DreamWalkabout: An Australian Anabasis

DreamWalkabout: An Australian Anabasis

Sydney to Alice Springs

Now, this is NOT a formal announcement but it is time to make that ‘elevator speech’ to Alakurda. There have been hints here in the last few weeks, more so on Twitter, but what exactly is this #DreamWalkabout, this ‘anabasis’ now that that’s in the title too?

Anabasis means ‘journey to the inland’ in ancient Greek. It is also a history book (from circa 370 BC) about 10.000 mercenaries, used to living by thalassa (the sea), marching deep into Asia Minor and Mesopotamia, to deserts and mountains, in search of war, glory, and lucre. Its author Xenaphon was one of the generals who led the army that was hired by a Persian usurper. When the Greeks who survived the adventure lay eyes on thalassa again, the world got to know my people, Kurds, for the first time too.

So this Kurd, who jumped ship in Gladstone in January 1989 and called Australia home ever since, wishes to end his 3-decades-long solo adventure with a lengthy walkabout deep inside the outback. This Kurd has no intention to war or even to harm an animal in his journey. He will only seek peaceful passage, with utmost respect for this land’s traditional owners and ways, to the heart of his adopted homeland, on foot, as in the ancient ways, and go “Uluru! Uluru!” before that grand symbol of the country’s heart, as a fulfilled man, at last!

Yes. That’s my dream Australian anabasis. That is what this #DreamWalkabout is about.

T-10 Days: My adventures with a workshop

So a week after discovering there was a workshop in my suburb tucked under a bridge that I walk on often, after two visits during which I saw no one (except that the workshop appeared equipped with necessary tools), after 2 unanswered emails through their website, and a phone message yesterday, I finally got to hear from them:

“We don’t make that kind of thing.”

“Well, I know that you don’t make that kind of thing; nobody makes them. But can you make one for a special project?” I explain again in an elevator-speech style the purpose and specifications of the contraption.

“Nargh! It’s not cost-effective.”

It is not like I asked them to do it for free. We didn’t even get a chance to discuss labour and material costs. And, really, it is for the project-owner to decide what is cost-effective. The impact on my wallet is nothing compared to heavy mental and physical exertion and the inconvenience the undertaking will cause if I set off without the right equipment.

Indeed, if I had the tools, I’d make the contraption myself. It would take a lot of time, money for tools, and experience to use them properly but I could do it… in the most cost-ineffective way!

Cool picture of an old metalworks factory labeled for non-commercial re-use that was lifted off the web for purposes of illustration for a story of grievance and steely determination.

 

So I ask again. “How about if I bring you the design and materials? I only need the use of specialist tools. Can I come over to discuss this with you in person since I live just around the corner.”

“No need. We don’t work on that kind of thing,” is their reply before I say thank you and goodbye.

So the workshop that advertises itself as capable of building anything from a dog-house to a spaceship goes all cold-feet for a simple equipment that I need for my #DreamWalkabout. They wouldn’t even discuss how much money they could make out of me for this job.

The world is full of people devoid of imagination. Give them a hammer, show them a nail, and they’ll hammer away at the nail for the rest of their lives. No confidence to start something anew. No curiosity to tickle. No horizon to broaden. Who needs an open horizon anyway, when getting safely tucked in a comfort zone, doing the same routine shit, is all that there is to life?

It was silly to fall for this particular workshop’s online hype that they’re like MythBusters who could build any contraption that’s not contrary to laws of physics. A metal workshop that is content to build staircases and guardrails for the elderly firmly belongs to the ‘unimaginative’ category.

This has been a disappointing week that will set back my August 1 deadline. No dramas. Better late than never.

On the upside, my mental and physical preparation for #DreamWalkabout are going very well. Every morning I wake up from a fresh dream that is related to this personal mission. I am in something of a boot camp and today is my 28th consecutive whirl around Leichhardt Bay Run in 21 days.

There is still me to believe in me.

T-24 Days

It means August 1! The august one! Just realised that the title resembles that of a news website but it is actually a timer!

Wanted to tuck this here before I receive that all important first item tomorrow. Then I’ll talk about it. Here. In unlimited number of characters!

#DreamWalkabout2020-07-05

Happy Newroz. Newroz piroz be.

(Newroz re-post)

 

The myth has it that 2600 or so years ago there lived on the outskirts of Zagros Mountains a people ruled by a cruel king named Dehaq. King Dehaq was a supernatural evil as evident in the two snakes that grew on his two shoulders; snakes that demanded special delicacy for food. Thus, two children would be plucked from among his subjects, and their brains fed to the snakes.

Below the darkness of the evil king’s castle lived an ironsmith named Kawa. Kawa had sacrificed all his children except one. Dehaq ordered for the last one too to be brought for his snakes. Kawa, with the help of the king’s cook, tricked him by offering a sheep’s brain instead. Thus, his child and other children were saved and were sent high up in the mountains where they lived free and grew into a small army.

