“The true tale of the lion hunt will never be told as long as the hunter tells the story.”
An African Proverb
Dear Digital Reader,
I can hear you saying, “do we really need another blog like this, taking a critical stance against the mainstream voices by raising overlooked ones?” I would say, “God damn, yes, we need it so much!” Especially if those voices are overlooked due to systematic ethnocentric ignorance and assumptions of white superiority.
This blog wants to share the stories told by the lion, the need for which is highlighted in the beautiful African proverb above. The lion’s own tale told neither by the witness nor by the intruder. It simply wants to convey the fact that being granted privileged access to material and resources is not enough to enable one to know the true tale of the lion hunt.
You might think this is a bit harsh. I would say that actually it is not. This blog was not planned in a day or night. It’s built on years of disquieting encounters and painful (sometimes even physically painful) experiences while reading or listening to the tale of the lion hunt from those who have not even been to the jungle.
I can hear you are saying that a blog is a pretty small move in response to the gigantic legacy of “hegemony, hierarchy and heteronomy” that the dominant ruling structures and discourses have created. I would say this blog is only the tip of the iceberg. I would say I bet there are many people (not just Kurds) who agree with me.
Nevertheless, to give you a few more tips, I can tell you that this blog arose from my academic project on Kurdish women intelligentsia in Europe, and that it grew out of a reaction of anger and disbelief to both interpretation and method of research and the use of data on Kurdish women conducted and written by non-Kurds, American and European ethnographers and historians. Of course, this remark does not mean only Kurds can study Kurds. Those who apply critical thinking will also be aware that even material written by Western educated and trained Kurds and reproduced in the Western world reflects the Eurocentric articulations of these Kurdish women. So, the methodological approach and narratives in the form of the ‘white saviour’ trope regarding Kurdish women do not only emanate only from non-Kurds. But I must confess that it hurts more. It hurts more when the orphan is beaten by his or her stepmother rather than by the real mother (inspired by an old Kurdish tale).
One can say, “Excuse me, what about all the empowering representations of Kurdish women political activists and fighters in the last decade of scholarship?”. To which I would reply, “yeah, they exist. But aren’t these women regarded in a monolithic manner as if their empowerment is bound entirely to their level of political or militarized activities?”.
“Isn’t seeing Kurdish women solely as active agents and participants in war/conflicts simply another way of marginalizing them, another level of Western delusion?”
Don’t get me wrong. I am proud of them. This is not between them and me. This is between you and me. That’s why I simply want to say, “take off your ethnocentric and neo-orientalist blinkers, sit down and give your ears to the lioness she has a tale to tell”.