Peace Mother Nebihe Aslantekin (54), who lives in Suruç district in Turkey’s southeastern province of Urfa, fascinates listeners with the kilams (Kurdish folk songs) she performs at events she attends.
Aslantekin memorised the kilams from listening to the radio and television from day to day. She says her life is full of pain and struggle, just as in the stories told in the kilams she sings.
Nebihe Aslantekin married her cousin Emin at the age of 19, and witnessed a massacre in the third year of her marriage, when she was seven months pregnant, Mezopotamya News Agency reports.
Soldiers and police raided her home on 27 December 1993 and executed six Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) members, along with her husband Emin Aslantekin.
Twenty-nine years later, traces of the massacre are still visible on the walls of the house. All these years Aslantekin has been a pioneer of the struggle for peace.
Aslantekin said that she raised her three children from her marriage by working as a seasonal agricultural worker in the fields.
She remembers those days: “Sometimes we slept in the fields where we worked. Sometimes I left my children at home, sometimes I couldn’t see them for a week, but despite all the difficulties, I raised them.”
She was among the first people to arrive on the Syrian border when Kobane was under siege by ISIS in 2014.
“I cold not sit at home and watch what was happening” she says about the vigil she participated in at the border. She was detained several times and kept behind bars for participating in the events on the Turkish-Syrian border in 2014.
Aslantekin still joins in activities and events in Urfa whenever she can.
“I have always liked to sing kilam, since childhood, it is easier to handle the pain with the kilams I sing” she says.