About his project The Forgotten People of Kurdistan says Giacomo Sini: I usually travel in Middle East and year by year by wandering around photographing the conflictual situation, I’ve started to share more strong stories with the Kurdish community. I’ve always had a great interest and passion on Kurds since I was a child, due also to some tales about living there told by some of them settled in Italy. I’ve been hosted hundreds of time by Kurdish families in Iran and Turkey and I’ve always breathed an atmosphere of calm and life with them, which in regions where they live have a strong meaning .
When I heard about the siege of Kobane, which was attacked from every corner by IS and Nusra Front, I was really afraid that the Canton could fall into their hands and my friends in Kurdistan get killed. I was looking some videos about the fight inside Kobane shoot from a hill facing the city in Turkish territory where I was an year before and I started deeply to think: I’ve to go back in Kurdistan, It’s a need and a duty at the same time. So in November 2014 I travelled first to Turkey and I started to follow the situation of Kurds on the border with Syria documenting the situation through videos.
On January 2015 I started to take photographs, thanks to have get in a closer intimacy with the local population, moving sometime to Iraq and Iran, in order to observe if the Kurds there were showing support to their brothers and sisters in Turkey and Syria. After have entered in Kobane(Syria) in March 2015 and have felt on my skin the terrible situation on the ground and on the opposite side of the border in Turkey, I strongly decided to develop my documenting process about Kurds due to the basic need from me and them to document even simply who they are and what they’re facing since hundreds of years. The project, today, wants in fact firstly describing the difficult life of the Kurds inside territories where they live, particularly in Turkey and Syria, in where there is a continuous context of war.
Kurds have always fought for the self determination of oppressed minorities and for gain a solution to stop the oppression, but they’ve been strongly repressed by every state where they live. I would like to document a growth process of solidarity for peace, led by the Kurdish population, which is being omitted by the international media. Medias have sometimes use to covered the situation inside this part of Middle East, only referring to militaries activities and war, forgetting to remember at the audience these processes. The main idea is travelling around Kurdistan for some months in one year, starting from September 2016, showing with pictures the reality of Kurdistan, with the help of my local contacts (families, Kurdish associations, organizations of Kurds in Italy). The territory of Kurdistan, today splits some parts of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria; the division decided after the First World War has caused a terrific break-up of many families that once lived in the same context. The only place where Kurds gain an historical complete self-determination is Northern Syria, after the widespread of the civil war on their territories between 2012 and 2013.
The self-management has been declared by a part of the Kurdish resistance movement, which leads an idea of organization the society based on some direct democracy’s roots, the free coexistence of the different religious and ethnical groups which are inhabiting the area and a basic importance to the women rights. Despite the territory has been gained by Kurdish forces, the conflict with the ones who wanted to stop the experience of this experiment, has increased in 2013 and is still keeping on.
In Middle East, where we often heard about sectarians conflicts, dictatorships and intolerance, the project which has started from the Kurds, is the only one in the area which thinks materially to a peaceful solution for whole the different populations in its own main ideas.
Document the situation of the Kurds in territories where they live (Iraq,Iran, Turkey and Syria) means give them the possibility to show how difficult is their own situation, forgotten by the whole world. I mostly try to remind that there is a population who live thanks to solidarity links, visible for example between refugees from the war zone of Rojava and the other kurds in Iran, Iraq and Turkey, which means that there is still an important fortress of hope inside the terrifying theater of the perpetual war.
Giacomo Sini, born in Italy on 1989.