Astri from the Kurdish women’s battalion in Kobani

gretafsykes@hotmail.com

October 2014

I’m ready. I’m sad. I’m angry. With no more tears,

just one thought on my mind:

I shall protect my family, my homeland,

the earth belongs to us, not to the IS fascists.

 

Before our life was different.

A plot of land was ours, sweet tomatoes, cucumbers,

our shaggy goats free,

their milk and cheese so white and gleaming,

the chickens pecked in grass and gravel,

their clucking the softest sound of peace.

I’m ready. I’m sad, I’m angry. With no more tears,

just one thought on my mind:

I shall protect my family, my homeland,

the earth belongs to us, not to the IS fascists.

 

At dusk we drank our tea outside the hut.

The trees are silhouetted against the fading colours,

The reds and blues and greens.

I smell the cool of night approaching,

When form and colour of cattle, plants and huts

fade into one, like an embrace,

I stand and melt into the shadows

before I join my family around the fire.

 

I’m ready. I’m sad. I’m angry. With no more tears,

just one thought on my mind:

I shall protect my family, my homeland,

the earth belongs to us, not to the IS fascists.

 

Such peace was ours.

Now we huddle and fear for our lives.

My mother cries, holding my younger brothers,

Their eyes are wide with terror. She won’t let them go.

Father was killed. The IS brutes had murdered him.

Neighbours found his body without his head.

I cannot tell her. I cannot tell myself.

 

I’m ready. I’m sad. I’m angry. With no more tears,

just one thought on my mind, one tool is in my hands,

my kalashnikov: I shall defend my family, my homeland,

the earth belongs to us, not to the IS fascists.

 

The peace is gone, the goats and chickens with our hopes have died.

Now we have only determination,

to defend ourselves against these bandits

who want to rob our women’s rights, our freedom and education.

 

Armed with the latest weapons

they glare at us, thinking women cannot kill them.

Thinking we are just dirt and cheap.

He walks into my gun.

I shoot and kill him.

No virgin waits for him.

 

Today might be my last day, covered in dynamite,

I carry my kalaschnikov to battle,

If they get close, I shall explode myself and they shall die with me.

There is no paradise for them.

 

Greta Sykes

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