When the time came, Kawa led the small army in revolt, broke into the king’s castle and smashed Dehaq’s head with his hammer. The people were freed and the news spread around the kingdom by fires lit on the mountaintops. A new day, Newroz, was declared. And those saved children who led the people to liberation became the ancestors of Kurds.

Happy Newroz! Newroz piroz be!

17362636_10212694349143718_5288903149413333688_n
Kawa vanquishes Dehaq and declares Newroz. Illustration by @Sedatoezgen

On Australia Day

(Australia Day re-post)

 

A few of my fellow Kurdish Australians raised objections to celebrating this day in terms of relations with indigenous communities.

History could have unfolded differently, for the better as well as for the worse for indigenous Australians, since 26 January 1788. No one can deny the history of violence, dispossession and racism towards the indigenous communities in Australia since the start of the European colonisation.australia-day3

Should that be a sufficient reason to mark Australia Day with national grief instead of celebration? In my view it is not. That this great nation was built upon the sweat and toil of 1000 social outcasts sentenced to death, however, is a good reason to celebrate.

Continue reading “On Australia Day”

Happy Newroz

17362636_10212694349143718_5288903149413333688_n

(Newroz re-post)

The myth has it that 2600 or so years ago there lived on the outskirts of Zagros Mountains a people ruled by a cruel king named Dehaq. King Dehaq was a supernatural evil as evident in the two snakes that grew on his two shoulders; snakes that demanded special delicacy for food. Thus, two children would be plucked from among his subjects, and their brains fed to the snakes.

Below the darkness of the evil king’s castle lived an ironsmith named Kawa. Kawa had sacrificed all his children except one. Dehaq ordered for the last one too to be brought for his snakes. Kawa, with the help of the king’s cook, tricked him by offering a sheep’s brain instead. Thus, his child and other children were saved and were sent high up in the mountains where they lived free and grew into a small army.

When the time came, Kawa led the small army in revolt, broke into the king’s castle and smashed Dehaq’s head with his hammer. The people were freed and the news spread around the kingdom by fires lit on the mountaintops. A new day, Newroz, was declared. And those saved children who led the people to liberation became the ancestors of Kurds.

Happy Newroz! Newroz piroz be!

 

On the “insider attack in Syria”

It happened at a US base in February, at the height of Turkey’s Afrin invasion, when Kurdish disappointment with the US abandonment was high. The exact location of the base is not given in the article. The Task and Purpose article alleges that wounded civilians heading there, “mostly of women and children, were turned away by the SDF because they were not Kurdish”. US Marines Cameron Halkovich and Kane Downey get the wounded in the base for treatment against alleged SDF objections.

Later in the night, Halkovich and Downey go out to visit another Marine on sentry duty. An SDF fighter guarding the gate is not there. Halkovich pauses to take a leak while Downey walks on. Downey hears two AK-47 shots, looks backs and sees “a lone SDF soldier, standing over Halkovich with a rifle”. Downey shoots dead the SDF while Halkovich survives the shots in the leg.FireShot Capture 061 - Exclusive_ The Insider At_ - https___taskandpurpose.com_syria-insider-attack_

Continue reading “On the “insider attack in Syria””

The Return of Muqtada al-Sadr

I first heard of the Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr soon after American forces occupied Baghdad in 2003. His men were implicated in the stabbing murder of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Majid al-Khoi, who was a custodian of a Shia holy mosque in Najaf. Soon after, Sadr’s men launched attacks on the US forces as well, and the occupation authorities issued a “kill or capture” warrant for Sadr that was not enforced or pursued with conviction.

To me, Sadr represented what was wrong with the ‘new’ Iraq. Though his father was murdered by Saddam Hussain, Sadr and his supporters never waged a war against the regime, unlike other opponents like the Kurds or, in the case of the Shia, the Badr organisation which had a few hundred armed men in the PUK-controlled territories of Kurdistan. Sadr was late to the party and picked a fight with the wrong guy.

Continue reading “The Return of Muqtada al-Sadr”

Bernard Lewis dead at 101

Bernard Lewis is dead. May the concept of “modern Turkey” that he popularised for so long in diplomatic world and public imagination follow him to the grave. Lewis’s 1961 book on Turkish history normalised the racist fascist dictatorship of Attaturk and made him a hero in the west.32923363_10216458673729480_1069285005156417536_o

Continue reading “Bernard Lewis dead at 101”

Back to school in Turkish-occupied Afrin

This is the first day of school in Afrin under Turkish occupation.
Children are forced to wave Turkish flags.
Children are made to thank Erdogan.
Children are taught Quranic verses in the class.
Children are segregated.
And in this primary school, not one adult female is seen teaching or protecting children.
Such is the new Turkish order in Syria.
2018-03-27