Yassin Aref: Leave Me Alone
- Letters sent from prison...
CMU Marion, IL
[AWAKA LESHT NADAM HAR DAMBAI] which literally means "River! Are you going to drawn me,even if I don't cross you?"
This is a kurdish way of saying "leave me a lone" or to ask surprisingly "Will I be guilty even if I did nothing?"
The prosperity of any nation and peace in any community depend on rule of law and justice. Any corruption in the justice system will ruin people's lives and make them miserable. I am not saying this because of something that I read in books or because of what I belive. I am saying this because what I saw by my eyes and what I experienced in my life. I grew up in the time of revolutionary courts which we used to call slaughter houses!for decades, especially from 1970 to 1991. No one had ever been brought to these courts but to be given the death penalty or at least 20 years in prison. The only evidence ever used in those courts were the secret evidence gathered by intelligence by means of torture. They used to bring the accused to the court with broken hands, legs, shoulders, swollen faces and black eyes, or severed ears and noses, or fingers with nails pulled out. Most of accused are not able to sit or stand to hear judges read fabricated verdicts. All judges on those courts were the comrades from the revolution.All they need it for a verdict is a two-minute video tape of a person admitting guilt n under duress and torture. Judges play the two-minute tape for the accused and then, in the name of justice, read his verdict of death penalty. Long live justice!, long live the revolution!
As a result of that we lost thousands of our youth and millions fled the country. We reached the point when no one was able to trust his friends or neighbors or even his brother and family members! Everyone was scared from everyone else. We used to tell this proverb a lot those days, and whenever someone tries to make us talk or force us to do anything or go anywhere with him. Our answers always was "awaka lesht nadam har dambai" that was a common way of saying to people "leave me a lone." we were like the second class citizens.
It seemed that since we were the minority we were always guilty. Our existence was in itself a crime. We became the main problem. We never saw any fair trial and we were never treated as complete human beings. It was not only the kurds, but also all ethnic minorities in the East suffer from the same situation. That's the reason why millions migrated to West. It seemed like their native guilt had followed them. Unfortunately nowadays many of those immigrants became victims of their own ethnicity. They soon start experiencing similar situations. It's like history is repeating itself, but this time in the West. Usually this proverb is used whenever someone puts pressure on you to utter or do things you don't want to do or whenever you want to express you feeling as an innocent person who was unfairly targeted and wrongfully convicted. You want to let people know that you neither did anything wrong nor did you throw yourself to the river for the currents to drawn and take you away.
During corruption time, innocent people always end up in prison and many will drawn even if they didn't cross in river.
The truthfulness of equal rights, justice for all, and fair trial can be only exposed when a minority, less fortunate and strangers are put on trial. the fabrication of false charges to send innocent people to prison for a long time will never make a community safer. In fact, it destroys it and divides it even further, the same way it happened before in my country. No one should be punished for something they didn't do, except in the following joke. A student one day asks his teacher. "Is it fair to punish someone for something they didn't do?" "No" says the teacher. "Do you punish someone for something they didn't do?" "No!" repeats the teacher. "I didn't do my homework then."
Similarly is it fair to punish someone for not achieving his duty? This proverb isn't about this example. Rather it's about pressing fictitious charges against innocent people and therefore punish them. It's like drowning in dry land.
BADASTY DILAWA DILA which mean"he is prisoner of prisoner"
No one for sure knows when slavery first started, but we very well know that slavery existed for thousands of years among nations of the world. Thanks to the struggles and sacrifice of freedom lovers and human rights activist slavery came to an end.
Some may suggest that slavery is still going on. I strongly believe that prisoners are half slaves. When I read in history books how early Muslims treated their slaves then I compare that with whatever human right watch report telling me about human traffic today or any report by amnesty international about the situation of many prisoners in different special prison all over the world, it became very clear that those slaves were more fortunate than these prisoners.
The dignity of a human being is in his freedom and rights. There is no humiliation and torture more painful that depriving a human being from their rights to be free.
This proverb is about different kinds of prisoners. It is the captive of love. When someone is captured by the beauty of the eyes and attracted by the love to be confined in the heart of his beloved. For a long time many cultures treated women unfairly as though women were created to fulfill man's desire and serve them. Kurdish culture is no exception. Our literature is very rich. it covers prisons and prisoners in great details. In fact, our entire land was just like a large prison. Our people were treated just like prisoners in their land. For decades thousands of our youth disappear or die in prisons. There are many tragic songs and stories about them. With all of this Kurdish poets and writers never forgot to ask for women rights. They always described a woman as a captive. Sometimes they find it hard to believe when they see themselves prisoners of the captive women. As the poet Hemn once said
"I'm a captive by the curly hair
of the beautiful, kind kurdish girl
Look how much this is amazing
I'm the prisoner of a prisoner."
Yes Hemn was a prisoner's prisoner, because a woman who is always treated like a prisoner now took Hemn's mind and heart as captives in her own heart. This is the first common use of this proverb.
