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The Game

Ghazal Mafakheri | Kurdistan, IRAN & IRAQ

1-The frozen Zarrivar lake in Marivan, Kurdistan Iran.

In a trip to Kurdistan Iraq I noticed most people talk about a computer game called “Battlefield 3”, and view this somehow as theirs and their city’s’ (Sulaymaniyah’s) future. In this computer game the USA attacks Iran through the Iraqi Kurdistan and the cities of Sulaymaniyah and Tehran, as shown, are fallen into ruins. People here point out that, prior to the Syrian and Afghan conflicts, similar wars and destructions were also presented in some computerized games. It is for this reason that they believe in the predictions of the latter.

It was at this very moment that I asked myself, am I also part of the game, or still an outsider? Could I be hopeful to work as an independent photographer, or an independent photographer exists no more? Or has the director ultimately a role for me too?

 

In a trip to Kurdistan Iraq I noticed most people talk about a computer game called “Battlefield 3”, and view this somehow as theirs and their city’s’ (Sulaymaniyah’s) future. In this computer game the USA attacks Iran through the Iraqi Kurdistan and the cities of Sulaymaniyah and Tehran, as shown, are fallen into ruins. People here point out that, prior to the Syrian and Afghan conflicts, similar wars and destructions were also presented in some computerized games. It is for this reason that they believe in the predictions of the latter.

It was at this very moment that I asked myself, am I also part of the game, or still an outsider? Could I be hopeful to work as an independent photographer, or an independent photographer exists no more? Or has the director ultimately a role for me too?

My project seeks to illustrate various political, social and military effects of this game on people’s minds in the course of time, in order to present a deeper and greater picture of the Kurd nation to their own very selves, and help me respond to my own mental challenge, to prove whether I am indeed an independent photographer or not.

In order to realize the present shooting project, I prioritized the need to meet people face to face and chat over various subjects, from security to a sense of effectiveness. Through these interviews I tried to target various social strata. I listened to them and seek to echo their senses in the photos I took.

In the course of the project, up to the present moment, I realized the Kurds are the biggest nation without land, dispersed among four countries of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. It is for this main reason that they have been manipulated to a greatest extent by Superpowers and the aforementioned countries throughout times. So they believe, “We have no friends except mountains.”

The very director of the Middle East has set its script based on disunion, war and oil, therefore manipulating religious and national means in this regard. It sometimes highlights nationality and nationalism while in others the religion prevails. Thus, in a land rich in natural resources, the main concern remains internal conflicts or combatting enemies predefined by the main director.

But as I recently witnessed in Kurdistan, there seems to be another player, with no prior significance, who’s playing a leading role in the region. And this very role has been allocated to terrorism (Daesh). For the first time they have been given a defined territory, identity and ammunition.

Terrorism which remained in the margins before, turns to be so impressive that combatting it becomes a main priority to western countries and their political leaders. Electoral propaganda of the west concentrates on combatting Daesh.

I ask myself what passes through the mind of the director of these games, not to put an end to Daesh, and why by means of propaganda even seeks to project an even greater picture than their true face?

To me as a Kurd, the director has reached, through the square of Terrorism, Oil, Nationality and Religion, alternatively allocating roles among each of these four, the extras remain ordinary people, who always suffer the most.

For years they remain in constant immigration;

For years land mines take them their lives, arms and feet;

For years they are innocently killed;

Have been subject to genocide;

Subject to chemical weapons, and attacked by terrorism (Daesh).

For years they are betraying themselves;

For years they’re killing each other;

For years they have more befriended with rifles than books.

But despite all the pain and suffering this nation endures, in the time of joy they rejoice to the utmost. They dance and sing so cheerfully, that at first glance one might think they are the happiest people in the world.

In the course of the present project I hope to find an opportunity to meet Kurdish leaders, and to ask them my questions.

I have started this project from Kurdistan, Iran, being for the present time in Kurdistan, Iraq, and will follow the path to Syria and Turkey in the future.

Jonathan Randal, author and American journalist, who has been in Kurdistan, Iran since many years ago, seeking to analyze political issues of Kurdistan believes:

The pain and cruelty these people went through during the present century could, by no means, be compared to any other atrocity in any other part of the world.

However, has the director succeeded giving me a role as a photographer? That, I wonder, and wish it has not happened. But I still keep up with my project to the point I find an answer to my own personal human concerns.

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