Kurdistan: Our Dream

The yellow wall acted as a beacon from afar. It was sending out wave signals calling me over. Though my intention was to head to the musollah first, I couldn't help it but to stop by for a short conversation with Aylan, a Kurdish-Syrian. The English teacher and head coach of the local soccer team greeted my salam with a gentle smile as he lifted up his gaze towards me. I pointed to the book in his hands and immediately he said with glistening eyes, "I am learning German." Just like the other conversations I had, it often work backwards.

First, it will start off with the desired destination. Then it will slowly set sail to the early beginnings of their journey to Europe. Aylan asked me what is the total population of Singapore and I said less than 6 million people. "How is it possible that smaller countries can have their own flag but for the 35 million Kurds, we are not allowed to have even our own independence?" Suddenly, it made me feel as if I was one of those unjust people who have wronged him through my lack of action.

I tried to fight the sinking guilt and find a reason for him but he pierced the silence with yet another stinging question, "How can the world ignore the voices of 35 million people? Are we not loud enough, my friend?" His words; they rang so loud because it echoes the struggle of generations of his people. And even when Aylan's body is progressively weakened because of a hereditary muscle dystrophy, his dream for a unified Kurdistan remains as strong as ever.

Here is a strong man who have lost plenty; he has lost his country, his home and soon later, he will also lose control over his own body too. As the adzan, afternoon prayer call, begins to reverberate throughout the camp, he told me one last thing - that despite of all that he has lost, he still has the biggest prize in life, "Islam is the biggest prize in my life. It completes me."