Kurdish Proverb


(which means, “He is hunting in dirty water”)

This is the way Kurds describe hypocrites and selfish people who are looking for any opportunity to take personal advantage of [a situation]. Such people are like bacteria: they can survive only on dirt and corruption, and chaos is their favorite season. In a normal situation, they can’t get anything, so they are looking for an opportunity to get people. They take advantage of someone’s poverty, or sickness, or lack of knowledge, to misguide him and trick him.

The root of this proverb is true: when the river is not clear [muddy] after the rain, and the fish can’t see, you can catch them. Many times after a rain, I used to go to the small river [near my village] and search under the rocks in the water and catch fish. Kurds use this [proverb] for anyone who tricks people when they don’t know something or [when they don’t have] something they need.

How sad it is when a person looks for sincere advice or a little help, but someone uses this as “unclear [dirty] water” and hunts him, misguides him, or takes his money:
- When the businessman holds and hides his goods until people [really] need them, and then doubles his price, he is hunting in dirty water.
- When someone tricks a stranger or foreigner and sells him something for a much higher [price] than it should be, he’s hunting in dirty water.
- When someone looks for an opportunity to destroy relations between two people, or parties, or nations, when he gets the chance he is hunting in dirty water.

What kind of human being looks for people’s pain and suffering [so he can] take advantage of them and make life harder for them? This proverb tells us that these people are hunting in dirty water if they take advantage of when the fish can’t see! We must all be careful of them, and if we know them [know who they are] we must warn others to avoid them. Can you imagine if you are sick and have too much pain, and you need to go to the hospital, and the driver knows that and asks you to pay double price—and if you don’t, he won’t take you? Or you are a foreigner who doesn’t know the language, and you ask someone what is the word for “thank you” and he tells you something bad instead––which, if you say it, will get you in trouble? Kurds say such people are wolves in a sheep’s skin.* So this proverb tells us to know these sorts of people, and avoid them.

* Westerners know the saying as, “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”


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November 21, 2009

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