Ablaze in Acre

Newruz is a sym­bolic hol­i­day high­light­ing the Kur­dish strug­gle against op­pres­sive forces

The Kurdish Globe - - CULTURE -

Kur­dish youth anx­iously stand be­side a row of un­lit torches. A portly man and a group of care­tak­ers soak rags from a large basin of gaso­line. At dusk, th­ese young men will carry flames up the town of Acre and atop a moun­tain to cel­e­brate the Newruz hol­i­day.

Newruz orig­i­nally dates back to the Zoroas­trian faith sig­ni­fy­ing the North­ward equinox. Peo­ple from across the Mid­dle East and Cen­tral Asia fol­low the hol­i­day, but the Kurds have made the fes­ti­val a sym­bolic flame for their na­tion­al­ist cause.

Nearby the stock­pile of bea­cons, Fikre Ali from Acre elab­o­rates on the folk­lore of Newruz. In the mythol­ogy, an evil king named Zuhak ruled over Per­sia. His reign cre­ated dark­ness and fear. A black­smith known as Kawa led a re­bel­lion against Zuhak and killed the tyrant with a ham­mer. Kawa lit a great fire on a hill to sig­nify the end of Zuhak lead­ing to the re­turn of Spring.

“Just as our an­ces­tors were freed from Zuhak, we have been lib­er­ated from Sad­dam,” Fikre con­cluded. This com­par­i­son helps ex­plain the zeal of the hud­dled boys wait­ing to bring fire to the top of the moun­tain. They rep- re­sent the free­dom of the Kurds and the coming bounty of spring­time.

The torches were set ablaze, and th­ese lo­cal heroes started to run up the moun­tain. Re­cent events have gal­va­nized the Newruz fes­tiv­i­ties. The Kur­dis­tan Work­ers’ Party, PKK, freed eight Turk­ish hostages on March 13 in the north­ern Iraqi city of Duhok. Di­a­logue has restarted be­tween the Turk­ish government and the rebel group to ad­dress a myr­iad of Kur­dish griev­ances such as rec­og­niz­ing Kur­dish as an of­fi­cial lan­guage.

This rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process en­sued with a PKKor­ga­nized Newruz party in the Qandil Moun­tains. Mem­bers passed out lit­er­a­ture and flags, while peo­ple danced to sev­eral Ira­nian Kur­dish singers. One spec­ta­tor called it a “PKK coming out party.” Sup­port­ers now wait to see what the Kurds will re­ceive in re­turn for the PKK putting down their weapons.

Back in Acre, the line of torches snaked down the moun­tain. The hold­ers proudly walked through rais­ing their flames to wel­come in an aus­pi­cious fu­ture.

Nawruz cel­e­brat­ing Kur­dish peo­ple seen on and around the Akre Moun­tain, North East of Er­bil.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.