Let me speak my mind. Let me, for the first time, put it as clearly as I can how I feel being a Kurd. I can't hide this anymore.
I feel I am a person with no home and no identity.
I hold an Iraqi passport but don't dare to tell anyone in Kurdistan that I am Iraqi. Saying so would make me be seen as a TRAITOR by everyone including my friends and family members.
And I don't blame them.
As a Kurd, If I say I am Iraqi, It's like betraying my mother whose uncles were killed by the Iraqi government. What was their sin? They were Kurdish.
If I say I am Iraqi, I feel I am betraying my father who was robbed of his childhood and education- and chose to be rebel in stead- because, again, he was Kurdish.
If I say I am Iraqi, I feel I am betraying my siblings whose sister would have likely been alive should the Kurds have had their own state.
If I say I am Iraqi, I feel I am betraying everything I know including my birth-village, its beautiful trees and hills, the chickens and livestock that served as our primary source of living, the two dogs which were both pets and life-savers for my family. They all disappeared overnight as the Iraqi government bombarded the village and later used bulldozers to raze anything that was left standing in a beautiful spring of 1988.
But still, every time I meet a stranger, from a professor to a taxi driver, every time I write a piece to a foreign audience, I can't say just in one word where I am from. I have to explain where we live, where our border starts and ends, and what it means to be Kurdish.
Now I hope you have an idea why we are so adamant about having our own state.