media |kurdistan & united states
I'M NOT AFRAID TO STAND UP FOR MYSELF AND FIGHT FOR IT. I THINK THAT IN SOME WAYS, I GOT THAT FROM MY KURDISH HERITAGE TOO. I THINK WE'RE STRONG - VERY STRONG.
Before I was born, my parents fled Kurdistan when Saddam Hussein began attacks on our people. Of course, they had no idea what was going to happen—but, after the first attack, they knew they had to leave. Young newlyweds, their arranged marriage ceremony had just taken place three weeks before they fled. They then lived in a refugee camp in Turkey for three years, which is where my older brother was born. I was born one year after they arrived in the United States.
Being Kurdish and growing up in the U.S. has been hard at times because I feel like I’m always trying to live up to both cultures. I’ve had to learn how to stand up for myself while also honoring my Kurdish roots. If my parents don’t want me to do certain things, I won’t do them because I know it’s important to honor them and my heritage. But if I really believe in something, I’m not afraid to stand up for myself and fight for it. I think that in some ways, I got that from my Kurdish heritage too. I think we’re strong—very strong. We’ve been through so much in our history—and even now, but we don’t give up. We fight for what we want and believe in.
I really love so many things about Kurdish culture, especially how hospitable we are. One of my favorite memories is from Ramadan one year. My friends from school wanted to experience the Kurdish culture so my mom cooked for all of us—15 of my friends, plus the seven people in our family. I got to see my parents learn more about the American culture and embrace my friends, and my American friends loved learning about Kurdish culture. It was just amazing! I was so proud to be the bridge-builder between them!