Tag Archives: Kurdistan

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Guerra vs Estado Islámico: Los motivos ocultos de la gran coalición

Por Témoris Grecko “2016 será el año de la gran victoria final”, proclamó en la ciudad de Ramadi el primer ministro iraquí, Haider al Abadi, “cuando la presencia de Daesh (siglas en árabe de la organización autodenominada “Estado Islámico”) en … Continue reading

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Vía Crucis cristiano en Irak

Por Témoris Grecko / Shaqlawah, Irak. Publicado en Esquire. Mayo de 2013. El padre Yousif tiene sonrisa de niño bueno. Creo que no lo puede evitar. Él desea explicarle al mundo, a través de nosotros, la terrible situación por la … Continue reading

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El sueño kurdo

Publicado en Proceso / 20 de julio de 2014 “Volverá a ser como era antes de que los franceses y los ingleses vinieran a revolver todo”, vaticina el teniente peshmerga Halgurd Muhammad. Frente a él, máquinas excavadoras hacen avanzar lo … Continue reading

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Irak: El polvorín kurdo

Por Témoris Grecko / Erbil, norte de Irak (publicado en Proceso, 30 de diciembre de 2012) Las anchas y bien asfaltadas avenidas de Erbil parecen desmentir que se está en Irak: la mayor ciudad del norte del país está experimentando … Continue reading

A year on the road and a birthyear with the Sun

Dear friends:

Last March 2 it was a year since I flew out of Mexico and started this second round-the-world trip. I’m in Nairobi now, which has trapped me just as it did back in 2005. And, as I decided that I will turn 40 once and only once (not tempted to repeat), I won’t have a birthday, but a birthyear with the Sun. Therefore, I’m also starting here a series of celebrations which should follow the fireball in the sky: from South to North as the Boreal Summer approaches and the Austral one heads off, and from East to West as the light chases away the darkness.

In this year I have seen things that have made me feel ever more amazed about our world, its nature and its peoples.

First of all, I watched in big close-up the Iranian Green Revolution. It was a unique chance to witness the bravery, generousity and glamour of a wonderful people rebelling against the military-religious dictatorship that rules them. If it was only for this experience, the whole trip is worth it. As long as the authoritarian regime is in place, I won’t be welcome back in Iran, which makes me very sad. But I believe in the Iranians and trust that they will get rid of that fanatic, corrupt cast of pious cheaters, liars and killers. I wrote a book on what I saw and heard, which shall be on sale in Spain (a little later in Mexico and Argentina) by mid-April. It’s title is “La ola verde. Crónica de una revolución espontánea” and it will be published in Barcelona by Los Libros del Lince. It’s in Spanish, of course, and though you can dismiss the possibility that some foreign publisher would like to acquire it and translate it into English, this is not very likely. As one English writer puts it, “we English native speakers stopped reading foreign language authors since Voltaire was alive”. Hope dies last, of course, so we’ll see.

I’ve also seen the pledge of the Uyghur people from Kashgar, pushed far from their homes as the Old City, a crucial stage on the Silk Road, was being bulldozed by the Chinese government to build huge appartment blocks in its place. I saw huge Buddhas in the Mogao caves and six-hundred metres sand dunes nearby, in Dunhuang. I crossed the snowed Pamirs and the Tian Shan, now in Kyrgyzstan, where my belongings ended in some thieves’ hands. Then, in Uzbekistan, I went to the now-defunct Aral Sea, where ship corpses strangely lie on the sand in the middle of the desert.

Iran was the highlight. But I was almost caught by the police commiting journalistic crimes and had to escape to Armenia, where I made a detour to Nagorno-Karabakh and the occupied, utterly destroyed Azeri city of Aghdam. In Georgia, I went up to Kazbegi, a wonder in the Greater Caucasus, in Georgia. Then I took a little holiday. Sort of, because I went to Barcelona to write the book, but my dear Catalina and many other friends, old and new, made me feel the most welcome.

