QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – On Sunday, the Authority of Culture and Arts in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) concluded a short story festival that kicked off last week in the city of Qamishlo.
The festival was held at the Mohammad Sheikho Center for Arts in Qamishlo where some 75 out of a hundred short stories were nominated for the competition. The nominations included 32 stories in Kurdish, 25 in Arabic and 18 in Syriac.
Speaking to Kurdistan24, Ehmed Bave Alan, the Editor-in-Chief of a Syria-based Kurdish newspaper Bûyerpress, said that war is not the only issue that concerns people in Rojava. Alan added that many cultural events and activities are still ongoing in the region.
“The Rojava Short Story Festival, held for the third time in three years, highlights not only the issues of war but also displays the other social, cultural, artistic and historical aspects of the multi-cultural ambience in Rojava,” Alan stated.
Regarding the aim of the festival, Berivan Khaled, the head of Authority of Culture and Arts, said that introducing people, academics and journalists to the short story as a literary genre is the purpose, not just the rewards.
“The short stories that were included encapsulate a set of situations related to the cultures of Rojava and Syria, including pain, hope, melancholy, resistance, struggle, and nostalgia,” she said.
Khaled added that most writers were Kurdish from areas in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran (known collectively as Greater Kurdistan).
“Many Syrian Kurdish writers write in Arabic as the Kurdish language has been banned in Syria for decades,” she explained.
Although the festival was for short stories, many Kurdish folklore dances and music were presented at the beginning and end of the festival.
The diversity of activities during festivals is part of the Kurdish tradition that considers any ceremony as a painting with many colors.
Additionally, the variety is often likened to a view of nature where many elements—like trees, flowers, mountains, and rivers—form a beautiful landscape.
Amid the violence and devastating civil war in Syria, many cultural activities are held every year in Rojava. These events include the Afrin Short Film Festival in April and Kurdish Language Day in May.
Recently, Kurdish libraries and centers were created to provide social and artistic activities. The Nahawand Center for Developing Children’s Talents in the Kurdish city of Amuda was established last year, and Rodî û Perwîn library in Kobani in May.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany