The lands of Mesopotamia have witnessed Kurdish women being subjected to such enormous pressure, oppression and threats that still continue today. Having lost one son in war and another son in prison “Mother Xezal” was one of these women and she closed her eyes forever before her “last wish” came true.
Born in 1930 in the village of Liz in the Bulanik district of Muş (Mûş), in eastern Turkey, Xezal Sarı had lived a life full of struggle and grief before she passed away in 2014.
Her daughter Muhbet Özural told the life story of her mother to Jin News.
While describing her mother’s powerful and caring character, Özural said, “My mother was not just a mother to us, she was a mother to everyone around her. That is why she is called Mother Xezal. She was a devoted woman.”
The pain of two sons
Mother Xezal’s two sons joined the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). First, her son Vahyeddin joined the PKK. After that, she devotes her attention to her other son who is living with her. However, Abdurrahman also then decided to join the fight.
“My mother was hoping Abdurrahman would marry a woman. However, Abdurrahman also joined the fight after all the oppression he witnessed,” said Özural.
When she learned that her son Abdurrahman had lost his life during a clash in Adana, Mother Xelal rushed to take his body.
“My mother was alone in front of the morgue. The state officials kept my brother’s body for 5 days. My mother explained that moment to me with these words: ‘I went to the morgue, I was alone. I opened my hands, I prayed to God. I said, God, do not embarrass me against the enemy. Give me strength so I can stand. Let me take my child’s body in a way that is worthy of him and bring him back to bury him together with his family'” the daughter of Mother Xezal said.
The state officials made fun of Mother Xezal’s loss, her daughter noted. “They were cursing and swearing at my mom while she was waiting for the body of my brother in front of the morgue,” she said.
A proud mother
Whenever Özural and other family members cried for their losses, Mother Xezal used to scold them, saying “Do not cry, this is the wedding day of your brother,” she said, “She was always proud of her children.”
After burying her son, Mother Xezal returned to Van. Shortly after, she received the news that her other son Vahyeddin, who also joined the PKK ranks, was detained.
“After she buried her one son, they detained her other son. They tortured my brother when they caught him,” Özural said.
Once her son Vahyeddin Sarı was sentenced to 36 years in prison, the days of continous prison visits started for Mother Xezal.
Going to prison visit with her best dresses
Prison visits became a special part of Mother Xezal’s life as she never missed a visit. “She was wearing clothes like she is going to a wedding ceremony when she was going for a prison visit. She went to Van, Muş, Siirt İzmir, Patnos…all these prisons,” her daughter said.
Mother Xezal passed away in 2014 in Van. “The release of Vahyeddin was the last wish of my mother. She used to dream of seeing Vahyeddin in our yard, walking home, freely. Her last wish did not come true before she died,” Özural stated.
“When we hospitalized my mother she gave me a ring that she used to wear. Before she died and she asked me to send it to prison. After she died, I sent the ring to prison.”
Vahyeddin Sarı, who has been in prison for 25 years, expresses his longing with the following short poem after his mother:
“Dayê!… (Mother in Kurdish)
How do I open my eyes?
If I do not hear your songs that are full of roses
How do I close my eyes?
If my head is not on your chest that smells like
No my dear Xezal’!…
It is not possible
My eyes that were open with you, will be closed only with you
Wait for me
If it could not happen on this side
It will, on the other side
I will come to your heaven
To rest my head there
I will come dayê.