[i] […] Today is September 16, 2019 It’s Sunday, no Monday, Mr. [name] is with me.

[r] It is 16 o’clock.

[i] Thank you very much for taking the time for me today and for your willingness to do the interview, welcome.

[r] I also thank you for the work you do. For the service for your association, for your people and your friends.

[i] I would like to ask you, when you came to Germany, what did you have in your memory?

[r] When I came to Germany, I had no property because everything was under state control, both materially and spiritually. The fascist Turkish state left us nothing, I had my prosthesis with me.

[i] Own prosthesis, interesting, how does it work, can you tell us?

[r] I have my feet, I say it like this, I left half my body there. Instead, I brought the prosthesis here. I’m here for political reasons.

[i] Can we see your prosthesis? It’s interesting, and we know we’re causing you trouble. Ah, can you hold it up once so the camera can record it?

[r] How often do I have it [_?], one reason was my condition. Mainly for political reasons, another reason was that I wanted to get better health care for my feet. It’s not bad, I have two prostheses, I have two operations behind me here. In fact, I had my foot amputated at home. The amputation of my feet took place in the mountains, burns in the snow.

[i] Please hold up your prosthesis because it is very strange what you have with you. It’s the first time we’ve seen something like this, everyone takes something with them, but a prosthesis?

[r] When you told me to hold up your prosthesis, I remembered an incident when my feet were amputated. My comrades there asked me to hold my feet up so that I could take a picture of it Both feet had turned black, so both feet were removed from the knee, in Germany I had two operations, the photo, I don’t know if I still have it, I have to look for it. When you tell me to hold up your prosthesis, I reminded you of that time. My feet are buried in the snow, in the Zagros Mountains.

[i] What year was that?

[r] I think it was 1989, 1990, or maybe I forgot the year.

[i] About 30 years ago, a lifetime ago.

[r] 30 years is right.

[i] Can you tell us how it happened?

[r] As you know, on September 12, 1980 there had been a coup, there was a fire everywhere. Everything Kurdish was banned by the state, everything except Turkish was rejected, a single language, a single nation, nothing was accepted except the Turks. They did not want the Kurds at all because they were one of the oldest peoples. In fact, they came to Kurdistan, so they hated Kurds. They are afraid of Kurds and Kurdistan, when fascism came on September 12, they could not live there anymore, I was even a civil servant, I am a teacher by profession. Our financial situation was good, we lived in a village. We could not stay there any longer, the state did not even tolerate the smell of Kurds, the approach of politics, of knowledge of humanity, let alone accepting the Kurds. I had to flee, we fled to the mountains, we met the guerrillas there, we joined them. We were with them for a few years, in Zagros, South, East, North and West [Kurdistan]. We wandered for days, sometimes we met guerrilla people and propagandists, we made propaganda in the villages and at the borders, we reported about the cruelty of the Turkish state against us. We told them about the solution of freedom, liberation and democracy, when we told them this, the people organized themselves, young people joined the guerrillas, once we joined a group, it was winter, we had pain all the time, we wanted to go to a place where there were trees, this winter it had snowed a lot, in Kurdistan, on the border between Turkey, Iran and Iraq,

[i] It’s called the Devil’s Triangle.

[r] Yes, that’s how they say it. We had pain all the time, we wanted to go to a place where there were trees. We hadn’t made it, got stuck in the snow, about ten, eleven hours, we got there in ten days. There we lost our feet, of fifteen people, nine lost their limbs. A friend understood medicine as something, I can tell an anecdote from that time. A friend went to the doctor. A friend from East Kurdistan brought a doctor who could possibly treat us, who could treat us something so that our feet were not amputated, actually we knew that our feet had to be removed. Because the feet were black, no more feeling and more and more pain. We couldn’t eat any more, these symptoms pointed to burning complaints. A doctor came to anaesthetize us, to apply the anaesthetic needle. This had not worked. Therefore he had to cut off the limbs without anaesthetics. This doctor was very timid. Maybe he didn’t want to hurt us or I don’t know […]. A friend’s fingers were amputated, later he fell as a martyr, his name was Veli, from Heskif [Turkish Hasankeyf], we knew each other from before, despite our condition we made jokes, our morale was very high. If morale had been low, none of us would have survived. So we were very motivated. Veli said to the doctor, give me [_?], the doctor’s name was Azad, he was from Rojava. Two years ago we even talked on the phone, now he lives in London, we haven’t met yet, but we’ll see you soon. He said to Dr Azad, give me the scalpel, I have slaughtered so many lambs and goats, he said that he could cut better than all [others], took the scalpel and cut from the knee both feet, Veli from Hhasankeyf. Other friends lost their hands, feet and heels. The condition of two friends and me was the most difficult. So my feet were removed, finally we reached a doctor in a town, then we came to Europe, we got real prostheses here. The prostheses there were not useful. That was another reason why I came to Europe. After the injury I could no longer live there, I travelled to the country from time to time, but could not work politically, culturally or literarily. I could also do political work in the other parts of the country, in the south, east and west. In the other countries the political situation became worse, friends in Europe were easier to reach.

