The child at the pits

“Here’s how it went: in Topwaza they took off
rings and earrings to the women, they took the bottles
babies, we were told we wouldn’t need anything where
we went, they piled us into trucks like
ambulances, with windows at the bottom – women e
children, no man, no old man. Then the journey began
on the long desert road, through Arab villages.
People had come to the street, exulting
of joy. I saw a boy, perhaps my age, who let himself slide
fingertips on the throat. A pregnant woman
passed out from the heat, the thirst, the lack of oxygen in the van.
We mostly kept the main one then it started
the dirt road. It will have taken twelve pre or more.
Then the trucks stopped, the doors swung open, there
they grabbed by the limbs and pulled us out. I saw the pits,
many, freshly dug. The bulldozers
They were waiting. They lined us up, the pits behind us
the soldiers in front of us. I don’t remember what it is
he said, there were whispers, some were stunned, others too much
tired to protest. I was with my mom and three
sisters, aunt and cousins, and a hundred people from the village.
The officer ordered: fire! And the soldiers fired.
I was injured but not serious. I got up, grabbed
the soldier’s arm, I begged him not to shoot. Then I saw
who was crying. The officer again ordered to shoot,
and he fired. This time I stayed down. The soldiers left
they went, and I saw that my mother and my sisters were dead,
blood splashed from my aunt’s wrist. A little girl she was
still alive, not even wounded. I told her to run away with me
but she didn’t dare. I crawled out of the pit, hid
behind the mound of dirt and kept walking to the last grave
which was still empty. Maybe I passed out. When i
I woke up it was all quiet. The soldiers were gone, the pits
they had been covered with earth. So I started running as fast as I can,
I promised God that if I survived I would give
to the poor five dinars. At dawn I arrived at the village
Bedouin, where I was surrounded by barking dogs.
Then someone came with a torch, brought me a tent.
They healed my wounds, they protected me, they taught me
Arab, they accepted me as one of them, but this is it
another story, I’ll tell you another time ”.

Choman Hardi, The child at the pits, Considering the women in Cruelty took us by surprise, poems from Kurdistan.

Choman Hardi’s poem that tells the story of Taymour Abdullah, a twelve-year-old Kurdish boy who survived mass executions in Iraq, leaves little to the imagination on the concept of cruelty, which unfortunately we see returning to the fore in the horrors of Bucha.

In contrast, the nomadic Bedouin tribes who live on the rugged hills of the Zagros plateau towards Iran show a simple humanity in welcoming the surviving adolescent, a humanity that today dramatically repeats the absurdity of war.

A cruelty and a war that take us, today and always, by surprise.

Melissa Pignatelli

Choman Hardi, Cruelty took us by surprise. Poems from Kurdistanedited by Paola Splendore with a note by Hevi Dilara, Edizioni dell’Asino, 2017. Review courtesy of the CRIC-Coordination of Italian Cultural Magazines.

Choman Hardi is a Kurdish poet born in Suleymania in Iraq in 1974 whose family escapes the persecutions of Saddam Hussein first in Iran then in England. After becoming a researcher, lei Hardi returns to Kurdistan for a research on women survivors of the genocide and since 2014 she resides in Suleymania where she teaches at the American University of Iraq. Her memories, impressions and testimonies of her make up the collection Cruelty took us by surprise which includes texts taken from the compendium Life for us And Considering the women translated by Paola Splendore for the editions of the Donkey.

Image: Renata Rampazzi, CruorBiliotti Museum of Villa Borghese, Rome, 17 September 2019 – 21 April 2021,.

#Cruelty #surprise

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.