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Rondic Zebari

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Transcription

Kurdish Oral History Project
Interview with: Rondic Zebari
Interviewed by: Aynur de Rouen
Transcriber: Marwan Tawfiq
Date of interview: 25 May 2013
Interview Setting: Binghamton University Library
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(Start of Interview)

0:10
AD: Can I have your name one more time?

0:12
RZ: Rondic Zebari.

0:14
AD: Okay, and where were you born?

0:18
RZ: In Kurdistan Duhok.

0:19
AD: Duhok and so uh, how long did you live there?

0:26
RZ: Twenty-five years.

0:27
AD: Twenty-five years? Okay we will get more details about Kurdistan that is for sure. So, did you live in Duhok the whole time?

0:41
RZ: No, I spent some time in Akre, it is like two hours away distance from Duhok.

0:53
AD: Is it another city or village?

0:55
RZ: Another city, yes but smaller city than Duhok.

0:59
AD: Smaller city.

1:01
RZ: Duhok is the biggest than the Bahdini (Mantaka) area. I studied elementary school and middle school in there and high school and college in Duhok.

1:15
AD: Okay so what did you study?

1:17
RZ: Engineering.

1:18
AD: Oh, what kind of engineering?

1:20
RZ: Water Resources.

1:21
AD: Wow, so how many siblings do you have?

1:27
RZ: Three sisters and two brothers.

1:30
AD: This is small Kurdish family.

1:33
RZ: It is an average. [laughs]

1:36
AD: Yeah, they have fourteen kids.

1:39
RZ: And I am the older one.

1:40
AD: You are the older one- So did all your siblings go to school, get education?

1:49
RZ: Yes.

1:50
AD: Where are they now in Kurdistan? Or-

1:52
RZ: Yeah, all of them are in Kurdistan only me here and my husband- he is my cousin.

2:01
AD: Who is your husband?

2:04
RZ: Shivan.

2:05
AD: Shivan is?

2:06
RZ: Shivan Zebari, yes.

2:07
AD: Okay.

2:07
RZ: They were there in 2006 and then I just graduated from university we met there, and we did our engagement there.

2:18
AD: I see.

2:19
RZ: And then he came back to here; he applied for documents for me in order to get visa for me. And then in 2007, the end of 2007 I came here. We did our wedding here.

2:36
AD: Oh, I see, I see.

2:37
RZ: Yes, and I now have three kids, a daughter and two sons.

2:42
AD: Wow, wow, congratulations.

2:45
EI: How old are you?

2:46
RZ: Twenty-nine.

2:47
EI: Twenty-nine ok.

2:48
AD: Wow, so let me ask you this, your entire family still over there in Kurdistan?

2:56
RZ: Yes.

2:57
AD: You are the only one here?

2:58
RZ: I am the only one, yes.

2:59
AD: So, okay. So how was your life in Kurdistan, like when you were growing up, so because you spent your full life over there and we can get different perspective as a child and teenager and young adult you know different stages like what did you see? How were things before the gulf war? Let us start with that.

3:30
RZ: Right, I do not quite remember the time before the war because I was little. In 1991 the big revolution in Kurdistan I was seven, eight years old. And at that time, because my parents were always talking about Kurdistan and Peshmergas and Barzani, when that happened it was just like fresh memories coming back and, in my head, because I did not understand when they were talking about it, when they were listening to Shivan Parwer’s songs. It did not mean anything when I was a child. And then it has, meant something. So, beginning of my like learning about world it was Kurdistan I have blood in Kurdistan. Before that, they did not start like switching language. I studied Arabic, elementary middle school and high school I studied in Arabic.

4:48
AD: So, you are fluent in Arabic?

4:50
RZ: Exactly, but only one year after me was Kurdish. So I was like chasing in Arabic.

4:55
AD: I see, so after 1991 they changed the rule.

5:00
RZ: Anyone which is one year younger than me would studied Kurdish.

5:07
AD: I see.

5:09
RZ: It was hard for like people at my age, a little bit younger than me, a little bit older than me. Because who fail in one class it would be in Kurdish language [next year for them] and it was hard because to study in Arabic more all the subjects you know mathematic and bio physics chemistry that was all in Arabic language and then switching into Kurdish language it was very hard for a lot of my friends. In the neighborhood, all like talking to each other, all the friends it was a lot harder for some of my friends. That cause a lot of them to drop out of school.