[i] In which year did you come to Europe?

[r] Europe, I think at the end of 1992 or 1993. It was the end of the year, you could say 1993, we came directly to Munich and from there here. Friends had relatives here in Bochum.

[i] How was your arrival in Bochum?

[r] Friends and acquaintances, many from my town Mardin lived here. The relatives are very much appreciated by Kurds. There are many friends in Bochum, that’s why I came here. It is true that many of my compatriots live here. It was strange to live in Europe, we had heard about Europe, but I came to Europe for the first time, people say, seeing or hearing are not the same thing. I saw, it was like they said even if not everything was right. Honestly, there is freedom here and there are many possibilities. You can easily continue your work and keep in touch with companions. Within the laws you can do your work. That was also done. The Kurds here founded Kurdish associations, some of which were already organized. They were successful in the cultural field. For example, the Kurdish Institute began in 1994. In 1994, 1995, our parliamentarians fled from Turkey. At that time an exile parliament was established in Brussels.

[i] As far as I know, were you active in Parliament? Could you tell us about it?

[r] That’s true, I knew some friends from before. They called me when they came to Germany. Comrade Zübeyir Aydar, Remzi Kartal [Member from Turkey], Yasar Kaya, Ali Yigit and Nizamettin Torgus, we knew each other from home. We participated in demonstrations, seminars and Newroz events [Kurdish New Yea[r]. These events often took place in European cities. Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and France are close together. We often met in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Because they were close to each other. The Kurds went back and forth between the countries. We gathered most of all in Brussels. I was asked to participate because I had studied and already had political work experience. They knew that I was publishing a newspaper. I agreed and started working with them. I was a founding member and also on the board. The abbreviation was PKDW until 1999. Exiled Kurdish Parliament, abbreviation PKDW. Later it became the National Congress of Kurdistan, KNK 1999 the National Congress of Kurdistan was founded. The aim of the PKDW was to establish the National Congress in Kurdistan. Also here I belonged to the founding members. Until now I am a member of KNK. When I was in Bochum, the Kurdish Red Crescent was founded. Friends had already applied. I am very happy to hear the name of such an institution because I worked for seven to eight years in a hospital in Ankara [capital of Turkey]. I was satisfied with the work in the health sector when they founded the Kurdish Red Crescent, I could say that humanitarian work attracted me more than politics. Perhaps because of my own health problem. I worked there actively for a long time. I was also politically active. But I can say that the place where I was most involved was in the humanitarian field. Otherwise, I was also active in the Kurdish Institute. I had relations with writers through language, my special interest is language. For example, we were in other parts of Kurdistan because of the language.

[i] I think you speak some languages.

[r] I wanted to learn the other language. As you know, our people are divided into four countries, one of which spoke Arabic and the other Persian. That’s why our ears were used to these languages. In many parts of Kurdistan Arabic was spoken and written. I was also curious, so it was easy for me to learn Arabic and Persian. We didn’t need an interpreter when we went south or west. We could communicate without an interpreter. No interpreters were needed in the East, West or South. In my daily life I still speak Arabic and Persian. That’s why there was first a Kurdish institute in Bonn. The institute moved to Berlin, I had connections to the institute. I worked at the Kurdish Institute for a while, I am still a member. I love languages, I do research on languages. Unfortunately I could not learn German.

[i] What is your relationship to the German language?

[r] At school I learned French as a foreign language. You are also interested in language, you also know that French and Kurdish grammar are very close to each other, but German […]. I’ve already said that I’m curious about languages. At school I learned French for years. When I came here, I couldn’t cope with German grammar. Nevertheless I tried to learn it, believe me, for two months I tried to learn it. German friends also work at the Kurdish Red Moon, they helped me learn German too, the employees of the association. And at some point I could force myself to learn, I really wanted to learn it, I was new here […]. At that time few had fled here because of the Turkish fascism. Those who had come before here in Europe were workers. As I said, few of them applied for asylum here because of fascism. At that time there were many seminars, I was also invited because of my disability. I was supposed to report on my experiences in the countries. I met many compatriots and I would have liked to meet more. I have visited almost every German city.

[i] Surely there are war-disabled people like you?

[r] What I have experienced, they can’t come to for years, they can’t get out of the trauma.

[i] You escaped fascism and you faced the challenge of life. You lost both feet, you were a teenager then, and suddenly you can’t walk anymore. It’s not easy, your work is sacred, not everyone can do it.

