First Travel Guide about Kur­dis­tan in English un­der­way

The Kurdish Globe - - EDITORIAL - By Zkariya Muhammed

A Dutch lady, Yvonne Van der Bijl, is col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion on Kur­dis­tan Re­gion in or­der to make the first Travel Guide book about the re­gion in English lan­guage. Van der Bijl is a pho­tog­ra­pher, writer, vis­ual artist, and per­former. She has pre­vi­ously pro­duced travel guide books on sev­eral other coun­tries in­clud­ing Guatemala, Bo­livia, and Morocco.

The idea of pro­duc­ing the travel guide on Kur­dis­tan came af­ter Van der Bijl was in­formed by his friend Parwez Zabihi, a Kur­dish man, about the im­por­tance of the re­gion in 2011.

"I chose Guatemala, Bo­livia, and Morocco be­cause of the tra­di­tional cul­ture their peo­ple have. I un­der­stand that Kur­dis­tan has a tra­di­tional cul­ture as well. To make a travel guide for me and many peo­ple in the world is very im­por­tant. My idea is to at­tract the at­ten­tion of trav­el­ers in Europe and all over the world to visit Kur­dis­tan," said Van der Bijl

The con­cept of the travel guide is to get read­ers ac­quainted with back­ground in­for­ma­tion on land­scape, weather, his­tory, mu­sic, sit­u­a­tion of women, and sev­eral other things in Kur­dis­tan. Ac­cord­ing to Van der Bijl what Peo­ple in Hol­land hear about Kur­dis­tan is all neg­a­tive be­cause of the news­pa­pers. But the travel guide will make a dif­fer­ent stand point about Kur­dis­tan. It will make the read­ers to know pos­i­tive things about the re­gion.

The book con­tains also prac­ti­cal in­for­ma­tion about ho­tels, restau­rants, arche­o­log­i­cal sites, tourist at­trac- tions and all the in­ter­est­ing places. "I am sure if some­one vis­its Kur­dis­tan and has the book, he can go to all the in­ter­est­ing places with­out de­pend­ing on oth­ers."

Van der Bijl and Zabihi have taken many pic­tures in Kur­dis­tan and gath­ered nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion about the re­gion for the sake of pro­duc­ing a ben­e­fi­cial guide. The book will be edited by Max Scott, an ed­i­tor and pub­lisher in Lon­don and will be pub­lished by Gil­gamesh-Pub­lish­ing Lon­don, a pub­lisher in Lon­don for pro­duc­ing books about Mid­dle East. All the works of the guide is ex­pected to be com­pleted in mid April.

Van der Bijl started the project in April 2011 and made three big trips to Kur­dis­tan. In her last trip, Van der Bijl con­cen­trated on Chris­tian, Jewish, and Yazidi cul­tures in the re­gion. There is also a list of high­lights about the rec­om­mended places peo­ple can go to.

When asked if the book will have a lot of buy­ers, Van der Bijl an­swered, "I am sure the book is very ben­e­fi­cial and have read­ers once it is pub­lished. My other books have good num­ber of read­ers. I hope this will have a big num­ber of read­ers as well. The travel guide has also in­for­ma­tion for busi­ness trav­el­ers and ex­pats,"

Van der Bijl has some ideas about ad­ver­tis­ing for the book once pub­lished. She plans to make pre­sen­ta­tions in an Art Cen­ter in Amsterdam and in all the prov­inces of Er­bil, Duhok, and Suleimaniya. She also par­tic­i­pated in the first World Kur­dish Congress where she talked about the arche­o­log­i­cal and tourist lo­ca­tions. She plans to take part in the sec­ond World Kur­dish Congress where she can talk about the book.

"I am not say­ing that Kur­dis­tan is par­adise but I want to be real­is­tic and show what is right. I am sure the book can change peo­ple's mind con­cern­ing the re­gion. That way many in­vestors can be at­tracted to in­vest in the re­gion as well," Van der Bijl noted

Van der Bijl has also a his­tor­i­cal and so­ci­o­log­i­cal woman project, which is a doc­u­men­tary book on two fa­mous women, Hapsa Khan Naqeeb and Van der Bijl's grand­mother, Harkje. She has made a com­par­i­son be­tween them in the re­spect of their ed­u­ca­tional and po­lit­i­cal achieve­ments.

"I col­lected in­for­ma­tion and pic­tures of Naqeeb in Sue­li­maniya Univer­sity, and Flok­wang mu­seum and a li­brary in Lon­don. The book shows that both women tried for the eman­ci­pa­tion of women and rais­ing ed­u­ca­tional level of women," Van der Bijl dis­closed

The book tells the read­ers that both women cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties for women to ed­u­cate them­selves. Van der Bijl's aim is to make women raise their ed­u­ca­tion level through read­ing the book in which she em­pha­sized on the im­por­tance of woman po­si­tion in the so­ci­ety.

In Van der Bijl's view, women can do noth­ing with­out ed­u­ca­tion and she thinks many good things have been done for Kur­dish women but more things yet need to be done. Van der Bijl paid her trib­ute to her old­est friend, Ba­ban Kirkuki who is a Kur­dish poet writ­ing in Dutch, for do­ing trans­la­tions for the book. "Ba­ban Kirkuki opened Kur­dis­tan for me. I met with him in 2002 when I knew noth­ing about Kur­dis­tan,"

Van der Bijl has other projects un­der­way, but right now she is only fo­cus­ing on the guide and the women doc­u­men­tary book on Hapsa Khan Naqeeb and her grand­mother.

"I tried to con­nect Dutch cul­ture with the Kur­dish cul­ture. Through my works, I want with all my heart to put Kur­dis­tan on the map." She con­cluded

Van der Bijl pose or a photo with Travel Guide project at the Barista Café, Er­bil, Fe­bru­ary 12, 2013.

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