Women in a Positive and Negative Perspective in Kurdish Culture - Part 3

Avin Taifour

Read the second part of this article here

Although we discussed this topic in a negative way at the beginning and talked about the negative thoughts and viewpoints about women in Kurdish stories and culture, we cannot deny that Kurds have a great background, and the civilization of humans has emerged in Kurdistan.

From very ancient times and in all eras, Kurds have experienced tyranny, cruelty, mass murders, executions, and imprisonment of men, women, and children. Hundreds of times or even thousands of times, Kurds have undergone assimilation while facing all these wars and quarrels. Their libraries and schools have been burned down. Their enemies and the people living in the neighboring lands have plagiarized their cultural elements such as Kurdish stories, songs, games, and aphorisms to introduce them as a part of their own culture not attributing them to Kurdish culture and history, and they have misled people in many ways. We can understand that Kurds have migrated to all parts of the world due to the conditions they have experienced, as we mentioned above, and they have faced many forms of cruelty, thus, perhaps their negative viewpoint about women is due to this difficult condition. However, this has not made Kurds influenced by the culture and morals of the neighboring nations in a way that they give up their own cultures.

Both in oral literature and written form, Kurds have attempted to preserve women's rights and introduce them as strong brave people. Kurds have preserved women's dignity in any circumstances. When people look at Kurdish culture elaborately, it is interesting that Kurds have considered women as great characters calling them valuable titles in such a way that women have had a great role in society. They also respect women and accept their high status in the society.

Although women's place has been mentioned to be low in some of the stories and myths, however, in most of the other stories, women have been praised and respected. We can mention these examples here:

- A lion is still a lion, no matter a man or a woman.

- If a man marries a woman after his first wife, God wills he will not see happiness.

- There are men, but only one is a true man; there are women, but only one is a real woman.

- The home's stability relies on women.

- Someone who does not fear their wife is not a real man.

In addition to these old sayings, there are tens of stories and folklore tales in which women have been praised illustrating women's strength and knowledge. Among these stories, we can mention "Hebhenare" (the treasurer) which shows a strong and wise girl. We can also mention the "Shanga and Panaga" story that shows a mother's bravery and wisdom. In such stories, mothers' love and kindness towards their children is illustrated. The mother goat in Shanga and Panga always advised her children to make them aware that they should not open the door for anyone but when she came back from her pasture, she saw that the fox had eaten Shange and Pange. Fearless as she was, she faced the fox and tore his belly to rescue her children, hugging them and talking to them to be more careful the next time.

In addition to these stories, there are tens of other Kurdish stories and old sayings. Throughout history, Kurds have considered women as goddesses calling them sacred titles.

In ancient times when women were mentioned in groups and communities, they were called special names such as: "Zin, Bas, Raw, Tum, Zal, Han, Zer, Zev, Meyr, Kaj, Nar, Gwst, Gar, etc." Kurds also have paid attention to all the creative impacts of women in various fields.

Kurdish culture has been preserved by women transferring it to the children and the new generations in an oral form. The Kurdish language has been protected by women who told stories, sang songs, and narrated poems and lyrics. They also taught their new generations to work with various Kurdish tools to make handcrafts.

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