Zozan Muhemed’s journey as a writer started at a very young age when she applied for a contest in Damascus with her book that she authored when she was only 18, but her book was rejected due to her “age”.
Originally from the Şerewa district of Afrin, she was diplaced in 2018 when Afrin was invaded by Turkish forces and Turkish affiliated mercenaries in 2018,
Now she is one of the hundreds of thousands of refugees of Afrin who live in a Shahba refugee camp in NE Syria.
“In 6 months after I settled in Shahba, I finished my book entitled ‘Efrin name’. Normally it takes much longer to finish a book, but all the pain we have been through was too much that I had to express my feelings in some way and that came out as writing,” Muhemed said in an interview with Jin News.
As a Kurdish woman who grew up in Afrin in a feudal family, all of her family members were against her writing. Her family was always telling her that she should be like “other children”
“My mother was against my writing. She always emphasised that I should concentrate only on my school and education. It was not easy for me to be accepted the way I am,” she said. “But I insisted on writing, I never gave up,”
She also faced many difficulties during her education. “I studied in the electrical engineering department of Aleppo University. However, they did not let me do what I wanted to do like other students since I am a woman,” she said.
As a Kurdish woman, she was not even able to be registered to the college with her real name “I also faced discrimination just because of the fact I am Kurdish,” Muhemed said. “My name is Zozan but the university registered me as the Arabic name Roz.”
Although she was oppressed for being both Kurdish and a woman in Syria, she continued working hard. Later she finished her book titled ‘Girike Qetiya Yi’ in which she tells the story of her family.
She was proud to say that she wrote her book in Kurdish.
“With my book that I wrote in Kurdish, I proved to my family that I can write and achieve success through writing,” she said.
So far she has authored three books in which she is telling the stories of Kurdish people and especially women. She describes all the pain and oppression that Kurdish people have been through and she also criticizes the patriarchal structure of her society as well.
“I wrote my book “Çaven Belut” in Arabic. In this book, I reflect on the status of women in a feudal society, the lifestyle of women, their resistance, and the difficulties they faced. In my book ‘Girike Qetiya Yi’, I try to desribe the resistance of a woman, my grandmother, and the feudal structure that she lived in,” Muhemed stated.
She thinks Kurdish people have to tell their own stories otherwise people would continue to speak on behalf of them. “That is why I have to write about the resistance of my people against oppression,” she added. “ I tried to tell about the history and resistance of Afrin in my book ‘Efrin name’. Also I wrote about the resistance in Kobani and its heroes in my book ‘Berken’.”
Muhemed is preparing for a new book. She will write about the four parts of Kurdistan based on the tales of four different children.
Would it be possible for her to finish her new literary project in the harsh circumstances she lives as a writer in exile? “Of course,” she replied. “We, as women writers should write this history from a woman’s perspective. We should keep writing and must be the voice of our society and of Middle Eastern women.”