Savan Abdulrahman – Iraqi Kurdistan
Hawraman, a mountainous region in the provinces of Kurdistan, is located within Kurdistan and Kermanshah in western Iran and in the north-eastern Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Sometimes, the region is pronounced as Avroman.
Hawraman is best known for its nuts, klash (traditional footwear) and pomegranates. It is impossible to visit Hawraman without trying these products. Hawraman also possesses many springs and rivers that flow into the River Sirwan.
Sayad Hawramy, a young gardener, a Sufi and a poet from Hawraman guided us to a garden and said: “No garden in Hawraman is metal fenced or bordered. Anyone who walks by can taste the pomegranates. This process of harvest takes 15 days and each garden takes a day or two for all the pomegranates to be removed. It depends on how wide the garden is”.
Gulzar Saleem is a woman in her forties who has spent all the years since she can remember gardening and harvesting pomegranates in Hawraman. She says: “If I knock down pomegranates day and night, I don’t get bothered. I love this job. People usually complain about the cost of pomegranate sauce. They say that they can get it cheaper elsewhere. But we tell them that ours is different because we create it carefully and with passion. Others just blend the pomegranate. Here, you can come and taste it”.
There is certainly a different pomegranate taste. “People can buy a cheap bottle for four thousand Iraqi dinars, but we sell ours for eight thousand Iraqi dinars – which is nearly six dollars”, she says. However, the new generation does not like this traditional job and this has caused fear amongs some that this tradition may not continue in the future. Gulzar states: “The youth don’t like this job. For example, my daughter says this is not her destiny. She does not like it. She says it is work for old people”.
There was a time when Jund al-Islam, an armed insurgent group affiliated to al-Qaeda, had been ruling Hawraman in late 2001. Women were forced to wear the veil and stay at home and men had to do everything related to pomegranate gathering and processing. Gulzar remembers that period: “Back then, we were resting at home and men had to do all the work”.