[r] That’s the main reason why I couldn’t learn German. That’s why I didn’t have time to learn the language. I couldn’t make a plan. I started, but there was work and I had to go to other cities. I went to France, Switzerland and Scandinavia. Everyone knew me, my Kurdish was praised. I had just arrived from the country. We traveled a lot back and forth, what you said is very important. In our homeland we suffered from 1980 to 1987 under the Turkish fascism. Seven, eight years we thirsted for the Kurdish. We visited the villages, the people, but we could not tell of our worries. We wanted to find solutions to their problems. We wanted to report about the deeds of fascism and also look for a way to name [fascism] so that we could free ourselves from it. We came here from the mountains. We longed a lot for political work because we were not allowed to do it in our homeland. When we realized what was possible here, we were enthusiastic and set to work. We didn’t come up with negative things [thoughts?]. Every minute we were positive and used the time and were grateful because I met more and more people. We got involved in our associations and organized ourselves for our people. Associations were founded and then the institutions. Mesopotamia publishing house, theatre, writer and music academy. Events such as cultural festivals and seminars throughout Europe, as you know. We have done both political and cultural work. That’s why I didn’t have time to learn languages. Many of our young people could learn the language. That also played a role when we needed something they supported us. I had suffered from the state terror, they took my feet. Of course we want to live like everyone else. It’s true, I didn’t react emotionally, we were aware of our work. Whether you like it or not, there is a dream and a spirituality. Of course, there’s a difference between a war-disabled person and those who weren’t physically hurt, who don’t react immediately, right? That’s why I ran back and forth. There were also many young people who spoke the language. They always had me to […] [cough]. […] I was accompanied by a doctor, because I was always supported, I did not experience any difficulties. [He drinks wate[r].

[i] What hurdles did you experience after your arrival in Bochum?

[r] [He coughs]. I can say that in Bochum as well as in all of Germany and also in Europe my greatest difficulty, which I regret, was language. Especially the German language. Because I travelled a lot in Germany, I would have liked to have been able to speak German better. If you speak one of the European languages like German, French or English, then you can communicate and tell the world your problems. This can only be done through language. You can also make your culture and music known through language. I can say, my only problem until now in Bochum, my difficulty until today is the language. Of course I have now learned something specific to everyday life, but the grammar is very difficult for me. When I am asked what I regret the most, I say: “Why didn’t I learn the language? They say that in the next life I would […] if I wanted to learn at least one language besides my mother tongue, as you know I speak Arabic, Turkish and Persian in addition to Kurdish. I speak four languages and all Kurdish dialects. But I would have liked to have learned at least a few Latin languages. First of all German.

[i] What does Bochum mean to you? The city of Bochum.

[r] I can say to Bochum that I came to Bochum and have lived in Bochum for 26 years. I can say that [it] is my second home, my second city. The city where I was born is called Derik, it is also as small as Bochum. My home, I can say, is Germany. My second home and city, after my city Derik. In Bochum I live longer than in Derik, in Derik I lived until my education. If we add up, I spent half my life in Derik, the other half in Bochum, half and half. Therefore, if I were asked, I would say this is my second home. But as the Kurds would say, if you ask the nightingale, what is the sweetest thing for you? He would say there is nothing sweeter than my homeland. Nevertheless, here is my second home. No matter to which city, no matter in which country, like to France, Belgium, [if] I go, then I miss Bochum and Germany It’s always in our head. It has taken its place in our brain. But still the truth is that our eyes are looking for our home. Every now and then I wonder why I stayed here for so many years. Why did you […]? You are also asked why you didn’t learn the language. I didn’t want to stay here long. I wanted to see my friends and get some treatment. We thought we were going back and we believed that our homeland would be liberated quickly. We thought there were big fights and guerrillas and we do diplomatic work in Europe. And in other parts of Kurdistan there is resistance. I wanted to return quickly, so I saw no need to learn the language. So it was.

[i] If you compare Bochum and your city, are there similarities with your city? There are churches and mosques in your home country. There are Arameans, Syrian Orthodox Christians, and many others. In our homeland there is multiculturalism, religious and linguistic and here it should not seem too strange to you.

[r] Right, good that you remind me, the name of my city is Derik and comes from Dêr [church], the name comes from Aramaic and it means “the church”, the church is called Dêr in Kurdish. On the other hand, in Midyat, in Midyat live Syrian Orthodox Christians and calves [?]. On the cultural and religious side, Midyat is multiethnic, which is why we have not experienced any difficulties in this respect. On the part of the religions and nations, there are even Arameans and Christians in Bochum, there are many faiths and nations in Bochum, especially also people from Mardin, who mostly live in Bochum. There are people from all over Mardin, that’s why I had no problems here, maybe the city of Bochum attracts me because of that. That’s why I love Bochum.

[i] What are your favourite places in Bochum?

[r] I’ve already told you about the beauty and good aspects of Bochum. I didn’t have much contact with the people of Bochum and couldn’t see the beauty of Bochum because I couldn’t learn the German language. I’ve never been on the road in Bochum much, there are of course beautiful corners in Bochum that I know of course. My apartment has been in the university quarter since I arrived in Bochum, the university in Bochum is a famous university. I think it’s one of the most famous universities in Germany. And there are many nationalities, many foreigners and many Kurds live here. YXK [Kurdish students from Kurdistan) is organized here. I also go there more often. I gave there many seminars and celebrated there Newroz, Kurds, Arabs, Persians and many others organize there events, such as seminars, panels and cultural events. There are different peoples who cultivate their own culture there. Perhaps in terms of that perspective or [in terms of] cleanliness. Compared to the other European countries there are few junkies in Bochum. They can’t cope with them. I can say that there are very few criminal people in Bochum, in Bochum and especially in the university quarter. For example, I haven’t heard of a worse event in the university quarter for a long time. We also have very convenient transport facilities, and what interests me most is the university. “Ruhr-Universität” is its name.

