Kurdish Thoughts

Welcome to Kurdish Thoughts, this blog is dedicated, to creating open discussions on all relevant Issues which effect Kurds and Kurdistan. We encourage all to critisize and comment on all of our posts, here you have the right to put all your views across as a Kurd, all non-Kurds are also welcome to comment and give us their views on all the relevant topics. Thank you

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Kurdish Holiday Experience

I Like most other Kurds make my yearly migration back home for the summer. But this is not your average, buy a ticket and get from A to B kind of holiday, NO, this is much more, this is the Kurdish Holiday Experience, one of those things that is uniquely Kurdish.

You may be wandering, why I chose this subject for my first Blog? well the answer is simple, with all the talk of Airports opening in Iraq and Kurdistan. There seem to be a lot of people who seem to be upset and complaining, about small formalities like, whether the Kurdish flag will be on the 'Kurdistan Air' Airplanes, will we be served Kurdish food an such, well I just want to remind people of the alternative, and how the most important thing is that; WE CAN FLY FROM A to B!!!

So let me remind you of our current situation, please come and join me on my Kurdish Holiday Experience through Turkey, as I bribe my way through corrupt police officers, pay extortion prices for food, brave dangerous winding roads through Mountains and rough terrain with a Crazy Taxi driver, whose mad driving could take me to an early grave at any moment while simultaneously, severely damaging my ear drums by playing the most awful music in the world, a music so awful you can’t make out whether the singer is male or female (that is Turkish music for , those of you who are lucky enough to not have endured it) and then charge me $200 for it!!!

So with out further adieu, I give you the Kurdish Holiday Experience, which starts as soon as we leave the civilised world and arrive at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey where the first thing we experience is 4 passport checks, which are done systematically and of course let us not forget the compulsory $50 charge for a visa when you arrive, and another $30 if you happen to want a drink or sandwich. Then, after a 6/7 hour wait at the airport, we can swiftly move on to, another 3 checks to get on the plane to Diyarbakir.

Ah Diyarbakir, the so called old capital of Kurdistan, now just a run down Turkish City, here you have to rough a stampede of like 200 people trying to get their bags, in a room the size of a McDonalds, then you are ambushed by Taxi drivers offering to take you on the 5 hour journey to the border for $200 (when in fact they don’t) or for $30 to a run down Hotel who will charge $100 per person, if you feel like traveling to the border the next day.

On the way to the border, of course you will be forced to stop at some shabby fly infested food outlet (I mean you have to eat something) where you will be charged at least $150 for 4 kebabs and 4 Turkish Pepsi's. Then you are forced to stop at the border city of Slopi, where you will have to cough up the $200 and be forced to hire another taxi for like $180 for a 20 minute drive to the actual border. When you arrive at the border you will be forced to wait at least 6-8 hours in the blazing heat of summer, or in the near frost bite levels of winter depending, what time of the year you decide to go back. Then of course at the border its not just a case of waiting the 8 hours (IF ONLY IT WAS) there is also, the continuous running around in an area the size of like 10 football pitches (No Exaggeration) for the compulsory passport checks which there are 8, not including any random ones the Turkish border patrol may decide are necessary of which each passport check will take you a minimum of 10-30 minutes. Then finally, the home stretch, now only a line of 3000 Lorries and 100+ taxis and if your lucky 2/3 hours to brave.

When finally we get to Ibrahim Khalil river/border, the bridge that you have to cross before where home free, we have to be stopped to be frisked, interrogated by MET (Turkish Intelligence Officers) which lasts about 10 minutes, and of course you guessed it another Passport check, whilst they simultaneously go through every single bag which could potentially cause problems, if you don’t pay the voluntary/compulsory $50 bribe (I say compulsory because you will be charged for it in the end what ever happens).

At this point your tired, stressed, very angry and $1500 dollars out of pocket ($1500 a rough total of this wonderful jourmey including the price of your plane tickets) all the while not being able to just once rest and wash your face, unless of course you are willing to brave, the Turkish toilets which apart from being in a dark cell like room all come complimentary with a piece of human excrement inside it, and if your lucky, there will probably be some smothered across the walls, and all this only to travel the distance of the west coast of the US to the East coast, and still were only half way there, for us Sleymani folk there is still the 8 hour drive through rugged terrain to our destination.

There you have it the Kurdish Holiday Experience, now most of you non-kurds who are reading this probably think this is a joke or a one off or a complete distortion from the truth (in which case I ask you to go to Kurdistan of Iraq, through turkey and see for your self), however my Kurdish brothers and sisters, for us this is the reality of our journey back home, so PLEASE stop and consider how bad this trip is, before you complain about whether our airline will have our national flag on it, or what airline will takes us home. Any kind of flight home, even with one transit is better than this. Thank you.