ALI ARKADY

PHOTOGRAPHER AND FLIMMAKER


Mother Tongue

The Kurdish language has been under attack from numerous different regimes over the past century. In the 1970s the Iraqi government displaced Kurds to the Arab areas in the south of the country, but after the 1991 uprising and the unsung implementation of the no-fly zone, Kurds were able to return. They started rebuilding the local infrastructure, economy and educational system and for the first time in decades, Iraqi Kurds could study in their mother tongue. The curriculum was changed from Arabic to Kurdish, but the Swedish model of education could not be correctly implemented due to the large number of students in each classroom. With 40% of all the students failing to pass their class and a diminishing number of teachers, beating is often used as a form of punishment within the class.

In Turkey, the Kurdish language has been at the forefront of the Kurdish rights movement. In the 1980s Kurdish books, newspapers, and even songs were illegal. Recently the Turkish government has eased these laws, however Kurdish is still not recognized as an official language which means all laws and all public education must be solely in Turkish. Today Turkey’s Kurds continue to fight to have legal and educational rights in their mother tongue.