Kurdish Friends

As I approached the Iranian border I had one of the best days as a traveller ever. Many rich experiences. I will share one. The red brick building on the edge of the photo was the worksite for 3 Kurdish men. If you don’t know about eastern Turkey there is considerable contraversy and conflict in regards to the Kurds.


The building has a ladder going to the top where I could get a great photo of Mt Arat, the final resting place of Noahs Arc. My Turkish is limited so I gesture for permission to go up the ladder to the to

The three curious workers nod. They watch as I climb up, set up and take my photo. I come back down and the three approach. There is one really big guy a big guy and a younger guy who actually speaks some english. I get the standard 10 questions everyone is taught in school. Smiles all around. You see they are taught the questions, but they don’t understand the answers. I try my Turkish, which always is a reason to laugh. After a few moments the big one utters something I do not understand, he has a serious stern face. The little guy translated “ What do you think of the Kurds?” In any language there are a few phrases I like to know, hello thank you , no problem big problem… I respond I have no problem with Kurds.” The big guy looks at me a stern face, the other two watching him intently. He is looking deep into my skull and I stand there with a big friendly smile miles from another foreigner. Slowly he reaches out offer his hand to shake and says something. The little guy says you are a courageous man to come here. The sternness dissappears and a smile comes across the really big guys face. He invites me to his home to meet his son. They are not finished work yet so they resume for awhile. I jump in and help. They all laugh and we go to work.

The next day I am leaving my new friends. We all shake hands. The really big man again repeats “ you are a courageous man ” as translated. I look at them and ask why? I don’t get it. The little guy says “ He thinks you are a brave man to come here and say that Kurds are a big problem ”. I am stunned. I say “ no no no I meant I have no problems with Kurds ”. It takes them a few seconds to register my initial error. The young guy explains to the other two. Once everyone understands big laughs and smiles all around. People are good at heart. I have no doubts about that.