Kurdish Proverb

Ka Zor Hat Qawala Batala

(which means, “In the Face of Force, Philosophy is Invalid”)

No humiliation is more bitter than being forced to renounce your faith and beliefs. Nothing is more painful than being forced to do something you know is wrong. And nothing is more sad than to see your life, your family and your land ruined while you are powerless to protect them. Many times in our history, we Kurds saw our people forced to do things that in normal times they would never accept. This proverb tells us that when the force, ZOR, comes, QWALA--making excuses, telling stories, crying for mercy--will not bring any benefit. I saw many of our youth tortured until they turned into people they were ashamed of, and who became traitors to their country. I myself could never justify such turning and betrayal, and I believe that no one should ever do it. But this proverb reminds me and all idealistic people that force can invalidate all philosophy, and it makes people speak or act against their will. Not everyone can stay firm under torture and force.

It is wrong to withhold food and medication from people by embargo in order to force them to do things which are contrary to their beliefs and will. It is not fair to use new technology and science to break human beings and make them say or do things that they believe are wrong and would never do in their whole lives under normal circumstances. It is sad to see today, all over the world, people forced by fear and need to sell their dignity and lose their humanity just to survive. I met a man who once sold his kidney in order to feed his family. I read many stories of women selling their chastity and dignity to feed their children; and what about those forced by need or fear to work for the enemies of their nation? This proverb talks about them all, and reminds us that they have become this way because of force. They are not hypocrites or traitors, but victims.

History and logic tell us that those who exploit the weakness in others, and force humans to submit to their will, never win in the long run. Tyrants will have no future or happiness or success. They cannot build the future by abusing and exploiting people, and anything built by force will not last. Philosophy becomes invalid in the face of force, but force will not last, while philosophy will last and eventually triumph.


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November 21, 2009

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