AMERICA ENRICHED

“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”
~ John F. Kennedy

I am deliriously happy today because today, for me, has been a holiday, my own personal holiday, my own day of rejoicing.

I have learned that a friend from Amed has arrived in the US and he may now begin to work toward his dreams, dreams that were never possible in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan for a Kurd, dreams that now have an equal opportunity to become a reality. No one here will tell him he must forget that he is a Kurd in order to attain his dreams. No one will tell him he can’t speak Kurdish or that he must speak Turkish, nor will the police detain and torture him for the crime of being a young, male Kurd.

I sat in the car outside the office for half an hour to finish the call with my friend before going in. All of my coworkers understood. Even my boss understood. But, then, half of them are immigrants too. Even the man in the office next door is an immigrant. They all understood why it was a holiday for me.

I remembered the last time I arrived in Amed, and how my friend was waiting for me, with an escort of more friends. I was deliriously happy then too, and so excited. It didn’t matter that I had traveled for two days, or that only a few short hours before I had been fighting sleep in the domestic terminal of the Istanbul airport, waiting for the flight that would finally take me to the capital of Greater Kurdistan. I remember going together to a kebapci to eat. I remember laughing and talking and laughing some more. I remember feeling at home, feeling safe within the stout walls of ancient Amed. I remember that it seemed as though every other thing and every other place on earth had ceased to exist.

The day that one arrives in Amed is also a holiday, a day of rejoicing, and now it seems that Amed is a little closer.

We talked about dreams, we talked about going back to Amed for a visit. We talked about serhildan, we talked about Osman Baydemir, and we returned to dreams. We will talk about all these things, and more, in the future.

At the same time I feel a bittersweet undercurrent which comes from knowing what the real situation is in Kurdistan and of thinking of the battles that will surely come in the future. Nor can I help but feel indignation at a situation of repression that prevents young Kurds from being able to freely attain their dreams within Kurdistan. But I can’t think about this now; I will think about it tomorrow.

Today, in my heart, I am rejoicing for my friend because I know that he is happy. I know that he is from a good Kurdish family. I know that he will become an asset to America, just as so many Kurds before him have become assets to America.

All across the nine time zones of the US and its possessions, life went on as usual today. Does America realize it has been enriched once again?

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