Savan Abdulrahman – South Kurdistan
After nearly one hour of driving, we arrived at Hawraman, Byara. Mr Poet, who we spoke to on the phone and who was to be our guide, told us, “Just come through the Byara entrance and you will find me wearing a Faranji”.
Faranji is a traditional handmade coat from the Hawraman region of Kurdistan. It’s also called a Kullaball, which means short-sleeved. It’s made from the skin and wool of sheep and goats.
When we met Mr Poet he was wearing traditional Kurdish clothes from Hawraman and had a crutch in his hand. He was a young man in his late twenties. His appearance was shocking, because not many youths nowadays preserves the traditional values of their grandparents and culture.
Sayad Hawramy is the secondary name of Mr Poet. He is at once many things in Hawraman: a young gardener, a Sufi, a Peshmarga, a writer and a poet. He has built a small museum in Hawraman where he tries to preserve as much of the old traditional heritages as he can.
We parked our car and walked for nearly fifteen minutes to his museum. While on the road he spoke to us about the importance of preserving traditional heritages: “Our new generation must not forget where they came from”.
“I’m a Peshmarga as well”, he said. “I fought against ISIS. I was part of the defensive line”. We are surprised, and ask what else he has done. “I do many things here”, he said.
We walked down a hill towards his museum. A lonely building down the hill, with no electric and no water. “The government turned off my water and electricity”, he said. “I have to speak to them”.
The museum holds between 100 and 150 heritage pieces, which Sayad personally found and preserved. So far, nearly twenty pieces in his museum are missing. People usually take them to use them in video clips and movies, but they don’t always bring them back to the museum. “If the government opens an official museum, I will gift my suitable pieces to their museum for free, just to preserve our heritage”, he said.
The Hawraman region is a former stronghold of the Islamic extremist group “Ansar al Islam”, and has lost many of its own traditional values as a result. People like Sayad the poet work to collect and preserve these traditional values and artefacts.