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Sazan Mandalawi 'My nest in Kurdistan'

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My Nest In Kurdistan is a reflection of the current state of Kurdish youth, their thoughts as the semi-autonomous region progresses and their aspirations. It provides a persuasive argument for Kurds in diaspora to return, especially those who immigrated due to the prosecution they faced under the Baath regime. Sazan Mandalawi talks about her childhood, Kurdish identity, culture, and the people that she has fallen in love with after returning back to her beloved land. For decades Saddam Hussein suppressed Kurdish voices, but immediately after his fall, a new generation of youth actively interconnected through social networking and have been vocal about their identity and culture.

In her memoirs she talks about the importance of leaders involving their wives in political work, an attempt to illustrate equality, female empowerment and liberation for the wider public. What makes her memoirs special is her considerate young age -- and female outlook on Kurdistan. Women are keener to be politically, socially and economically involved after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Sazan Mandalawi is one of the many Kurdish women with bright ideas towards a prosperous region. Her voice, thoughts, musings are all an indicator of contemporary Kurdish youth, as they attempt to shape Kurdistan socially and politically.

This book is a collection of articles documenting the experiences, challenges, thoughts and ideas of a young Kurdish girl. She witnesses what was once called a "big village" turn into a multicultural city filled with businessmen and women. Each article is about a particular issue, all of which relate to Kurdistan. She speaks about some of the archaic traditions that have managed to force their way into the 21st century. The ancient practice of women demanding huge amounts of gold from a potential marriage prospect as a means of insurance if the marriage turns bitter is still continuous. She argues that this is because women at large don't have active social roles, in which they are economically active enough to not use dowries as insurance. This idea, she argues will fade away as women progress forward.

When I asked her about her source of inspiration, her reply was reminiscent of her experiences as illustrated throughout the book, she replied, "Every person or experience I counter in my day-to-day life inspires me". She has written on planes, mountains, under trees, on the historical Citadel, by waterfalls, inside lecture halls, and many other unusual places for a writer.

In a recent interview she offered some advice for Kurds abroad, many of whom fled the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein -- "Pack your luggage with all the languages you know, all the courses you've taken, all the certificates you have, every experience you've gained and fly to the nest." For every person that has asked me about what it means to be Kurdish, and what Kurdistan is like, they should read this book, and it will help them understand.