‘The roads also have a heart.’ This is the title of an extraordinary book which has been authored by an extraordinary woman of letters, Medya Doz. Doz is a contemporary Kurdish author and also a Kurdish fighter who has been living in the mountains for years.
She has been writing since she was a little girl. According to Doz, there is no place or time for literature lovers. “When I first joined the guerrilla, I imagined that it would be hard for me to continue with literature, but I realised that in being a guerrilla, you do not only wage an armed struggle, you embrace life as a whole. So I kept continuing with my efforts in writing,” she said.
Medya Doz noted that life in the mountains creates a natural sense of freedom for the guerrillas. She also noted that the act of writing is considered a sacred act by the Kurdish fighters: “People think of guerrillas as just fighting, but, for example, there is only one gift I have received from the guerrillas, from my friends, since I came here. That is a notebook and pen: for me, this is highly flattering.”
Medya has been living in the mountains for 24 years. She believes that art and cultural activities come naturally to the guerrillas. “I hope that in free Kurdistan guerrilla art will be dealt with as a separate branch [of art] because it is genuinely different,” she said. “It is an art which goes hand-in-hand with nature, but we must not forget that although it goes hand-in-hand with nature, society is also nature.”
Concerning practicing art in the mountains, she said: “In the mountains you can’t hear anything except for the sounds of birds, the sounds of the river, the sounds of the guerrillas’ laughter, the sounds of laughing. And this is something which gives people an amazing tranquility: it fills the soul, it genuinely purifies and cleanses the soul and you make your art accordingly.”
Doz defines the state of “being a guerrilla” as “the art of creating a free person”. “They say, ‘How can guerrillas do art? How can they write?’ This is because they do not know guerrillas well. Yes, you fight; yes, you go into action; yes, you go on reconnaissance; yes, you do guard duty. You do all of this, so many things, but there is time for all these things. As I said, for the whole day: you wake up one day and until the evening, you fit hundreds of actions in that day and you live life to the full,” she said.
She argues that since the basic materials of literature are people and society, Kurdish fighters understand literature better than anyone. “The Kurdish guerrillas are natural people: your basic materials, from that point of view, they must genuinely better understand literature and art,” she said.
She noted that people visualised mountains as having a ‘wild’ profile, but mountains offer so much more than people are able to comprehend at first glance. “It’s not like that. Natural people, actually, natural people are the product of the mountains,” she said.
“Cultivating the product that the mountain gives you in your literature inspires the question of how one can create the new human in literature, in art. From that point of view, literature written in the mountains is more pure.”