5:58
AD: I see.

5:58
RZ: Yes. And later on, I mean the, I do not like the, when I came here after finishing university and all of that, I love the education system here. It is very hard in there. I think the reason why live in America it is because of the Education system. It is very flexible here. There is very hard. In university if you fail one class, you have to start the whole year in the next year, yeah.

6:37
AD: Yeah, it is hard.

6:40
RZ: It is very hard.

6:42
AD: So, do you remember the gulf war, like

6:47
RZ: Not really, no.

6:49
AD: So, you did not leave Duhok during the war?

6:52
RZ: Yeah, we left we went to Iran instead of Turkey.

6:58
AD: Okay, so do you remember?

7:00
RZ: I remember some stuff, yeah.

7:02
AD: What do you remember?

7:06
RZ: Then my family was smaller and I had one little brother I was the oldest I was seven years old and my sister was three and just my brother was new born. We were a small family. It was easy for us. But we travelled with my, our relative, my father’s relatives. It was very hard for them because they were a big family like my husband’s family. It was harder for them who had elderly people with them. My grandparents, they were died before 1991. So, it was like easier for us to travel.

7:51
AD: I see, I see. So do you remember the camps?

7:56
RZ: Yes.

7:56
AD: How was it?

7:57
RZ: It was cool for me, I do not remember any like bad stuff.

8:00
AD: You do not? Well that is okay because this is your memory, this is your history it does not need to be the same with Zhiman, you know or with your mother in-law. It is your memory. So what do you remember?

8:16
RZ: I remember we were always visiting the big cities in Iran, like Razaiya and I do not remember the- these names, but they were very nice and beautiful cities, because right then in Iraq it was not like very civilized country. Iran was more civilized and clean cities, beautiful one, like people more civilized unlike Iraq. And I remember there was a river in there we were all days like going to the river and swimming. My father love swimming and yes.

9:00
AD: Oh, that is nice.

9:02
RZ: Like always holding me and his shoulder we were going to the deep water.

9:09
AD: Wow, so that is nice.

9:11
RZ: It was very nice but the problem was the river was going through a lot of villages and they had animal, sheep and domestic animals. It was like not clean water. After a while I got, my skin got very rough and-

9:27
AD: Oh my God.

9:28
RZ: Yeah, but the time we got into Kurdistan we spent like three months in Iran I was very sick, my skin got like axima stuff like that and my ear got very pain, infection I remember a lot of water came out of it. My mother was crying because she thought it is the end of my ear, I will be like cannot hear anything, but potentially I got better.

10:02
AD: Oh, that is good. So Where did you live in Duhok, did you have a house or did you live in an apartment?

10:12
RZ: We had a house. And my parents still live in there.

10:17
AD: So, when you came back from the camp you went back to your house?

10:23
RZ: No, right then, when we came back from Iran and the other people from Turkey Duhok and Akre and other big cities they were not safe to live people in there. United Nations they made some small cities they called them [Al-Mantiqa Al-Amina] the safe areas. Like my mother in-law told you in Zakho. And we lived in Serseng. Those two cities they were the only the safe ones that United Nations would watch them against like bombing.

11:02
AD: Yeah, because-

11:03
RZ: We were not able to go to Duhok and other big cities. And we spent like another months in this area, and we lived like there were buildings not completely built. We lived there. And it was not like just blocks-

11:29
AD: - Yeah, unfinished.

11:31
RZ: - Exactly.

11:33
AD: So, after that you went back to your house. Was your house still standing?

11:39
RZ: It was still standing. Some of our neighbors they did, not all the people run away from Kurdistan to the borders. There were our neighbors, they were old they could not do that, they stayed and they are safe.

11:58
AD: They stayed and they were still alive-

11:59
RZ: Yes, and they were alive and like they tried to safe our house from the other to steal things. Everything was just the way we left. We did not lose anything. But the only problem with my parent was right then they had saved a lot of money to build a big house, like two layer house, big one. They did not finish the house and they had all the money with them. When we ran we needed money

12:38
AD: So, they carried they money-

12:40
RZ: We carried the money and we had our relatives, so they gave the money to our relatives, and they spent on us. So, when we were back we do not have any money to build our house and to complete it.

