“I want to see an independent Kurdistan one day”
From Brazil to Kurdistan, Roberta is here for a cause
Between Brazil and Kurdistan, there’s a long distance. But there are always as much as the long distances, chances of knowing and loving another country. She came to Kurdistan Region three months ago, leaving behind her family and her job for a cause she believes in, love of someone and love of a country. Roberta Rocha is a Brazilian journalist who grabbed the attention of Kurdish media, probably for some reason, some of which is related to her aims in visiting Kurdistan, and some others related to her relationship with the Kurdish comedian Muhamad George, known as (Hamko).
When she was asked by The Kurdish Globe about the reason she is in Kurdistan, Roberta said that the first time came here three months ago to visit (Hamko), and to do some reports about Kurdistan as a journalist. “Because I want to introduce Kurdistan in Latin America, as Brazilian people don’t know about Kurdistan” she says. Roberta points out that what people there know is only Iraq, and what they know about Iraq is only war. Ordinary people haven’t heard of Kurdistan, but she dreams of seeing Kurdistan as an independent state. “I want to change this idea and to give them a new impression about Kurdistan, because I want to see an independent Kurdistan one day.” She is now back as she says she’s been with Hamko for two years, after one year in England, and six- month- separation, and then she came back to Kurdistan and they’re getting married in August.
Roberta lives with Hamko here, but she says she will keep visiting Brazil because of her project. “I want to bring some Brazilian journalists to Kurdistan, because Brazilian journalists do reports differently, so I need them to come to Kurdistan to do some reports” she says.
Two years ago, she says she hadn’t heard much about Kurdistan. The one who introduced Kurdistan to her was Hamko. “I didn’t know much about Kurdistan; I heard the name but never read about and know much about.”
Regarding her intention to do some reports about Kurdistan Region she says they’re TV reports about religion, freedom and things related to life in Kurdistan. Though it’s not yet published but she says they will be soon, “because I should bring some Brazilian journalists here, and this will cost as I do this project by myself and on my pocket” she goes on describing the difficulties facing her. “So I need support, and I’m seeking support for this project. I do this for my love to Kurdistan”. She says she’s asked the government for help, and it said it will facilitate the coming of the Brazilian journalists to the Region.
Before saying her few Kurdish vocabularies, she said smilingly that when she hears conversation in Kurdish she knows what it is about, but not all of it. “I know some Kurdish vocabularies like (Bashi, Zor Supas, Bale)”. Her problem, she says, is in writing because Kurdish alphabet is different from Latin. “I realized that Kurdish language is not far from Portuguese, there are many words, and word orders are similar, so it’s not hard for me to learn” She goes on.
Roberta thinks that Kurdistan is between mixtures of cultures at the moment, she says a change is ongoing between the past and future. She feels comfortable in Kurdistan. She says people here are just the same as in the state in Brazil where she comes from and where traditions have remained partly unchanged. “They’re very friendly, they welcome you, and here is the same, I feel that they welcome you as if I’m in my own state, they give you best food they at home, if you need the bed, they will sleep on the floor and give you their own bed.” She goes on saying that although this may be changing because of the impact of modern life, but Kurdistan will not lose the good things; the hospitality and kindness of the people, their belief in freedom and the respect. “But in some other terms, there’s difficulty, sometimes because of Muhamad as many people know him, and sometimes clothes and the style of clothing matters here. I can’t wear some style of clothes here” she points out.
Despite the long distance between Brazil and Kurdistan, but there are similarities between the two culture, Roberta says that the food is quite similar, of course the way they’re prepared is different, but the time they’re served in Brazil is the same as in Kurdistan. “Foods that are common in Brazil and here are rice, bean and meat.”
Roberta says she’s doing her best to bring closer the two cultures of Kurdistan and Brazil. “I always write about the good aspect of Kurdistan on my Facebook account in English and Portuguese.” But she thinks this is not enough, so she has to show it as well. “Here is much better than other parts of Iraq and the neighboring countries. “A magazine in Brazil once published an article about Kurdistan Region describing it as a paradise in Iraq”. She argues that because here is safe, she never feel afraid. “One thing is amazing here which is I can put $10.000 in my pocket without worrying about being robbed. In Brazil you cannot do that.” She has already told her family that when they come to Kurdistan they don’t want to go back to Brazil, “because here is like Brazil in the sixties” she points out “The way people treat each other, the way they care about family, the stability and self assurance you have here. You can even leave the door open, no one comes.” she ended up saying “I think they will like Kurdistan.”
Roberta says she got information about Kurdistan on the internet, social media, from people who are from Kurdistan but living abroad. She got lots of information about Kurdistan and its history from an MA proposal by a woman in Portugal. “I learnt many things about the ancient history of Kurdistan and the region from this thesis.” She believes that when Kurdistan becomes independent and opens its doors, people can really feel excited to know about Kurdistan and the growing economy.
The thing she was annoyed of when she first came to Kurdistan was seeing some young people of Kurdistan denouncing the government. “I told them wake up! you are judging your country and saying bad things about it”. Roberta argues that young people should be the first to be proud of this country, because this government is sustaining the stability and protecting people. “Look just few kilometers south what is happening. Look at Syria. I can see how nice and amazing your country is” she says. Roberta thinks that criticiz- ing is alright, people all over the world criticize their government, but they do not publish them overtly and denounce their country. She is optimistic that this will change step by step.
She posted few photos of her in Kurdish traditional clothes on her facebook account captioning “Now I am also Kurdish, and proud!” She says that she should have been here at the Eve of Newroz, but she had a delay in the flight. “All I could do is to go out on the second day of Newroz.” She goes on saying “I left everything in Brazil, my family and my job; my life now is in Kurdistan. Though it’s not easy for me, I did that for Muhamad.”