Afrin Diary: Who fights, laughs most beautifully

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Journalist Medya Doz describes in her “Afrin diary” her experiences and observations in the war zone.

We are in the Jindires district of Afrin. Here the heat of war is constantly felt. Every 45 minutes a grenade hits. Those who can hold their children in a safe place can be lucky. They do not care about the grenade strikes. While their mothers try to collect them from the street, they run and shout slogans: “Yek dido sisê Efrînê na tirsê”. (One, two, three, Afrin has no fear). My God, what spirit are they inspired by? How did these children become like that? They set off astonishment. Every shrapnel feels like an earthquake, but the kids shout slogans after each explosion. Have you already got used to it? They are children, can they get used to the war? They have changed, these children. Ten days ago, they were not like that. They cried when they heard an explosion. Now they are not crying anymore. I cannot find a reason for it. No sociological analysis can explain this situation. The kids have changed and I do not know if it’s good or bad. Is this change simply a need that results from the situation? These children, whose parents are determined not to flee, may try to cope with life in this way. Maybe just my mind is not enough to understand these little people. We leave the children behind and go on.

The families we see along the way work like combat units. A teenager laughs at us: “Me bavkê xwe kirîye bölük komitanî” (We have declared our father squad commander.) We laugh back, they resist, why should they cry? Laughter is especially beautiful on those who resist. Those who do not fight do not laugh as well as those who fight.

Yes, just a month ago there was no sign of war in this place. Now defense positions are being expanded. The houses are transformed into positions. The people who lived for years in a house full of memories tear holes in the walls with sledgehammers in order to have loopholes in case of a battle. Children carry stones to their fathers, youths keep watch, mothers cook food for the front, women stand armed at the checkpoint. The preparations for the war seem to have become routine for the whole family. That’s what you call the reality of a fighting people.

We go to the more forward positions. Again, the people’s communes and the fighters work intensively. The atmosphere is warm. I know one of the fighters in the position. It is Tekoşin, the lively Tekoşin, who cannot stand still and can crack five good jokes in just five minutes. Immediately she makes us laugh. “This war is not fair at all. I weigh forty pounds and the Turkish state fires mortar shells of one ton, “she says. In my opinion, she deserves to become Minister of Justice in a free country. Her hands are dust-stained and she spreads with her small body an energy that is bigger than the universe.

And then there’s Xebat. I know Xebat from the fight for Kobanê. Even then I met him at the front. He still talks as fast as a child. His excitement has not diminished. As the mood gets a bit more confidential, he tells how he came to Afrin. He actually ran away from his unit. As he describes how he hid in the trunk of a car and could not breathe for hours, he looks around as if he could still be caught at any moment. However, we are all quite tolerant in this situation and do not condemn it. Some things are simply a matter of conscience. Every heart has to sing its own song and every human being has to listen to his heart. And there’s a bit of craziness in all the fighters. Xebat has done such a crazy thing. “Well, I could not stand it when I saw the pictures of the children killed,” he says. You cannot stand it either. Anyone who somehow manages, comes here. Real fighters cannot close their eyes when their country is raped. Xebat has experienced the struggle for Kobanê. What Afrin means he understands best. And all fighters know that the history is happening now. History is the land of those who leave a trail in the blue, my friend. If you cannot conquer the sky for your beloved ones, you have to paint everything in hopeful blue. So crazy and just as determined should you be for the sake of a delighted and hopeful blue.

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