12:59
AD: I am sorry I forgot to ask you. Did your mother work?

13:05
RZ: No.

13:05
AD: Your father, what was he doing?

13:09
RZ: He is a teacher, yeah and he is the only son as my grandpa had the kind of store he was rich right then.

13:11
AD: I see.

13:12
RZ: But after that my family was very rich I grew up in my childhood in a very rich environment, but after that we became let us say not very poor but poor. Because all our money was spent in that four months.

13:46
AD: I see. Are your parents still alive in Kurdistan?

13:49
RZ: Yeah, they are alive.

13:52
AD: Okay, so what did your father do when you came back from the UN city I would say?

14:00
RZ: He just, he continued running his father’s store, it was like grocery-

14:06
AD: - Like a little convenient store?

14:12
RZ: Exactly, and he was a teacher he worked both.

14:18
AD: - Okay, so he continued doing that. So, then you continued to live your life. You went to school and all that.

14:33
RZ: I was in the first grade when we ran away and the event was in March, so by the time we came back it was like summer. So, in school they did an exam for all the students just to let them to pass the year and go to the next grade.

14:59
AD: You are too young you wouldn’t remember but I was in the United States then and I watched that war on TV I am not kidding you, CNN broadcast of that war on TV, the first Gulf war I remember so vividly I am like wow look at this the war is going on and I cannot watch it on TV and it was devastating to watch, I remember, of course I could not see all the after, then you do not see what happens, you know what torment and torture you go through.

15:40
RZ: We have seen those videos afterwards you know.

15:43
AD: Oh yeah, definitely. So, how was life after that? Many people left in 1996 to come here.

15:54
RZ: Right, so as I said this is my cousin’s, Shivan’s father is my uncle [brother of my mother]. They came here and we were there not from the people were able because my uncle was a driver for an organization, that was why they were able to come here.

16:19
AD: I see.

16:19
RZ: And afterwards, I mean after 1991, 1992, 1993 it was a little better because people still we had money were a little rich could run their life their kids, after that the situation becoming worse and worse because the United Nations put like restriction on the Iraqi region do not trade with any other country so stuff were like very expensive. I remember there was not sugar [sugar was not available], it was very expensive. I remember my father used to love tea, all the Kurdish people love tea. Even tea was very expensive to serve your guess. It was very hard. I mean I remember we did not have variety of food it was very poor nutrition. We never drank milk after 1991. Yogurt was very hard to get it. Only we had for five six years we had only butter for breakfast. And like rise was very dream meal. It was not only rise even bread was very bad, black and very hard to eat it. It was so hard, it was very bad. My childhood after that we all complained about food, anyone you like interview with them talk with them at my age would complain about food it was very bad nutrition. Like candies you would never see a candy, only Eid you know celebrating events, Eids. Yes. And even the cloth they would buy for us cloth only one time in a year. For me like I would go for two years in that school with only one dress. Yes, it was very bad Situation.

18:48
AD: So how long did that continue?

18:51
RZ: It continued pretty much from (19)91 to (19)98 or (19)99. Yeah and then it was a little better and better.

19:04
AD: Let me ask you before we hit the second gulf war. Where you lived in Duhok was it like all Kurdish families or where there any Arabic families.

19:17
RZ: They were all Kurdish families with like Christian Kurdish and there is a lot religion.

19:22
AD: There are Christian Kurds?

19:25
RZ: Lot of Christian Kurdish-

19:27
EI: - And Jewish as well.

19:29
AD: Jewish Kurdish-

19:30
RZ: – Yeah.

19:30
AD: Angelique was asking me, I said there is no such thing. I never knew, how can you be Jewish and Kurdish?

19:35
Angelique: – When did I ask you that, Anne?

19:38
RZ: There are. Especially Christian Kurdish, there are a lot of them. I have a lot of friends with them.

19:46
AD: I know there are a bunch of Christian Arabs. But I never heard Christian Kurds, I thought Kurds are all Muslim.

19:55
RZ: No.

19:55
EI: Yezidis.

19:56
RZ: A lot of Yezidis and a lot of Christians and Jewish.

20:01
AD: But you were getting along just fine?

20:04
RZ: It was like you would not recognize, only if like me and my friend, if someone wear a scarf you would know this is a Muslim, otherwise not all the Muslims wear scarf you could not like make difference.

