A day out­side of this city

The Kurdish Globe - - CULTURE -

Spring is here! The weather is beau­ti­ful. Trav­el­ling out­side of Er­bil is bliss­ful, the moun­tains, clear sky, open road, and green scenery makes this re­gion a heaven. While driv­ing to Harir, which is ap­prox­i­mately an hour and 20 min­utes away from the city, I was mes­mer­ized by the beauty of Kur­dis­tan. On my way there, fam­i­lies had come out to­gether for a pic­nic to en­joy the stun­ning weather, lit­tle chil­dren were play­ing with kites, and for a mil­lisec­ond it all seemed like a dream – a na­tion sub­ject to mul­ti­ple geno­cides and eth­nic cleans­ing cam­paigns is grad­u­ally heal­ing the heart of its soil.

Just be­fore reach­ing Harir, there were lo­cal stalls sell­ing ‘made in Kur­dis­tan’ prod­ucts; Pome­gran­ate salad sauce, sun­flower seeds, sweets and other good­ies. It was beau­ti­ful for many rea­sons – peo­ple of­ten com­plain about the lack of lo­cally pro­duced prod­ucts, and sec­ond be­cause we’re fi­nally at that stage in our his­tory where we are re­build­ing the re­gion’s struc­ture.

See­ing re­con­struc­tion sites on the way, new ‘short­cut’ roads’ be­ing built puts a warm smile on my face, know­ing that we’re get­ting closer and closer to our goals. There is a dou­ble-sided road be­ing built from Er­bil city to Kore. I was able to catch a glimpse of it, when com­pleted it will cut down my jour­ney to Harir by at least 20 min­utes be­cause the route will not be go­ing through Shaqlawa and Masef – the roads of which are rather busy.

The few things that come to mind while trav­el­ling would be the lack of at­ten­tion given to the en­vi­ron­ment by lo­cals. Lit­ter on the roads, and pave­ments cov­ered with Pepsi cans, and empty crisps packs. When we pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment, and our cities, we are pre­serv­ing our fu­ture. We do our­selves a dis­ser­vice by be­ing care­less dur­ing trips, pic­nics and other out­door ac­tiv­i­ties when we lit­ter, and ruin the beau­ti­ful im­age of Kur­dis­tan.

What this re­gion needs is more tour guides to help lo­cals go hik­ing (yes, peo­ple go hik­ing!) and more im­por­tantly in­for­ma­tion about each vil­lage. As I passed the vil­lages on my way to harir, Daw­dawa, Shenawa, Se­sawa, Xr­watan and many more in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful vil­lages I couldn’t help but won­der what the his­tory of th­ese vil­lages are. For in­stance, ‘Shenawa’ sim­ply means green­ery, which means there must be a rea­son why this vil­lage came to be known with such a name.

My trip was de­light­ful; it was a jour­ney into the past and back to the present. I really be­lieve that we have to get away from this city some­times to really get an im­age of where we are, and what we are sur­rounded with. At times, Er­bil can be over­pow­er­ing, and we lose a sense of re­al­ity, as well as the things that mat­ter most. Tak­ing a day or two off gives us back that sense of op­ti­mism, and reen­er­gizes our cu­ri­ous souls.

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