Vladimir a dutch friend of Kurds
Vladimir ss from netherlands, he is a friend of the kurds, within him burns the aspiration of Kurdistan .
Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
So, I will introduce myself, I am Vladimir, 19 years old and I live in picturesque country the Netherlands. What might surprise your readers is, that I am not a Kurd, but I am highly interested in the Kurdish history and culture.
How the life is going for you? How do you spend your time?
At the moment I am having my exams. Next to making my homework and learning for my exams, I am highly active in the news website called "halwest.nl". On this website I write articles about the Kurds in Dutch. Not only about the Kurds in the Netherlands, but about Kurds in the hole world. I am also trying to keep my body in shape and healthy with fitness and cycling.
Can you remember when you heard the Kurd word for the first time?
I am not sure, my mother told me I think when I was young I shouldn't use the word "Kurd" in Turkey. She had a Turkish friend and he warned her it was dangerous to name the word "Kurd" outside the house, because of that the Turks could get very angry. That was a long time ago.
Can you tell us what you have done for Kurds? How did you get interested in the Kurds' plight?
I got to know a lot of people in Turkey while my parents bought a house there(for vacations). When I was looking for a subject for a final "assignment" for my school I chose the Kurdish problem. After I read some books about the Middle-east I got interested. Also I noticed that almost all my friends were Kurds. I did some interviews with several Kurdish people from North Kurdistan, South Kurdistan , etc and in this way I gathered more information and got to know more people. And especially when I talked to the people I got more interested in the Kurdish question.
At home I arrived I also got in contact with the founder of a news site called halwest.nl. I've been always interested in news and after that I decided to join his website. And in this way I met more and more Kurds, attended to Kurdish weddings/parties/memorials etc.
And this is still going on.
Can you guess how many visitors your sites have? Do you have
I don't know precisely how many visitors. We get about 1000 pagehits a day and maybe around 100/200 visitors a day.
There are ofcourse also non-Kurd visitors who are interested in the Kurdish issues. For instance people who want to know more about the Kurdish parties in North Kurdistan in Dutch or the election process in Iraq.
How many percent of the Dutch know about the Kurdish issue?
I don't think a lot of Dutch people know about the Kurdish issue. Maybe sometimes they hear something in the news, but they still don't what the Kurdish issue means. It's very difficult to understand that. For instance there was a news message about the PKK and a lot of Dutch people thought they were like Al Queda terrorists invading our country.
Anyway I've already read a lot of books, news, movies about it, but I still think I don't have the total view of the Kurdish issue in my head. You can't understand something unless you actually experienced the real Kurdish problem, for instance when you are walking on the hills in North Kurdistan or South Kurdistan . Like my uncle who had driven with his car through North Kurdistan, all the military posts, etc. Off course I've been in Turkey and I spoke with a lot of Kurds, but I've not yet been in Kurdistan.
I know there are many Muslim immigrants in Netherlands that recently caused some problems for your country; can you see difference between Kurds and other Muslims?
Yes, Kurdish Muslims are usually more moderate then Muslims from other countries. You can see that on Kurdish festivals, weddings and parties, less women with headscarves. Off course there are also exceptions. But you can also see it in the Kurdish parties; a lot of them are secular and not focused on Islam only. And in polls you can see a lot of Kurdish people of which the main part are Muslims rather have a secular democratic Kurdistan then one which is ruled with the Sharia. Religion should be something private in my opinion.
Do you personally partake in Kurdish culture? (Such as have you ever danced any traditional Kurdish dances? wore Kurdish cloth? ate any Kurdish food or listened to Kurdish music?)
I've been on some weddings and festivities. Off course like all one Kurdish parties there is dancing. Isn't it called Halay? Anyway, I danced some Kurdish dances and off course listened to Kurdish music. I often listen to music like Sirwan Perwer, Zakaria and Aynur.
I also ate some Kurdish food. But I don't think I will ever wear Kurdish clothing. In the Netherlands you have carnaval, that kind of like "Halloween" where you change your clothes, but not only horror related stuff. Everything you can imagine. Maybe then a Kurd can wear traditional Dutch clothes and clogs and I wear a Kurdish garb with a sash wrapped around my head!
Do you think there will be an Independent Kurdistan one day?
I think that's a hard question. It's really an option, but it really depends how it will go because it's a slow process. So if there will be a Kurdistan, it's going to take a long time. Off course the struggle for an independent Kurdistan already took decades. It's also a question of mentality of the Kurdish people. There are a lot of Kurds in Turkey who have forgotten their identity, don't speak Kurdish, talk Turkish and don't want an independent Kurdistan if these Kurds get educated I think the Kurdish society is a step further to an independent Kurdistan.
Also a lot of the main political parties for the Kurds make it look they aren't in favour of an independent Kurdistan, but stick to their own region and forget other Kurds.
You told me you have some critics on Kurdish leaders? Can you tell us a little about it?
A lot of people idealize the Kurdish leaders while they are humans and make mistakes. And we should learn and see those mistakes and stop following leaders blindly.
Also it's bad the Kurdish biggest leaders don't work together.
Vladimir how many books about Kurd & Kurdistan you have read and
where you find those books?
I think around 12/14 books and off course a lot of information on the internet. You can find those books in the local library, the library of universities (which I can visit next year), and on conferences. Like last week Derwich Ferho of the Kurdish Institute Brussels visited Amsterdam (Netherlands) he brought a lot of books with him which you could buy.
Too bad I had to do something else.
Also you can order Kurdish books by the internet. I've already ordered two books about the Kurdish people.
Ha ha is there any book about Kurds that you haven't read?
Yes, a lot of books. You maybe think there aren't a lot of books, but there are!
I especially want to read the older books like the Sharafname, Mem U Zin, etc.
But I can't read Kurdish!
Do you have any plan to start a blog in English ?
I don't know if I have time for that, but I don't think it would take a lot of time. Maybe I start one in my vacations if I have some time left. When I start a blog I rather want to do it about the older history of the Kurds then the news of today, because everybody got blogs about that and you can read columns at a lot of Kurdish websites.
Thank you so much for this interview, I am sure that Kurds are so
happy to have friends like you , I on the behalf of them , wish best for you . As the last question, can you tell us a sentence in Kurdish and another in Dutch?
When I meet a nice girl:
Mn tom xosh aweet – I love you - ik hou van je
When I am listening some music:
Mn gwee la gorani koerdi dagrm – I am listening to Kurdish music - Ik luister naar Koerdische muziek