20:17
AD: Tell me something, do all Muslims were scarf?

20:22
RZ: No.

20:22
AD: No, okay, like in Turkey.

20:26
RZ: - Yeah, no like however you want.

20:29
AD: - So, your family, everybody wear scarf?

20:32
RZ: No, one of my sisters, no.

20:35
AD: She decided—

20:36
RZ: She decided yeah.

20:27
AD: Okay.

20:37
RZ: So, we had in Kurdish families some parents are very restricted like they force their daughter to wear scarf.

20:46
AD: But your father is a teacher so-

20:48
RZ: My father was not like that, like it was optional for us.

20:55
EI: After 1991 there is a domestic war between two parties, yeah, so how it affected your life, did you affected by that, I mean there was not anymore Saddam’s authority.

21:08
RZ: That was the effective one on me because I was like understand everything right then. My uncle was in that war.

21:19
EI: He was from Barzani’s Party?

21:21
RZ: Yes, He was working right with Barzani, with one of their sons. Sidad or something like that. It was very hard because we were always worried about him. Is he gonna survive or not. Sometimes he was leaving for two months and after that it was very hard because they were Kurdish fighting each other. I remember my parents and the older ones they were talking like how before now it was not very painful because it was Saddam their enemy with us, now is brother with brother. That was very painful and like I had, after … the village area, it was very hard for people to go there. We lived in Duhok but I had a lot of friends who their parents the older one or their grandparents lived in village it was so hard for them to visit their parents or their grandparents because it was very dangerous to leave the big cities. Only the big cities were safe, otherwise, opposite of the before, when was Saddam’s war, villages and mountains were safe to hid in there, then it was only the big cities safe to live in there. And there was PKK and yeah.

23:05
EI: There was not Saddam’s authority, anymore right?

23:09
RZ: No,

23:09
EI: There was PKK as well?

23:12
RZ: Yes, and there was a time like PKK were in the mountain, they were like if see anyone would kill them, a lot of shepherd people who take care of their animals a lot of them got killed.

23:33
EI: Yeah, in 1992-1993 like there was a domestic war and Kurdish called it Brakuzhi.

23:42
AD: Oh, Kurds killing Kurds.

23:46
EI: Brother means-

23:49
AD: Yeah, iç savaş, domestic war.

23:50
EI: So Barzani’s party and Talabani’s party and Iran, Turkey, PKK like Saddam like it was just chaos I think-

23:59
RZ: It was chaos exactly. It was very bad, like it was very painful for people it was pain inside like when you have issue in your family and say it outside it was like that of pain, you hold it in your heart.

24:19
EI: That time you were aware of that right?

24:22
RZ: Yes

24:25
EI: Like you are or, I mean the name Brakuzhi did not give after the war, it was that time that people saying this is Brakuzhi or brothers killing each other, you were aware of that right?

24:39
RZ: Exactly, yeah.

24:40
EI: I mean when people were talking to others.

24:43
AD: So, what happened who, Barzani’s party--

24:48
EI: They negotiated.

24:50
AD: But Barzani took over right?

24:52
EI: No, I mean, Talabani now is the head if Iraq, Barzani is the head of Kurdish part.

24:59
AD: I am talking about Kurdistan.

25:01
EI: In Kurdistan their parties negotiated and like they got fifty, fifty seats, they divided; now they are united in elections I think.

25:16
RZ: Yes.

25:16
EI: So, I mean now they are fine.

25:18
RZ: Now they are a lot better than before. So, people were complaining about that they said-

25:25
AD: – You want to go to bed?

25:26
(Someone)- Are you guys almost done?

25:28
AD: In like a little bit, but why do not you go sleep, go to bed, go to bed.

25:36
(Someone)- no I do not event want to sleep, we have lunch ready, that is why.

25:38
AD: What lunch, no no, no.

25:40
(Someone): It is already ready.

25:41
AD: Oh no.

25:41
(Someone): I just wanted to know if I can put it down. Now how many?

25:43
Angelique: Does it have sucuk?

25:45
AD: [laughs] Oh Angelique!

25:47
EI: Five or ten minutes

25:49
AD: Ten minutes?

25:51
(Someone): Okay.

25:52
AD: Oh my God.

