Being a "Mountain" to the Kurds
I thought it would be nice to post my reply to the inquiries and questions that I have been receiving from many of you on my Facebook messenger and other social media on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter. Many of you are wondering how I am connected with the Kurds. Questions like: "Are you a Kurd?" "How did you know the Kurds and their history?" "Where do you get your inspiration towards the Kurds?" "What made you love the Kurds?" Why are you defending the Kurds? Etc… Questions like these made me smile, especially when I read, "Are you married to a Kurd? How lucky he must be." I'm not a Kurd, and I'm not married to a Kurd. I don't think I even have Kurdish blood flowing in my veins. I'm a Cordilleran, a full-blood "Igorot," which means "mountain people" from the Cordillera region up in the northern part of the Philippine Island. Just of this background of being a mountain people, I believe that the Kurds and the Igorots have something interesting in common to share, which is: "the mountain." The Kurds have a famous saying that describes and identifies them as unique people. "NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAIN" is a well-known Kurdish proverb that signifies their feeling of betrayal, abandonment, and devastation due to their history as a semi-stateless ethnic minority in the Middle East without faithful allies. Somehow this is how I easily relate and sympathize with the Kurds. Our Igorot ancestors ran and hid in the deep forests and mountains for protection when the Spaniards tried to subjugate the Igorotlandia. For the Igorots and the Kurds, the mountain is a haven of refuge when there's nowhere else to run. Same with the Kurds, it's from the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, and the land of towering mountains is the place of refuge where the Kurds would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes, the bombs, missiles, and found asylum within their chestnut forests.
How I learned about the Kurds is a long story, but it will be written in my upcoming book. If I have to share it here, it will spoil the entire book. God willing, I will finish writing to complete it for publication. So hang on there because many more exciting experiences, moving events, touching moments, testimonies, and adventures will take you to a time and space. It will draw you deeper into understanding the struggles of the Kurds fighting to be recognized and to rise as a nation without a country. In my journey in search of the Kurds, and as a non-Kurd, I have the utmost respect for the Kurdish culture, language, and people, especially for the Kurds who embraced and counted me as one of their own.
Seeing how my connection with the Kurds has grown is incredible. From the Kurdish community in Finland growing and expanding to the global society, it humbles me. Most of you have become a part of my journey in life. It seems I have known you all for many long years. Having you, I am reminded that we can respect and even love one another and share real friendships. I believe in my heart that overcoming fear and doubt is by allowing ourselves to know each other. I am convinced that getting to know you better and respecting you as my brothers and sisters is one of the best things I've done for my soul and for the cause of peace in the world.
Fargo Bcn Proud Igorot and friend to the Kurds