I am writing this on the day Afrin fell to the Turkish forces.
I saw the image of the toppled statue of Kawa, the footage of all the Kurdish people fleeing from Afrin…
Here is the story of Newroz, a story of hope. Here, I tell the myth of Newroz, a story of strength.
The Story of Newroz
From the endless fabric of mythology, here is one not many have heard. Many years ago, on the land of Kurdistan lived a peaceful people under kind, generous kings. Their ground was as rich as the gold they wore around their necks, and their earth blossomed with fertility. Every morning the sun would rise from the bosom of the mountains, casting artful shadows across the land. It was the closest mortal existence ever came to the sublime.
One winter, a malevolent being named Zahak conquered the land and begun a tyrannous, barbaric rule. He oppressed the people who had once been as free as the golden eagles circling the Zagros Mountains. The ignoble King was no man, but a beast with an insatiable appetite for human flesh and suffering – for on his shoulders lived two vermillion serpents with piercing yellow slits for eyes, and they desired nothing more than young blood. For years Zahak ordered the daily sacrifice of two children and devoured their brains, and with their deaths the land wilted also. The people were in constant suffering and mourning, and so their soil mourned with them. The earth dried up and the winter became everlasting. Death had nestled into the dark hollows of Zahak’s castle and made Kurdistan it’s home.
Of all those who suffered, the heart of the blacksmith Kawa was most in pain. He had lost five of his six children to this abomination. On yet another bleak day, Kawa received news that his last surviving son was to be sacrificed. No one had dared to defy this man-beast until Kawa plucked up the courage and used his wits to trick Zahak. Instead of sacrificing his beloved son, Kawa presented Zahak with the ground up remains of sheep’s brain. Zahak, too concerned with soothing his snakes did not notice the difference and brushed Kawa aside, completely indifferent to the agony he had instilled across the land.
After this initial act of defiance, more followed. The people having heard of Kawa’s actions followed in his pursuit, no more children would die in Kurdistan. Years passed, and the saved children grew into strong and rebellious young men and women, they were the children of the mountains. Under Kawa’s leadership, they formed an army to rid this evil from their homes forever. They stormed into Zahak’s castle and Kawa, filled to the brim with sorrow, chopped down the horrendous serpents, and as they fell to the ground, Zahak crumbled into ash.
The people were overcome with joy at their returned freedom. They lit blazing fires all across the land and leaped over them chanting “Her Biji Kurd u Kurdistan!”. The very next day on the 21st of March, spring returned. The new year was marked, and they all wished for prosperous years to follow.
NEWROZ PIROZ BE