25:52
RZ: It is okay, we already have a lot of people over.

25:55
AD: – Oh wow.

25:55
RZ: Do not worry about it, we like prepare their lunch for us. We are a big family so two, three people does not affect.

26:05
AD: Yeah, I know, oh wow.

26:06
RZ: Yeah about that, um, like people were complaining about the like (aadi) normal people they said “all these years we were fighting for Kurdistan now that we have it, now our heads they are fighting for nothing.” If your relatives, your brothers or father or husband was killed in that war, it would be very painful because it was over nothing. Before it was for a big reason for Kurdistan the big Kurdistan which every Kurdish people dreamt about the big Kurdistan, and now it is for nothing, just for seat to be more president, have more money have more control; that does not mean anything for normal people, it was painful very angry people about this war.

27:04
AD: Yeah, unfortunately. So, let us hurry up then.

27:09
EI: Another turning point I think is after, like it ended in 1995 or (19)96, right.

27:17
AD: No, I think she says 1998.

27:20
RZ: Yeah because then PKK’s thing too. I think in 1998 both Barzani and Talabani they came here to the White House and they had negotiated things and set out some like agreement. Yes.

27:40
EI: Okay and second turning point is like 2004, (20)03, (20)04, the second gulf war.

27:47
AD: The second Gulf War, I watched that on TV as well, I did.

27:51
RZ: Then I just went to college and we again run away the big cities.

28:05
AD: Oh! You ran away again?

28:07
RZ: This time old people, because they said Saddam is gonna anyway be over his time and there is gonna be another Halabja, chemical bombings again. So, people were very afraid of that cities were emptied.

28:38
AD: How long did you stay?

28:40
RZ: For a month. This time.

28:43
AD: Because war itself, you know like going up north happens like in two days I mean you just watch, like American soldiers are going and it was that but finding Saddam took a little bit longer and-

28:53
RZ: And I remember we all ran to some village where we had relative in there and because all the news were in Arabic there were a lot of people and I was the only one who knew Arabic I was sitting and translating like for them, yeah.

29:09
AD: Yeah, so nobody- your father knows-

29:12
RZ: My father, it was like in villages women sit in separate

29:18
AD: That is right-

29:19
RZ: Yeah, there were young women, older women of my mother’s age and older, so I was the only one who knew Arabic, always translating. Old ladies would wake me up at six o’clock and would tell me what is going on just translate for us.

29:42
EI: On TV?

29:43
RZ: On TV yes.

29:44
EI: Have you watched the Turtles can fly?

29:47
RZ: Yes, I watched that it is a very nice-

29:50
EI: You should definitely watch it-

29:51
AD: It is, what is it?

29:52
EI: It is about the camps like after the war-

29:57
AD: O really?

29:58
RZ: It is about that time.

30:00
AD: I will watch it-

30:01
EI: I will send you it is on Netflix.

30:05
AD: I do not have Netflix.

30:06
EI: You can find it on You tube as well.

30:08
AD: Okay, you send me the link, I will watch it. So, you were away for a month then went back to the city.

30:16
RZ: We went back yea, and all the college, it was March again and all the schools and college were closed for that time then, even when we went back it did not start right away-

30:33
AD: So, life just- how long did you guys wait?

30:36
RZ: I would say for two months all the things were frozen like no work no school.

30:47
AD: And then it went back to—

30:49
RZ: And then it opened again in May we did some tests, some people past some not-

30:59
AD: But this time it was not as bad?

31:00
RZ: It was not, it was not as bad no.

31:04
AD: And then things got better after the war?

31:09
RZ: Yeah, and this time in this war 2004 people in Kurdistan were resting. Now is the time for the Kurdish in the other region, Saddami Region in the middle and south of like in Mosul and Baghdad. Kurds ran away from those places it was very hard for them because they were Kurds living in those areas it was very unsafe for them it was so hard like I have a cousin lived in there, my father’s cousin, they have I mean kids at my age, they were working in the universities some students, they could not go to school any more or go to work. They were target by terrorists.

32:01
AD: I see.

32:02
RZ: Especially they could not send their daughter because they would kidnap them and you that is very bad, would bring very bad reputation for the whole family-

32:17
AD: When did it become- like safe? Is it safe now?

