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Uncomfortable luggage


Auteur : Zaher Mahmud
Éditeur : Boekscout Date & Lieu : 2010, Amsterdam
Préface : Pages : 200
Traduction : ISBN : 978-94-6089-441-1
Langue : AllemandFormat : 125x200 mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Eng. Mah. Unc. N°2083Thème : Général

Présentation
Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
Uncomfortable luggage

Uncomfortable luggage

Zaher Mahmud

Publisher Boekscout


Zaher Mahmud is an ordinary school boy, living in the provincial capital town Sulaimania in Iraqi Kurdistan until, at the age of eleven his leg is hit by a bullet. His life derails. In-between odd jobs he is frequently on the run. At a very early age, he joins the Kurdish guerrilla. When he is eighteen, he is hit by a phosphor bomb. Only because he is admitted into a London hospital Zaher survives his severe burns. In 1976 he ends up in the Netherlands as a refugee. Will Zaher Mahmud be able to pick up his life again or will the ideas and spectres from his youth continue to hunt him?



Zaher Mahmud
was born in Kurdish Iraq (1956 Sulaimania). He has been living as a refugee in Amsterdam, the Netherlands since1976. His life as a an eleven year old outcast, a Kurdish guerrilla, and a war casualty scarred by a phosphor bomb has often been noted down by others mostly for political purposes. With this book Mahmud himself takes control. He describes his life stripped of any political frills. Hard and shocking, sometimes interrupted by moments of hope, ideals and humanity.

 



INTRODUCTION


At first glance, I could pass myself off as a well-adjusted migrant. I am now 53 years old and have been living in the Netherlands since I was eighteen. I married a Dutch woman, I have Dutch friends and acquaintances, I belong to a sports club and speak the language. At a closer look, this cosmetic disguise still harbors that wounded, displaced Kurdish boy from Iraq, who by pure coincidence ended up as a refugee in the Netherlands. As with many refugees, I carry my past with me. As opposed to my Dutch friends, I have not been able to make choices, which could have changed my life. Any choices that might have occurred were determined by the force of circumstances. This has been going on ever since I was ten years old.

As a schoolboy my life got turned upside down because I was kicked around and felt isolated through no fault of my own. I tried to keep myself alive by doing odd jobs and some wheeling and dealing. I then became a messenger for the Communist Party and subsequently joined the Kurdish guerilla in the mountains, where I was wounded in a phosphor bomb attack. Classified as a war victim, I went to Teheran and London and eventually ended up in The Netherlands. The fact that I didn’t succumb to my injuries was, oddly enough, thanks to the Cold War, which at the time governed international relations. The Americans kept me alive. As a victim of Soviet supplied arms, I could be used as a pawn on the international propaganda chess board. Slowly I transformed from an artificially kept alive war casualty into a politically active asylum seeker.

With this book I mean to show the burden of the past I carry with me. An uncomfortable luggage of rejection, fear, anger, and powerlessness from an early age on! Relying on memories I have reconstructed my life. As in every person’s life mine also consists of various phases. Yet, as opposed to most ‘normal’ lives, already at an early age I had gone through several stages. These periods and those thereafter, form the story of my life; the life of a schoolboy who turned guerilla fighter, who became a passive victim of war and finally endéd up as a Kurdish asylum seeker in The Netherlands. Why have I left it so late in writing this book? After all I have been living in The Netherlands for 34 years now, whilst the events I describe, more often than not, took place several decades ago. Well, this book was born out of frustration, the reason being my visit to Kurdistan in 2006.
During my stay I was treated in an arrogant and standoffish manner by certain political leaders; leaders who used to be my brothers in arms. I also noticed that they used me as a means of propaganda in their internal struggles. I realized that the political ideals, I had been fighting for over the years, had become mere images in a dream; images which were in sharp contrast with a world of self-interest, nepotism and corruption. At the same time it became clear to me that The Netherlands had become my home country, whilst Kurdistan had turned into a fata morgana. Until now my life has been written about by others, often for purposes of political interest. I found myself in various propagandistic roles; as a victim of communism and of Saddam Hussein or as a Kurdish freedom fighter linked to a political faction. Bits of my life kept being written down over and over again just for political purposes.

With this book I take matters in my own hands. This is my life as I have experienced it, stripped of any political frills. Bare, harsh and disappointing! Yet also with moments of hope, ideals and human warmth!



Schoolboy in the city,
guerrilla in the mountains

Id-Al-Fitr 1968

It is now 21 December 1968. I am eleven years old. In the streets of Sulaimania the air is rife with the smell of copious meals. In a festive mood after a month of fasting we are celebrating the end of Ramadan. We are having our Id-Al-Fitr at aunt Hapsa’s house. She is a little busybody of a woman whom everyone in Sulaimania knows as “the little communist’. Because of her widespread political contacts her house is always full of people. She is the spider in a web of party contacts, always managing its affairs including hiding weapons.

Her house is much larger than our own simple one room apartment, where I live with my parents and my sister. As usual there is a huge crowd consisting of many relatives. The women are busy cooking the food. I sit with the men…




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