KOBANI, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – In Syria’s northern Kurdish town of Kobani, the first Kurdish library was inaugurated on Tuesday by a group of Syrian Kurdish academics and activists under the auspices of the Kurdish authorities in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
After collecting Kurdish books for a year, the first Kurdish library called Rodî û Perwîn (the name of two individuals) was opened under the patronage of the Education authority in Kobani canton.
Kurdistan24 covered the event and interviewed the founders, Adnan Hasan and Jihan Hasan, in addition to a number of attendees.
Adnan Hasan, co-founder of the library, said that the process of establishing the library was slow due to the lack of construction materials as all borders around Rojava are blocked.
“Relying on local resources and our financial support, we managed to establish this center which is a library and a hall for seminars and lessons of the Kurdish language and culture,” he said.
[Adnan Hasan, co-founder of the first Kurdish library in Kobani, speaks to Kurdistan24, Kobani, Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), Syria, May 10, 2016. (Photo: Kurdistan24)]
Adnan says that the library contains about 1000 books of different genres and types, including Kurdish novels, collections of Kurdish poetry, short stories, and books on Kurdish history, philosophy and sociology.
“We are planning to increase the number of books to 6000 by the end of the year as the library is officially established and will hold many cultural events,” he said.
Cihan Hasan, the other co-founder of the library, said that the name of the library Rodî û Perwîn goes back to a couple of Kurdish intellectuals whose names were Rodi (the man) and Parwin (the woman) who were in love.
The couples' dream was to establish a Kurdish library and cultural center for Kurdish studies, but they lost their lives last year in an explosion in Kobani.
“The martyrs Rodi and Parwin left their thoughts and house for us, and we will carry on making their dreams come true,” she said.
[Cihan Hasan, co-founder of the first Kurdish library in Kobani, speaks to Kurdistan24, Kobani, Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), Syria, May 10, 2016. (Photo: Kurdistan24)]
Cihan added that their goal is to promote Kurdish language and culture in Kobani and all other regions of Rojava.
“The Kurdish language and culture was banned in Syria for about five decades, and it is part of our responsibility to teach the youth their mother tongue and revive the Kurdish culture,” she said.
Before the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Kurds in Syria were arrested simply for speaking Kurdish in public. Additionally, it was impossible to see any Kurdish symbol in public places, including Kurdish clothes and fashion.
In July 2012, suppression ended when the Syrian government forces withdrew from Kurdish-majority areas.
A year later, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) sparked the Kurdish Renaissance by announcing an autonomous system in the northern and northeastern areas of the country.
They also made Kurdish the official language of Rojava for the first time in Syria's history.
Reporting by Hisham Arafat
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Ava Homa
(Redwan Bezar prepared the TV report in Kurdish and conducted the interviews in Kobani)
[Book shelves in Rodî û Perwîn Library, the first Kurdish library in Syria, Kobani, Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), Syria, May 10, 2016. (Photo: Kurdistan24)]