The second use of this proverb is by freedom lovers and activist. We used to describe our selves by being prisoners' prisoners because our leaders who became dictators and tyrants ruled by means of terror and torture. They took our freedom and enslaved our people, however they were no more than slaves themselves. Until today the majority of third world countries, especially in the middle east, is ruled by slaves.
The third use of this proverb is by sufi and religious people. their explanation is that most of the people living in the prisons of their own egotism. Therefore, they are prisoners of their own desires. When someone becomes a prisoner of his own desire he won't be able to do the things his heart and mind tell him to do. Instead, he'll follow his own ego and desire. Such worshipers of their selves described by sufi to be prisoners' prisoners.
Now, after five years in prison I discovered the fourth meaning of this proverb. There is the real prisoner's prisoner in many prisons. there are some sick minded prisoners who don't know themselves and who don't understand their real situation. They act like they kings or gang leaders. How can this be? How does someone ever forget who is he? Why someone treats others like slaves? What is more immoral, dangerous, wrong, and unjust than people treating each other as slaves? Aren't they supposed to help, support, and respect each other if they happen to be living together? I'll never forget the dark period of life in my country. Back in 1995 when fight broke out between political parties, especially PUK and KDP, each side captured members of the other side and started torturing and killing them. This made Pashew, a famous Kurdish poet, very mad and started to curse them he wrote surprisedly "you are all prisoners. how can you kill prisoners? the curse is on you and your brother" Pashew was right in that they're all prisoners, Kurds with no state and no rights and yet they're brothers killing each other. How can this be?
To be a prisoner is to be half a slave, but to be the prisoner's prisoner is to be a complete slave.
Love is the food of the soul,
Tranquility of the heart,
Peace of the mind,
Light of the eyes,
Beauty of the world,
Meaning of the life
Love will make you a live
Love is the means, Love id the goal.
Love is the power
Which defeat hate and fear,
Over take ego and anger
Love is the common sence
Will bring people together.
Love is the best healing
For our pain and bad feeling
Teaching us to forgive and forget
Whatever piled up by history,
And our bitter memory
Love will defeat enemy
Love is the great victory.
Love is not a desire
To die after a while!
Love is infinity
Love is the map
Love is the road
Love is the only theory
Lead to real unity.
To end all the conflicts
Between people and nations
To fix all your relation
To enjoy life and feel good
Spread the love
It is the cure and solution.
Aram is a famous business man whose name has been mentioned as an example of success. His honesty and trusworthiness is every body's tongue. People usually come to him for all sorts of assistance and advice and he is always puts himself available for them. Aram is worried about Ako, his only son. He wants him to carry his legacy of success and wealth. He knows that the secret of success depends much on his honesty and faithfulness. He longs for Ako to take over the same trend.As soon as Ako turns 5 years old he starts taking him to some of his important business deals and meetings. Ako is a very polite and shy kid for his age. Every one loves him adores his playfulness. Aras, Ako's his uncle, wants to travel to Europe for a business trip when Ako is 7 years of age. Aram has dinner with his brother, Aras before the trip to Europe. While around the table Aram asks his brother to give his son, Ako, a piece of advice. Aras calls Ako, places him on his lap, and asks.
"Do you know why everybody loves your father? Do you want to be successful like him?" Ako shyly nodes.
"Always keep your words".
"How old are you now?" Ako starts counting his fingers and stops at 7. He then says "I'm 7 years old"
After dinner Aras kisses the boys and says good buy to his brother. Aras journey takes two years and as soon as he comes back he sees Ako and says "wow! You're bigger now! how old are you now?".
"I'm 7" says Ako." How come? Two years ago you told you're 7, but you look much bigger" answers his uncle.
"Remember Uncle! you told me I should always keeps my words" says the boy.
His uncle starts laughing when he realizes his Nephew's innocent answer. He grabs him with both hands and tells him a story.
Once upon a time two people are walking from a village to another. On the way they see something moving that looks black from the distance on top the hill. One of them says "it's a crow" ; the other says "NO no it's a goat". As they get nearer the former says "I told you it crow. Look! it small. It can't be a goat". The latter says "no! it's a goat" As they come even closer the former takes a stone and says "I'm going to throw this stone at it to see if it flies or not." When he throws his stone it starts flying. He then tell tells his friend jokingly "I told you it' a screw." The latter replies "No, still it's a goat even if it flies."
This proverb is used to tell the story that when someone refuses to acknowledge his mistakes and instead defends his wrong even when the truth comes out. Some people try to show their strength and the quality of their leadership by being arrogant and arguing their false ideas and wrong actions thinking that admitting mistakes is a weakness. they forget that their real honor is in admitting our mistakes and changing our minds when we know we're wrong. In kurdish, we say this to any one who refuses to change his wrong directions and accept the truth. In the U.S, for example, President Bush was severely criticized for staying the course in his wrong direction.
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