[i] How do you spend your free time?

[r] I can say that I don’t have any free time, you can say with holiday [free time] that he didn’t live. [Do you have free time, don’t you live?] That’s why I didn’t want to hear that word. This word is most commonly used in the Turkish language. They say, how’s your free time going? You usually answer that you celebrate or read books, most of the time I spend either writing or reading. I’m very busy, I wanted to write more and I also wrote a [_?]. I write once a week for the newspaper, I write in Kurdish for Azadîya Welat, in Turkish. I may have written two [articles?]. I also [see] TV programs that are only in Kurdish, I don’t like to go to Turkish. I say it [is] also my personal right. I don’t see it as racism, although some people call it racism. Some people say that if you like your language and your people, they think their people and your language are better than the others, but that’s not the case. No, until now when they said “Palestine”, [?] we had forgotten Kurdistan, we said Palestine one way or another, [?] they said Che Guevara, we said Cuba, Lenin, Mao and others. We [would have] never appreciated our people, what for, because they fought against oppression and fascism, against murder and torture. Or why did we love Palestine and the Vietnamese? Because they were oppressed. I still value them. This applies to both nations and religions. A Kurdish proverb says, and I appreciate this proverb: The sayings of our parents and ancestors, they say, the lip is closer to the teeth. So the truth is, for example your people is under pressure, then you go and save other peoples. It’s a little far from the truth, that’s not realistic. Oppressed peoples who are under pressure could be supported, but if you go and stand beside the oppressors, it is right that you should be with your people. Your people are more oppressed and persecuted than others when you say long live Palestine, long live Vietnam and long live Cuba, something like that. Someone can legally ridicule you [literally?], so as a Kurd you should love your people first. Needless to say, you will be oppressed. That’s the truth. People who can’t defend their people can’t help other people either. Those who believe, believe in oppression. Whether you are a Muslim or an Ezidî [Yezidi?], you must live your faith freely. Most of the Yezidin, one can say exactly, between our faith [_?] mostly Yezidin and Alevis, perhaps there are other faiths in the world, we don’t know. I’ve learned a lot here in Europe that Aborigines live in Australia, I don’t know, the aborigines live in America. When you hear about them, read about them or watch their films, it burns in my soul. Our nation comes to mind. When I read their books or watch their films, I remember the oppression by Turkish Arab states. I remember the barbarism by the Turkish, by the Arab states, Syria and Iraq or even Iran. For this reason I say to the language […] first of all one should appreciate his language, it is not too much, but necessary. It is the right thing for me.

[i] I would like to ask you something, if a person has no home, his language is forbidden and is suppressed by the four states, how could you be called nationalistic?

[r] The scientists also say that, it seems to have been told in time that if someone speaks of a nation, then he is a chauvinist, a nationalist. Scientists said that peoples who are oppressed do not become nationalistic. Nationalists are in a position to dominate others, but our people are oppressed. No matter how you defend your people, you will not become a nationalist. It doesn’t matter how Palestinians defend their own people, they can’t be nationalists, or Aborigines. When they talk about their own people, they cannot be nationalists because they themselves are under pressure. One nation must not dominate another nation, whose ruling states oppress other nations in the name of the people. When we say to Turks, Persians: we don’t mean the Turkish people, we mean the Turkish government, the rulers. I believe that people are close to each other. Home depends on peoples, languages, cultures and art. We have just talked about Bochum, Derik, Kurdistan, Europe and Germany. Therefore, as Kurds also say, if you do not like your country above all […] It is the case that a lot of Kurds have arrived here now, that has to be mentioned. Most of them come without reason, we asked: “Why did you come here? “First of all, we had difficulties, that’s why we came here.” We said that we would not stay here, that we would return. German nationalists are against foreigners, they express themselves against foreigners, many have come here, not only the Kurds, the Turks also. If one million Kurds came, then five million Turks came. Not everyone came because of the state oppression. You are not doing good here and you are racist. Thousands of mosques were opened. You are making a bad trade here. They are deceitful, therefore, umm […], umm […], home, one should like one’s own home and not only love the other peoples and languages. Religion should be respected no matter what religion you have, even if you disbelieve. Whatever faith you have, everyone must obey everyone’s faith, no one should interfere with anyone. But the homeland is the same. Our country was occupied by four states and not only by one. When you see we sometimes see too far here, [?] Erdogan says I go there and kill them all, he says in Minbic there are no Kurds, they are Arabs. Well, he wanted to protect the Arabs. No, he’s lying. I get them [the Kurds?] out and take Arabs there. Why don’t you go to Palestine? He doesn’t support Palestine, he lies, he has deals with Israel. His biggest trade is with Israel. These countries commit such a fraud, that’s why we should like our homeland first, if their love is one, should be ours four [times more], because our country is divided by four rulers. It should be four times more.