32:22
RZ: Even now, I call my cousin in there I talk with their daughter as I said they are my age, older than me, younger than me. It is still not very safe. It is not nice, it is not like Kurdistan.

32:39
AD: What do you mean it is not like Kurdistan, you mean before the first war?

32:48
RZ: For example, they cannot shop in after noon, they can only shop from 11 to 4 o’clock. Like only day time.

32:57
AD: In Duhok?

32:58
RZ: No in Mosul and Baghdad.

33:03
AD: I am asking about Kurdistan and I am like why isn’t it safe?

33:13
EI: They are controversial areas like Kirkuk and Mosul they cannot decide which part should take over-

33:13
AD: Yes, no those areas but in Duhok?

32:21
RZ: Duhok is more freedom than here. Is very, very safe.

33:23
AD: How often do you go back home?

33:26
RZ: When I came here I had to wait for three years to be American citizen. So, after three years in 2011 I went back. This year in summer we gonna visit them I guess.

33:45
AD: Your parents come here?

33:46
RZ: They cannot it is very hard to get visa to come here.

33:50
AD: Really?

33:51
RZ: No, they cannot, I waited because we had our marriage and engagement, my husband had to apply for my paper as a spouse. And I waited two years to come here.

34:06
AD: How about your siblings?

34:08
RZ: They cannot, no one can come here. It is very hard.

34:12
AD: So, do you miss your family?

34:14
RZ: I miss them a lot, when I first came here like for one year completely I would not sleep one night before I cry. It was very hard

34:27
AD: You are close to your family.

34:31
RZ: Especially I was the older one and I was friend with my mother with my father I miss that a lot.

34:40
AD: I have a question which is separate from all that. So, you have your degree than you married you came here, if you did not come here, if you did not marry right away? Would you work?

34:53
RZ: I would work yeah.

34:55
AD: But here, are you considering working?

35:00
RZ: When I came here first I considered like transferring my degree and all of that, and I started taking ESL classes in BCC to improve my English, in order to one company to hire me I have to speak some English at least.

35:20
AD: – Yeah, Yeah.

35:21
RZ: - and then after one semester I got pregnant with my first one, my daughter and I had a lot of complication with pregnancy, I had to on bed rest for her. I had her prematurely she had the NICU for two months I was very busy with her. She was born in 27 weeks and I was very busy with her. So, I had to take care of her all the time because she was very little. She was two pounds and five ounces. No one can believe that, she is a miracle.

35:59
AD: – Yeah, yeah.

36:00
RZ: - and then I got pregnant with my other one. I was not planning and then I was like surprised and it was even worse in complication with pregnancy, I had to sit like rest all the time. My mother in-law and my sister in-laws they took care of my daughter for three months until I had my Ismael, and then it was two kids I could not do anything. Then I had my other one and now I am like I am no having enough sleep-

36:37
AD: You are only twenty-nine years old right?

36:39
RZ: Yes.

36:40
AD: You are still young.

36:43
RZ: Yeah, but I want to again do something-

36:46
AD: you can, you are still young. Yeah.

36:49
RZ: Sometimes I get very mad because of that. It is hard when you study especially engineering is so hard. In my country is so hard to pass in engineering, I spent my whole life, I was like only caring about school, that kind of girls-

37:09
AD: That is okay, you are still very young. You can do it and especially in this country, there is no age, seriously-

37:18
RZ: That is true, right. And now sometime I get very frustrated because I think about all that hard work I did and now I am not doing anything only staying at home and very miss my parents very much and my siblings. Sometime I get very stressed because of all that feeling and then, it gets better.

37:39
AD: I think you can do it later on.

37:42
RZ: I think it is very hard for people in my age to come here, twenty-five years old, you would accomplish a lot of thing in your life and you just ready to do, go on, continue and then when you come here you have to start all over again.

38:01
AD: Yeah.

38:01
RZ: And Zhiman’s sister she married her husband, he is from Kurdistan too and he studied engineering too, but he came here a lot before me. He studied engineering now he is struggling, he was thirty years old when he came here. It is very hard for him, he is struggling with English.

38:28
AD: Oh yeah, I can understand that.

