Racism Is Evil
we were constantly exposed to what I still choose to call racism. At school and in the neighborhood we were the “Iranians“who had come to “steal their food, drive on their roads and study in their schools“.
Often the most vivid stories of our childhood may just be the most painful ones. I still remember my mathematics teacher who would line up the students who had failed to produce that weeks homework and punish them by hitting them with a ruler on the palm of their hands. The overall punishment was widely acceptable, but what would make my punishment of that week worse was the fact that she meant I deserved more hitting because I was from “the other side“, “I was the Iranian“.
The transition to the next destination thousands of miles away was not easier, but I must admit that despite not speaking a word of their language nor being comprehensively close to their culture, the Norwegians welcomed us with open and warm arms, far warmer than what we had known on our soil with our own people.
Today and as an adult who experienced racism both among Kurds and in the West I would like to think that I am tougher and have developed thicker skin towards socially ignorant people. Unfortunately however, any racial experience can break even the thickest of all skins mostly because we find it hard to accept being dehumanized due to the color of our skin or ethnic belonging. Few days ago on the train I was disappointed and furious to learn that an older woman nearly threw me off board with her verbal insults because I am a foreigner. I find it difficult to ignore such contemptuous rudeness and so I answered deservingly. I believe people who give themselves the right to make racial remarks must be met with an appropriate public lecture in such way that they dare not to so confidently express ethnic or racial slurs.
The number of foreigners are growing by the day in the Kurdistan region and some or maybe even many of those foreigners are most probably going to face prejudice at least once during their stay. I therefore hope that the Kurds don't forget that they have been and are still continuously discriminated against because of their racial and ethic differences, thus learn that despite religious, ethnic or racial differences we are all born equal human beings.