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Killing a human being called the mother tongue

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Helim Yusiv reflects on his Kurdish childhood caught between two languages @ Transcript Review.

The first language is the mother tongue, the language of your home, the language of your brothers and sisters and the language of your neighbours. The second language is the language of the teachers, police, state officials, intellectuals and the holy books.It might be destiny that led both languages to confrontation and war. In this war one of these languages had to perish and die, while the other language had to live and thrive. One turned into a fatal language, while the other licked its wounds, drowned in its blood, and died in silence.

* * *

When I came to this world, it was my fate to be lulled in the cradle in my mother tongue.This language was drowning in its wounds, but resisted death. And we, the children of that wounded language, we hurried, even so late, to rescue it from extinction.Here I am reading to you in that language the story of life and death. This story is about the spirit of a people who found themselves suddenly surrounded by betrayal.Under the siege of blind history, and stabbed by the knife of a tousled-hair geography, and scattered in between the dogteeth of four savage countries.

Image: Alba Danes Boix @ F-Stop/

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