Kurdish Proverb


There is a Kurdish proverb that goes KAR LA KWF KAWTOA O KUNA LA KWF DRAWA. “Where did the donkey fall, and where did the skin break?”

The root of this proverb is the story of the man who took his son to get water (at the time there was no running water and people used skins to carry water) – the man filled the skin and put it on the back of the donkey. He told his son to hold it carefully on the way home, but his son did not hold the skin, and he rushed the donkey. The skin fell and the water spilled. The boy was afraid of his father, and to have an excuse for what happened, he started biting [biting? Really?] the donkey’s leg until he broke it and the donkey fell. The boy then went to his father, and said that the donkey fell and the skin ripped. His father discovered that the skin was far from where the donkey fell, and he knew he son was not telling the truth. He asked his son, “Where is the donkey, and where is the skin – how do you put them together?” Since then in Kurdistan whenever things do not match and dots can not be connected, we say KAR LA KWF KAWTOA O KUNA LA KWF DRAWA.

In the west this can be called Bush’s way of connecting the dots. After 911, many Americans blamed their government for not connecting the dots and preventing 911. So then their President Bush sent the army to Iraq and started the war there, and started spying on his citizens and targeting the Muslim community, deporting tens of thousands of them, and jailing thousands, and wiretapping millions. When people demonstrated and blamed the government, Mr. Bush said, “Before you blamed me for not connecting the dots, and now you’re blaming me for connecting them!” But in fact there was no connection.

The Iraqi dictator and his bloody regime had nothing to do with 911, and jailing innocent Muslims and terrorizing their peaceful communities have nothing to do with 911. I was in jail at the time Mr. Bush tried to connect the Iraq war with 911. I just said, where’s the donkey and where’s the skin? Whoever follows my trail, and trail of many other Muslims in America, and sees how the government has tried to patch and glue things together which just don’t fit, could repeat this proverb hundreds of times.

Posted September 29, 2008

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December 31, 2008

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