“I want to see an in­de­pen­dent Kur­dis­tan one day”

From Brazil to Kur­dis­tan, Roberta is here for a cause

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Sh­van Go­ran

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.”

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