’s “poverty.” He enjoys “flying” from the roof of the family’s hut, experiencing the soaring feelings of earth and heaven at the same time, and identifying with the falcons. In gorgeous and poetic language, author Laleh Khadivi, recreates the “gloried ground” to which the boy is connected by birth and culture. Soon after his initiation into manhood, at age seven, he accompanies the village men to a mountain lookout, where they wait for the shah’s troops. In the ensuing massacre, the boy is orphaned, and he leaves the battlefield with the shah’s army, without a backward glance, ultimately consoled by the fact that he will be getting boots, a whole new “family,” and a new way of life. His eventual assignment to Kermanshah, a Kurdish city, in 1940, and his long residence there, bring his personal conflicts to a head.