[i] You tell of Erdogan, today Erdogan is murdering the Kurds in the Middle East, with the support of the European countries he is waging war in Syria. How do you see it?

[r] He deals with people, he lies, he is a friend of the dollar, the euro and money. He is a friend of barbarism. He sees himself as an Ottoman and powerful ruler. He wants to be the new Osman. What is a new Osman, he will destroy everywhere. I conquer! He also wants to conquer European countries, his ancestors were up to the gates of Vienna. When he opened his palace, he symbolically depicted all Ottoman sultans and states. Greece, Bulgaria to Italy; Austria and Germany. Where the Ottomans were, he also wanted to recapture everything, including Arabia. That’s what he wanted to do, he says he’s fighting against ISIS [Islamic State]. He looks into people’s eyes and lies. He cheats. He says he wants the wholeness of Syria, his main goal is to attack the Kurds, that’s where our hostility comes from. He says there should be no Kurds. To protect his rule, he is against the Kurds. He is not a friend of other peoples. He is against the Kurds because the Kurdish movement is strengthened. If they fight in four parts, then his rule sinks. For this reason he sees the Kurds as an enemy. He says I am a friend of Arabs so that he can benefit from Arab countries. He wants to trick Arabs in the name of Islam, on the other hand he strengthens Turkishness. He and Devlet Bahceli say that Turks cannot be both Turkish and Arab. You are lying. He is a fraud, he said, three million Turkmen live in Kerkük. In the end, the Turkmen spoke from there, they said we are about 4000 or 5000, where do they get the number from three to four million? Their deception is now obvious. There is also a sectarian problem: the majority of Turkmen are Shiite. He deceived them too. But now everyone is fighting everyone there. Now neither Sunnis, Shia [Shiites?] nor Turks remain. They all rule for their own dominion and only want money. He has made his children, his son-in-law richer, everyone owns billions, not just millions. Now I believe that [he?] will no longer be [in powe[r] for long. Because his friends and his party are against him.

[i] Hopefully.

[r] Yes, hopefully we’ll return to our country early, we shouldn’t wait for them. We must strengthen our peoples, our institutions, politically and economically, all of them, the cultural and artistic [fields?] Sometimes I said, let them kill, of course, killing is not good. We are against oppression but they should do [something] so that we can return home sooner. Those who have come here for nothing should return home. But I think it’s gotten worse lately. Now not only the Kurds are coming, but also the Arabs who are running away from the war. And some [come] for economic reasons. Many drowned in the sea. Two or three million people live in Turkey. Turkey does bad business with them. He said he spent four billion dollars on them. And the Europeans had promised us six billion. They sent us three billion, but it is not enough. He is blackmailing the Europeans. He says either you give me the money or I send all [refugees] to Europe. There [in Turkey?] live many of the ISIS and other terrorist supporters. Many cruel people who are a thousand times worse than homeless people. The homeless do no harm here, only to themselves. They [the terrorists] are harmful to humanity, they behead people. Isis, Elnusra and the others. Now he [Erdogan?] has a bad role. I guess he won’t live much longer. We rejoice when he is gone, then we may return home. Then [there is] friendship between us and the Germans or the Europeans. If it is now 50%, then it will be 90% and even more. It doubles, triples, because nobody stays here, nobody. Now it’s heating up the conflict between people. Many were angry, for example we talk about Bochum when we only talk about Bochum, I remember when I came here, in the last two or three years we noticed, also in other countries, that boys and girls were doing worse things. They cheated and left their country because of the IS. They came via Turkey and have the same politics as Recep Tayip Erdogan.

[i] There is a misconception here. They say we left the country because of the IS but here they support the IS, how does that work?

[r] Their scams are obvious from there. There they are trained by the IS, even your brain is washed by Islam. They would have to go against the nations and, and […] many of them are trained by Recep Tayip Erdogan. Let them tell us we are against this party […]. I am against the Kurdish party. In North-East Syria [Rojava] there is now democratic federalism. They also want to destroy it because it sees them as its enemies. They haven’t even thrown a stone at you yet. And they don’t have a bad word for Turkey, we are neighbours, we have to live together, open all doors. He says, “No, they’re throwing bombs at us.” I say: “They haven’t thrown a single stone, let alone bombs.” He sees the Kurds as enemies. From his point of view it is right that fascism and democracy prevail there. Of course it is a danger for fascism, so he is right. But all others are liars.

[i] Yes, that is true. What was your life like after your arrival? Were you in a home or an apartment?

[r] At that time you didn’t have to go to the home. People who had no acquaintances or relatives went there until they got the recognition. But because I was here through friends, I could go directly to them, and then you quickly got recognition. After the recognition, you could move into a house [an apartment], which was the case with me. Friends from Kurdistan helped me, about six months, then I got an apartment. Since then I have been in the university district.

[i] What is the difference between your life at home and Bochum?