38:31
RZ: It is very hard, you have to start learn another language and to deal with new-

38:40
AD: Yeah, he needs to do it and then other, it is not easy you know, well at least especially not your case, but the others who came in 1996, you know that starvation, you know life was not safe also at least you are safe here, you have food but it is not easy, I mean I came here you know it is not easy. I understand-

39:08
RZ: There is a quote would say “when you leave your country, you would not have another homeland.” It is like that, now this is a better place right. There is more opportunity, better system, everything, better health care system, better education system, but now you miss your family that is very-

39:34
AD: I do not know a better education, easier education.

39:38
RZ: I would say easier, yeah, and more opportunity to work.

39:43
AD: Yeah, but there are difficulties here in this country too, definitely

39:47
RZ: Yes, Definitely.

39:51
AD: And your case you came here after you got married so-

39:56
RZ: Especially it is harder for men because they have to work they cannot stay at home. It was easier for me, I can stay home, my husband work-

40:06
AD: So, how did you make, was a traditional way? Your marriage like did they ask your opinion?

40:13
RZ: Yes, like I said we knew each other we are cousins. And my husband he asked me before. I did not tell my mother. His mother came with him. He said I just wanna ask you I do not want any families effect on your decision I am asking you this and take time and think about it. If you said yes, then I am gonna tell my mother. It was yeah, it was our decision.

40:55
AD: So, it was not traditional.

40:57
RZ: No, it is not. Traditional marriage is not common anymore-

41:02
AD: No?

41:03
RZ: No. It was like I would say sixty years before now. There is no any other traditional marriage or arrangement.

41:17
AD: I see. Things have changed.

41:20
RZ: Changed a lot. You would here about a lot of bad stories about arranged marriages, still hard, I mean if parents pick someone for you and you have to live with them and you do not like them that is not good. We are very happy that those bad tradition about marriage and those stuff changed. Before like in my mother’s time, when she was young, her parents did not let her to go to school. They let their son not her. Now there is no such traditions too.

42:01
AD: You know what, I noted that. And the, remember I was saying that, I notice that is why I am thinking because your father is a teacher that has a big effect. I noticed that when we interview with others it is like girls do not go to school, boys go get their education.

42:20
RZ: Exactly, and now, for now still my mother have that pain because her father did not let her to go to school. That is very hard. But now, like luckily there is nothing like that.

42:36
AD: That is good. Erdem do you have anything because we told them ten minutes and it is-

42:44
EI: No, I am- I think, do you want to add something?

42:48
RZ: No. I said everything

42:50
EI: Last think what you think about your country, about Kurdistan? Like just your feelings.
RZ: I am very happy about Kurdistan the way it is now. I mean it is very safe, it is very nice place. We just hope for our leaders, people who run the country to take care more of people, poor people. And I am very sad that there is a lot of poor people when you walk in Kurdistan you would see a lot of see elderly women sitting on the streets-

43:35
EI: Still?

43:36
RZ: Yes still.

43:37
AD: Begging money.

43:39
RZ: Begging money. They have newborn on their laps under the sun, I mean it is so heart-braking. And you would see a lot of kids; five to eight years old to ten years old like selling bags or polishing shoes it is so hard to see those kids, yeas it is very. I used to walk from my home to college; during our walking distance I would always see those people. It is always heart-breaking for me.

44:29
AD: Yeah. Okay so, I just need to do the consent form, so you want- thank you so much that was –

(End of Interview)





Date of Interview

25 May 2013

Interviewer

Aynur de Rouen

Interviewee

Rondic Zerbari

Biographical Text

Rondic is the oldest of her three sisters and two brothers and has an engineering degree from University in Kurdistan. Roondic arrived in Binghamton after marrying a Kurdish refugee and currently lives with her husband and children in Broome County.

Duration

44:38 minutes

Language

English

Digital Publisher

Binghamton University

Interview Format

Audio

Rights Statement

This audio file and digital image may only be used for educational purposes. Please cite as: Kurdish Oral History Project, Special Collections, Binghamton University Libraries, Binghamton University, State University of New York. For usage beyond fair use please contact the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections for more information.

Keywords

Kurdistan; Iran; United Nations; United States; Gulf War; PKK; Second Gulf War; Food Shortage; Religion; Christian Kurds; Jewish Kurds; Dohuk

Files

Citation

“Rondic Zebari,” Digital Collections, accessed May 27, 2022, https://omeka.binghamton.edu/omeka/items/show/579.