Back on the road, I went to the Turkish Kurdistan and then to one of the most amazing cities on Earth, Istanbul, where I was also warmly received. In fact, this part of the trip makes a big contrast with the Central Asian one, which was tough for many reasons, being the main one a deep feeling of isolation. Now, and for months, I’ve met lovely people in almost every place. Like Beirut, Damascus, Aleppo, Nicosia, Tel Aviv, Accre, Jerusalem, Ramallah… and Mama Africa: it was a coming back home. Uganda, Congo (with it’s volcanic eruptions, an eclipse, gorillas), Ruanda, Uganda again… and now Kenya.

So here I am, reporting on a year on the road… and inviting everyone to join me in this birthyear with the sun…

No time for siesta. Life is fiesta!!!

The celebrations actually started in Kampala’s Backpackers on New Year’s Eve and following weeks, with Sean, Adam, Kate, Clare, The Prince Formerly Known as Frankie, Andy, Rafa, Peter, Rachel and so many more! Nakasero nights, Kololo nights… Kabalagala nights and mornings! What a start!

And then Nairobi, with Laura, Melanie, Waireri, Sheila, Waringa, Cynthia, Peaches, David, Ben, David “Hacienda”, Wendy “Paloma”, “Rodríguez” and again, Adam, who took a few days off to celebrate with me in Westlands, Langata, Hurlingham and… well, not yet, but Madhouse should appear at some point.

What next?

Well, be aware: A party! Coming soon to a venue near you!

Next in line are:
Following the Sun from South to North: up to Cairo, by mid-March; Tel Aviv, late this month; and Istanbul, late April.

Then, from East to West: Barcelona, late May; Madrid, in June; and Mexico City!!! in… well, all this is temptative, so let’s say August.

The celebrations will have covered, by then, 8 cities in four continents.

Naturally, Mexico City’s celebrations should be rather quiet, my body will be quite diminished after all this, and well, it’s 40… but I paid everything I owed and was punished for every sin in the deserts of Central Asia and Iran, this is my only 40th birthyear, and that’s my beloved city!

(And the celebrations threaten to connect with the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence, in September… dammit!)

So, as you see, I’m not as serious as you no doubt thought I was. And you are welcome to be as unserious as you can in any, or all, of these fiestas!

Happy bithyear!

Con amor, Témoris

A year on the road

Today, March 2, but one year ago, I flew from Mexico to China and started this second round-the-world trip. I crossed Asia from East to West following the Silk Road, perceived the growing anger in China’s Uyghur inhabitants, resisted repeated police abuse in Kyrgyzstan, climbed ships stranded on dunes in the dissapeared Aral sea in Uzbekistan, witnessed a Green Revolution in Iran, sneaked into a closed military zone in a thoroughly destroyed city in Nagorno-Karabakh, survived a car race on a narrow mountain road in the Greater Caucasus, wrote a book in Barcelona, talked to a former Kurdish fighter in Turkey, got a Muslim name in Şanlıurfa (just the name), attended Friday noon prayers in Damascus’ Umayyad mosque, listened to foreign female domestic workers who had been enslaved in Lebanon, enjoyed tea with Bedouins in Palmyra, walked the ghostly buffer zone in Cyprus, sensed the hopeless hatred in Jerusalem, interviewed Palestinian hiphoppers in Ramallah, got lost in Petra, watched a solar eclipse and a volcanic eruption, and met great men and gorillas in the Heart of Darkness (Congo), felt the sadness of the genocide in Rwanda, spoke to a pious Christian pastor who wants to kill gay people in Uganda, and came to Kenya to visit old friends.

12 months on the road…

Mesopotamia from Mt Nemrut

I’m just coming down from Mount Nemrut, towering over wonderful Mesopotamian plains and site of king Antioch I tomb: 2000 years ago, he ordered the summit flattened and used the debris to make his own burial hilltop. On the sides, looking West to the sunrise and East to the sunset, he placed the heads of himself and the gods he thought his siblings, later humbled by mother Earth by means of earthquakes, wind and rain.