[r] Of course there are positive and negative sides. I can say that there are more positives than negatives. What are the negatives? We have a longing for home. And on the other hand, no matter how our people experience their own culture and [no matter how?] well organized [they] are, we are more exposed to assimilation. Some bad things happen. Lately, such things have become more. Many agents of the Turkish state work here. There are many racists and many Turkish fascists here. They work together. That is also a negative side. Yes, there are also German nationalists in Bochum, I haven’t seen [them?] myself but have heard [from them? I saw for myself that there are many Turkish nationalists in Bochum. But from my side it’s negative that I didn’t learn the language. I can say that about myself, about our people. It’s good that they [the Kurds?] show their children their own culture and art, but it’s very weak [pronounced?] […] to organise themselves in associations and get involved in politics. They are successful in business and trade. Integration exists, but is not successful. Like two peoples – both their own and German culture – they have to live together, [defend themselves] together, [that] exists, but [it] is too weak.

[i] How is it cared for, how does culture express itself? For example, music, language, clothing, tradition and so on.

[r] The protection of culture and art runs through proper organization. Protection takes place primarily through organization, one must organize oneself. If the organization is weak, the protection is also weak. As I said, Kurds have organizations, for example the YXK students from Kurdistan, the Hunerkom Music Academy, Koma Berxwedan, a Kurdish music association, Kurd-Akad academics from Kurdistan and so on. There are also music clubs and groups such as Koma Berxwedan and the like. Many associations were founded, almost in every city there is an association. These are protected, beautiful, but I see weaknesses. And they also have little relationship with the Germans. If the Kurds were strong, they would be culturally, politically and academically strong [together?] with the Germans and their institutions. But in my opinion we are weak. We need to work more in this area. Everyone knows that, and I find that negative. There are those who are very good, they should not only be protected but also built up. I can say that. Everyone can strengthen their institutions, nobody will prevent you from doing so. There are, of course, those who obstruct us and help Turkey. There are cities that hinder our political activities. Their role is critical, they want to hinder our political work. Obstacles to political work are being created, you have to see that. In the area of culture and art there are no problems, if you want to deal with them in terms of integration, if they act together in the area of culture and art and are justly accepted, I don’t see any problems there. There are obstacles to political work. But not in the field of culture and art. I don’t see any obstacles in the field of culture and art, if [that] is laziness. There is laziness and indifference.

[i] Are there any contacts with your neighborhood? What are they like?

[r] Because of my language barrier, personal contact with them consists only of ‘hello’ and ‘how’s it going’. But our young people have good contacts, both girls and boys have very good contacts. And as already mentioned, about good and bad sides, the good aspects have to be further strengthened, the younger ones [?] I find weak. We should inform the nations about mutual strengths, [instead of] ruling over each other in contrast to [there]. Some say what Kurds are [?], there are such things. We have come to Germany, we have learned their language, we will not return to Kurdistan. Mainly there is an injustice. What is this injustice? It is unfair to the people here. As we say, the Turkish state, the Turks have come, the Arabs have come to occupy Kurdistan. If you say so, you are unfair to the people here. You say you will come and stay in their countries. Of course they gave you a right, because in their law there is a value for people. But not like that, save your country. If you like the other person, you strengthen him. This is how friendship develops, in my opinion. No matter how democratic they are, now they feel uncomfortable. How well they work together, fascists try to incite people against each other. So the Kurds, the Turks, the Germans and others try to fight each other. To grasp it properly: Everybody should be brought back to his country and protect his culture and art. Justice and truth arise through equality. It is the transmission of democracy.

[i] Come [we] to your family. Can you tell about your family?

[r] Our family is like our country, like our country our family is falling apart. I left my country early, even when I was little [younge[r] I had to go to the metropolises to study. After the political work and the fascist government I got married and had a family. I have brothers and sisters, but everyone is somewhere [different?]. Everyone went somewhere. Some went to the other parts [?]. They [?] burned down our village and [my brothers and sisters?] came out of Derik. Some went to the metropolises. I haven’t seen my family [my children and my wife] for a long time. Now we are together in Germany. It’s a bit better, it didn’t seem to be a problem.

[i] How long were you separated?

[r] I think they were, […] how many years […], 15 years.

[i] 15 years.

[r] Yes, 10 to 15 years. With some 15 years, with others less. I have [had] contact by phone from time to time. As you know, the technology was initially weak [developed]. Your Internet was also weak. In recent years, contact with my siblings has been good. Now the relationship is going on, but we’re not allowed to visit each other yet.

[i] How did you say goodbye to your family?

[r] When you think about it, when a man brings it to mind, you don’t know what will come out [? If you have no hope and no faith, you fall. Human hopes and beautiful dreams continue life. If you have no strong hope and no dreams for a life, then they fall. Man is like that. But of course I was very sad when I said goodbye. We knew that we would be separated in the long run. Our great hope, we said, was that we would return early. That was one reason why I couldn’t learn the language. We said we would go there and stay a little. We know the world and can freely say, write and read our idea. I am treated in these countries, then I come back. There would be more possibilities, otherwise there will be another part of Kurdistan. We had a great hope, but it didn’t come true, for a year or two, we had [_?], now 21 years. Of course one was sad after the first farewell. There was a fear of separation. I wondered if we would see each other again. It was hard until we got here, it was difficult and dangerous.

