A new generation of Kurdish people are actively using social media to tell their stories. Some tell stories of brutality under the Saddam Hussein regime, which consequently led to their displacement. Others explain why they're unable to speak Kurdish , and in doing so they tell personal stories of a history tainted in blood, suffering and tribulation.
There are an estimated 40 Million Kurdish people, and a significant number of them have been forced into exile. For example, in Northern Kurdistan the Kurds were subject to several genocidal campaigns by the Turkish state, most notably the Dersim massacre which resulted in the brutal killing of thousands of Kurdish civilians. Elsewhere in Southern Kurdistan, the Kurds were subject to an ethnic cleansing campaign by the Saddam Hussein regime. In Iran, thousands of Kurdish activists have been imprisoned, many of them have been executed for demanding Kurdish rights. Below are snippets in the lives of several Kurdish people who took to online to share their story.
Banaz says she still remembers when her family fled under Saddam Husseim's regime, 'We drove through Mosul, and heavy automatic firing chattered for several minutes'.
Rebwar Waladbaigi from Nottingham says,
My Dad left his house to go back, and check if his uncle's family were ready to leave Halabja [the Kurdish village that was ethnically cleansed and subject to a genocidal campaign by Saddam Hussein]. When he walked back he didn't find their house. The only thing he found was a piece of my grandmother's dress that she was wearing on that day.
Under the hashtag of #MyKurdishStory hundreds of Kurdish twitter users tweeted heart-aching stories of pain. Some spoke of the bravery of their parents who sacrificed their own lives, or put themselves through extreme measures to protect their children. Saladin tells a short story of how his father saved his life;
During our flight into Iran, my Father saved my life twice literally by putting his own body in harms way to protect mine.
Xoshink's family left to the mountains near Slemani in 1986. She tells a heart-wrenching story of how her youngest sister was left in the city of Slemani, and in order to visit her, she smuggled into the city with her mother, but her youngest sister was unable to recognise her.
I remember a helicopter. It was very cold, rainy, muddy, loud. The only interior left was the pilot's chair.
My father would walk for days in the freezing snowy mountains in order to get away from Saddam's soldiers. I remember at the age of 6 when Saddam's soldiers barged into my Grandma's home and took my uncle away.
Tara highlighted the current situation of her family,
In the last 6 months 3 of my family members have been executed by the Islamic republic of Iran. Two more on death row.
This idea came from a young Kurdish girl, who tweets under @Naskola. She started this idea from one tweet:
What is your story? A question that should be asked every Kurd; Even though the answer is heartbreaking, everyone has a unique tale to tell.
Follow Ruwayda Mustafah on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ruwaydamustafah