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The pride as a nation

In the Kurdish autonomous region in the northern part of Iraq, where our JEN staff is working, you can often see the national flag of Kurdistan.


Red expresses blood of people who fought for their national freedom and lost their lives, white expresses peace and equality, and green expresses the nature around their region, while the sun sending out 21 rays of light brightly in the center of the flag means a light of life.
(The number 21 is said to have an important meaning for the Yazidis among Kurdish people).

It is said that the Kurdish people is the largest ethnic group with no land of their own in present time. There are 30 million Kurds worldwide, of which a large proportion lives in the border area of Iraq, Turkey and Syria, and also in Azerbaijan etc. 
(It is said that there is a Kurdish community in Warabi city of Saitama prefecture).   

National flags can be seen everywhere, such as in the streets, on the sides of city hall, on car bumpers, or on the surface of mountains. You realize how strong the pride of the Kurdish people is when you see all these flags.

< Over the streets>

<On the sides of the city hall and slopes of the mountain>

Well, the 20th~23rd of this March was Nowruz, which are the most important national holidays of the year to Kurdish people.
New Year in Iranian calendar is generally known as the coming of spring, but Kurdish Nowruz is celebrated for the liberation from Assyrian domination, which lasted long in ancient times=the coming spring to the nation.
During the Nowruz week, most of the stores are closed and families go on picnic or set off fireworks. On the Nowruz holidays, it is said that there is a tradition of making a flame, which is a symbol of freedom, and then to jump over it. However, this tradition could not be seen near JEN’s office.


(The source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newroz as celebrated by Kur. (4).jpg)


(The source: http://www.ibitimes.co.uk/nowruz-photos-kurdish-new-year-celebrations-iraq-afghanistan-greek-refugee-camp-1550720)

Japan has some holidays of the state (such as National Foundation day, Showa Day, Constitution Day), but doesn’t have a day which praises its own people.
Maybe this shows the difference between two countries: Japan, an almost racially homogenous island nation, and Iraq, a multiracial nation connected with other countries by land.     

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May 12, 2016 in Iraq |