[i] How old were the children?

[r] When I left, the children were small. Now you are all over 20, over 30. At that time they were six, seven, ten. Not all of them came together. We met ten years later, and they [?] didn’t see each other either [in the meantime?] Everyone stayed in one place, one in the south, one in the metropolis and one in Kurdistan. In recent years we have met.

[i] This is a fate of the Kurdish families, but it is also a difficult thing. When the child was ten years old you left him and only saw him again after 15 years. It takes a dialogue to get used to each other [again]. You have to reckon with such hurdles.

[r] Believe me, if you don’t think too deeply, it would be very difficult. I am more than myself. […] I have seen the world, travelled to metropolises, read, wrote and conducted dialogues. I have such a quality that wherever I go, I create a dialogue with people. I thought more about the children, okay, we had friends and relatives, but I knew that the state was cruel. When I left, they asked for me and attacked the village. When they were arrested several times, they also had to flee. My whole family, brothers and cousins, two or three of my cousins were killed by torture. My little brother was arrested, he died of torture. The whole family is constantly controlled, so everyone went somewhere [different]. I experienced such difficulties.

[i] Your parents are still alive?

[r] No, I didn’t meet either of them, which is painful for me, too. They say if I had seen them […]. It was a long time ago, I don’t know how many years later. I forgot when they died. When [I?] was in the metropolis, my father died. My mother died when I was here, 15, 16 years ago, we didn’t see each other. When I was at home, we saw each other several times in the darkness of the night and it was very tedious. But her death was very difficult for me [His voice shakes].

[i] In Bochum there is a big Kurdish community. How is your contact to this community?

[r] The contact to the Kurdish community is strong. Not only with the Kurds, but also with other peoples from Kurdistan. My contacts to the religious and national minorities are also very good. For the reasons we talked about, the community is networked, but still too weak, that should become even more active. I have no personal problem, I have a good exchange with them.

[i] To what extent does the community of your home country play a role in integration? Say, how well are they integrated?

[r] There is integration, but something is wrong. There should be integration, but this word is misdefined. I don’t think so. For me, everyone should be able to express themselves equally with their own culture and identity and strengthen each other. But there is [a] lot in this direction, both among us Kurds and among these states, I say states, not peoples. There are many negative aspects in the political orientation of the states that should be eliminated. We must strengthen our institutions and engage in dialogue with them on the basis of these principles. Then we can talk about proper integration.

[i] How would you describe the community of your home country in Bochum?

[r] No, of course there are successful activities, but if we don’t strengthen these activities […]. It happens that successful activities are not successful because our enemies are working against us. The state wants to instrumentalize them and make them do harmful things. Especially those who came last, both Kurds and Arabs, bad people. They sent most of them to spy for them. Some are not here because he [they] had to flee as Kurds, or because he [they] was under religious pressure, Europe is very beautiful, there is a lot of money, there is freedom. They can do what they want. Most of them came with dreams or came because of what they were told. Most of those who come here and see this place are shocked. They harm people here because their psychology [psyche?] is disturbed. They harm both their relatives here, the Kurds, and the people here. That’s why there’s a crisis at the moment, both in Bochum and in Europe. Recep Tayip Erdogan knows [that?], which is why he is threatening Europe. He says if you don’t give me money I will get them into trouble. In this way he is already threatening the ethnic groups and now he is threatening the states. According to these principles the states negotiate among themselves, outside the peoples.

[i] What are the future prospects for fugitives in Bochum? There are many fugitives in Bochum.

[r] They say perhaps everything will be all right. Those who are dreamers have already been confronted with the truth. I have often heard and even experienced such [people? More than half want to return, but don’t know how. They sold their property and gave it to the intermediaries to come here. Now they have no money left to return. They are facing great difficulties. They expect help and hope from the institutions here. Our social, political, humanitarian and lobby institutions should educate these people a little. Integration should take place on this basis. When a person is left empty [alone? impoverished?], he goes to the [one] bad place. We must protect them. It would be better if they were basically trained.

[i] What does identity mean to you?

[r] Identity is the way a person expresses himself in nature. That should be accepted as such. If it is not accepted, [man] resembles a tree that has been uprooted. We can compensate [that] in this way. The fruit and vegetables that come out now taste different. All the vegetables and fruits are not organic, they are not organic fruits. It makes people sick, [it] multiplies diseases day after day. Identity is similar. They say I am Turkish or German. No, you’re Kurdish. But you say I am Turk or German. You betray yourself. Those who have betrayed themselves betray the Turks and also the Germans. There is a lot of this kind of person among the Kurds. In Kurdish it says – it has a very pejorative meaning – that they have forgotten or lost their origins. Everything that is too much is harmful. For example, water is vital for humans, but if they drink too much water, they poison themselves. I know that from my time in the hospital. If you ask someone who has no idea, he says no, how can water become poison? It is the same with identity. We have just said that if you promote your identity and your culture, you will become a nationalist. Nationalism leads you to fascism, fascism also oppresses other peoples. That is why we should leave everything to our own roots. Whatever its naturalness [nature?] should be, a democratic and just life must be in this form.

