Kurds around the world will be celebrating Kurdish Language Day on 15 May to honour the Kurdish language. The Kurdish language has been ignored, suppressed and banned from public use, especially in Turkey, in an attempt to create a nation-state based on “one language” (where Kurdish does not represent that “one language”).
Prohibitions against the use of Kurdish is not only limited to Turkey, but continues in parts of North East Syria that have been occupied by Turkey and Turkish-backed jihadist groups and militias. Since the northeastern Syrian city of Afrin was occupied by Turkey and allied mercenaries in 2018, there have been serious attempts to prohibit the use of Kurdish in public, especially in the educational sphere.
In this context, the teaching staff and the students of the Martry Hawar School located in Shahba strive to use the Kurdish language in education to preserve their mother language. “The Kurdish language has been under attack in all areas of life. The Kurdish language is subjected to all possible attacks politically and culturally”, observed Sevin Ebdo, a teacher of geography. “Right now in Rojava Kurdistan, we are able to use our language in all areas of life freely. But before that, our language was ‘occupied’ and it was almost slaughtered”, she said.
“I celebrate the Kurdish Language Day of all peoples. Kurdish is our culture, Kurdish is our identity”, said Rozin Dada, another lecturer.
Luqman Ebdelo, a student of the Martry Hawar School stated that he hopes, one day, that all peoples will be able to live together with their own mother languages.
“As Kurdish students, we hope that, one day, all students all peoples and nations can use and live with
their own mother languages and cultures. Kurdish is significant to be able to learn our culture. For every Kurd, for our people, it is rich with meaning”, Ebdo said.
Another lecturer, Nura Hessen, emphasized the right to defend one’s mother language. “We have any right to defend and protect Kurdish against these attacks”, she said. “Despite the attacks of the Turkish state against the Kurdish language, we will remain committed to our language: our will cannot be broken by oppression”, Hessen said.