“It’s been said that the Kurds have no friends but the mountains.
So I chased curiosity and solidarity over the plains of Turkey and in to the Zagros Mountains of Iraq, the one Dubya saw fit to pull from the burning wreckage for his own ends. The zine talks about animal rights, wildlife trade and hunting in Iraq; antispeciesism; the environmental destruction of the war; the aftermath of Saddam; the aid industry; the Antideutsche’s crusades in the Middle East; sex work and the female prison system in Iraq and Kurdistan; the Kurdish Spring; underground media in Kurdistan, and why not to carry Kurdish bullet shells through Turkish airport security. It also includes an awesome interview with the folks of the Kurdish Anarchist Forum.
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It is beautiful to see Middle Easterners not only staying true to their roots, but also using radical and artistic tools to express ideas and issues happening today. Zines like these and the people who act upon their ideals bring visibility to gagged issues and liberate their people. Moreover, I was extremely touched (and in shock) to see them- people from my eastern origin using zines to express extreme concerns. Last year, I started making a zine on Veganism, and asked the white vegan community for contributions; I was shot down and felt isolated, unwelcome, and not good enough as a vegan and a person. While I continued to submit articles on Veganism, I never considered writing something about being Armenian, or the structure of my family, and our culture, past and present. Yet I was producing zines, paintings, essays, music, short films, stickers, dialogues, community, activism- everything!- around veganism, and around a white vegan community. Being Armenian meant being embarrassed and “uncool.” It meant being unheard, overlooked, generalized, judged, and it meant presenting an open license for people (white or of color) to criticize and label you. People other than myself defined my identity, my struggles, experiences, heritage, race, and anything else worth labeling. I wanted to avoid that confrontation, so I denied I was an “other” in any way I could, to still be interesting, cool, and American.
I thank this Zine for opening my eyes and giving me the courage to use my voice. However, I still feel like I don’t belong; Armenia is not mentioned in this Zine. The plains of Turkey (Pre-1915 Armenia) is mentioned, but not us. We’re apparently not Middle Eastern enough. While it is disappointing that Armenia often times is not included even from the workings of our own neighbors, it’s up to our voices alone to show that we belong.