[i] Where is your home? What is home?

[r] Home is the place where the human eye opens and is born. But when you think of the world, the world is the home of all people. Language and religion are common to all, but we are not in this phase, perhaps there will come a time. How the first people lived naturally without hurting each other. Since then and until today the oppressed and oppressed have come upon us. I think it will end this way, the world will be the land of all people. Faith becomes one, language becomes one. But time has not yet come. Only whoever it is, it [he?] should be accepted. Everyone must work in his place so that we can reach our goal. When you come to a place where the car can’t drive in, you mess it up, it’s something like that. If they separate peoples and countries and say that this country belongs to me, they will destroy everything. If they destroy someone else’s land, they will destroy it in themselves. Let us return to what is essential for us. We have to accept everyone as he [is] by nature, as he is, that is real life.

[i] To what extent does xenophobia play a role in your life in Bochum?

[r] No, I didn’t meet the German nationalists myself. Oh, maybe if we go somewhere and want something. A person can show up in the social welfare office and in another institution. They are everywhere, they also exist among the Kurds. I came across something like that. For example, [I?] was thrown out of the room because of my poor language skills. They said, “Go and get an interpreter.” There are Arab doctors with whom I spoke Arabic, and [where] I encountered Arab racism. No, as I said, the Kurds are already under pressure, so they can’t develop racism. There is none among the Kurds. Kurds are very strange [funny]. The Kurds see themselves as Arabs, Turks and Germans, which is very bad in this respect. Who sees himself that way [that?] is bad. Personally, I didn’t see the racism of the Kurds, but I heard it. That also happens in Bochum.

[i] How do you perceive the current mood in Germany in the face of the AfD?

[r] Such confusion produces states like Turkey. How the hegemonic powers commercialise everything and keep it economically under their control has driven the world to its worst. In the past there were the Ottoman Empire and other world empires. They oppressed people and peoples, now it is similar. Some states lay their hands everywhere. Now people are protesting against it. Sometimes I give the German right to question why we came to their country. We thought we would free our country quickly so that we could return to our country immediately. Their states help the states that fight against us, they should fight with us against their states. They should help us and not let us be shot? Turkey is massacring us with weapons they receive from the German state. We must explain this to our people and their nationalists. Convince your country that you will not deliver your weapons to Turkey. This is the case worldwide. That is why these parties have become stronger not only in Germany, but also in other countries. This will require intensive and good work. I believe that there is a democratic struggle against them, but it is weak. DAESH, the IS did not form spontaneously. They founded ISS in the name of Islam. He will face someone tomorrow in the name of Christianity. When racists under the Turkish flag grow stronger, the Arab racists will grow stronger in return, British racism, German racism, and so on. It seems that we are in a phase. There was an American, an American Emanu[_?], what was his name again? He said that the cultural wars would begin, he is a philosopher, died [Emmanuel von Ketteler – Kulturkampf?] The new century will be the year of cultural wars, um […] I forgot his name. I have forgotten his name and IS [it?] is his work [?!]. Now China and Japan are mentioned, they say their religions, cultures, Russia and America [_?]. Now the world is approaching the Third World War, which is a catastrophe for everyone. Therefore, everyone should be more sensitive and preserve a human identity. Everyone should respect the others. As you love your people, you should love others too. Love develops like this. Or: You are Kurdish, then you are bad; I am Turk, then I am not good; the others […]. He who is good is good; he who is evil is evil. Everyone should be as he is. That’s the answer to your question, I say. Everyone should stick to his truth, understand and accept it. Everyone should do this work.

[i] What are you proud of in your life?

[r] This revolutionary work for humanity. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t work for both my people and humanity. The work should be based on that and carried out on the basis of [this?] philosophy. You have to look at all of humanity in a democratic frame in your brain [?] What makes people equal is the development of human love, love of nature, and love of the earth. Because chemical weapons destroy the world, the air, the water, the nature and the soil and have left no chance for life. For this reason, man should adjust his mind to a natural form of society. One should have a natural structure that defends a natural society, all religions, identities and nature. Such a life should be based on itself, the first should begin by itself and then introduce itself in its surroundings [?] Complete humanity in your brain and it must be on this basis [that] which essentially keeps this person alive: The faith, the thought, the dream of a beautiful life. Maybe I didn’t have the opportunity to live, I suffered a lot, but this faith keeps people alive. I think that if man takes care of it, he will realize this beautiful dream some day. Some philosophers have been asked about it. Why do you defend it, you cannot get it that keeps you alive? He says, now I understand what you are dreaming about. These are good dreams that can come true. You have to believe, not just dream. If they work for these dreams, your life makes sense.

[i] Thank you very much for answering all my questions openly and I wish you every success in your work.

[r] I would also like to thank you and wish you every success in your work. I hope to live both there and here in a free country.

[i] Hopefully, in the future, thank you very much.