I wish I were a Kurdish girl

I wish I were a Kurdish girl

BELGİN AKALTAN - belgin.akaltan@hdn.com.tr
I wish I were a Kurdish girl

AA Photo

Right at this point in history, I wish I were a Kurdish woman. Why? Because their future looks better than ours. Somehow, the future of us, Turkish women, is orchestrated so that it is based on values that belong to the past while the Kurds have new prospects, especially for women, based on contemporary values.

Yes, I know what I’m talking about. I am a Turkish woman, educated, urban and professional. And I am worried about my future and my fellow Turkish gender’s future.

Just look around. The future of Turkish women is limited to wearing a certain medieval outfit and rearing at least three children. I am looking around for role models for future generations who fit this paradigm. Why don’t you also do the same exercise? I wonder why, but I cannot find any outstanding female role model who has at least three children and wears the headscarf, a person I can proudly show to my grandchildren.

The ideal Turkish woman of the future, sadly, has fewer prospects, fewer rights and fewer privileges than what our grandmothers had 70 years ago. I don’t have a daughter but I have bitter concerns for my niece and my future daughter-in-law. And for all the young girls I know. Mainly, for the next female generation. I have even more bitter concerns for my grandchildren. They will either comply with those in power imposing on them outdated, immature values with high doses of discrimination or they will be engaged in a disproportional battle. Just take a look at our neighbor Iran. Iranian women in the 1970s did not have the current restrictions they have today. Now, the new generation in Iran does not even know of any other option or have the awareness to question options. They were born into what might seem to them as usual.

Sorry, the topic was the future of Kurdish girls. Let me make one point clear: They, Kurdish women, have suffered so much up to this day that they deserve everything. Oh, they have suffered in ways that cannot be explained at the hands of the “state” and at the hands of their fellow male Kurds… They have not been sent to school, so that they can only speak Kurdish, a way to protect the language. This tactic seems to have worked but at what price? So many wasted lives… There were incidents where Kurdish women could not talk to their children because the only language they could speak was banned. They have been the subject of honor killings, honor tortures, honor discriminations, “honorable” forced suicides… I don’t want to go on. They have been treated as the lowest form of humanity, this unfairness coming from all sides, oftentimes from within the family…

Well, what about now? The poor oppressed Kurdish woman has a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Their opinion leaders, political leaders, administrators and NGOs are all extending a hand to lift them up. Just look around: They have a female member alongside a male in almost every initiative, every commission and every political and social move.
Wise men and women

I bet - please note this for future reference – that the “wise-men commission” will have more Kurdish female members than Turkish female members. Why this commission is named “wise men” instead of “wise women” is another topic for discussion.

Here, a short look into the Bağlar district, in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, where the mayor is female: Yüksel Baran. According to an interview with Banu Tuna in daily Hürriyet, the district probably has the worst figures in Turkey in terms of economy, domestic violence, migration, number of children, number of students per classroom and number of libraries (none). Despite all of this, Bağlar was chosen the seventh most successful municipality by SONAR in 2011. They have one women’s shelter and two women’s centers. They provide vocational courses. There are 12 female bus drivers now. They have a weekly district market where only women work. They have educational support centers for children and young people. They help students with their homework; they provide courses for university and high school entrance examinations. Last year, 70 of the 110 students who took the exams registered in their new schools.

Do you see what I mean?

They have an identity; they have pride; they have a vision. Tell me from the depth of your heart; do we have any of these right now? Our identity and vision as well as our pride are all shattered. Maybe we will be able to gather the pieces together hand in hand with our Kurdish sisters.

Again, I wish I were a Kurdish girl at this point in history. If I were, I would have helped my Turkish sisters in any way I could to upgrade their shrinking status.