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The Beginning of Kurdish Romantic Poetry.

The Beginning of Kurdish Romantic Poetry

Saadula Aqrawi

In the 17 th century, a Suffi Kurd was able to use his artistic ability to praise the pursuit of love. Ehmede Xani's epic story "Mem u Zin" is more than a famous achievement of Kurdish literature; it is for many the symbol of the Kurdish nation. This lengthy epic, written originally in rhyme, had a great deal of Arabic influence and contains significant references to God and Islam.

Many would argue that through this story, the Kurds have developed their attitude toward love and relationships. In the tale, Mem and Zin fall in love with one another. Mem has an unequaled love for Zin, but struggles through an emotional confusion working out his love. Kurds have often recognized their own feelings concerning love in Xani's beautiful poetic lines.

Xani was a Kurdish nationalist and many see the Kurdish nationalist movement beginning with him three centuries ago. In the following years, history recorded significant achievements in Kurdology, particularly in ethnography and the study of Kurdish sociology. Due to the highly politicized nature of the disciplines related to the Kurds, many ideological elements have found their way into the academic milieu and created constant stereotypes, which have little to do with reality.

Xani's magnum opus "Mem u Zin", which nationalist Kurds have come to consider their national epic, has come to speak to all Kurds--whether they speak the northern or southern dialects. "Mem u Zin" is the story of tragic love following the pattern of Middle Eastern classics as "Kalila and Dimna". The story of "Mem u Zin" is an allegory through which the author conveys his Sufi message with certain parts of the work explicitly articulating Xani's mystical views.

Xani prefaced the tale with a lament on the oppression of the Kurds by neighboring states, on the absence of unity among Kurds, and on his wish for a Kurdish king to emerge who would unite his people. Yet the work owes its fame in modernity to another level of allegorical meaning, particularly as many read it as a forceful expression of Kurdish ethnic identity and the desire for a Kurdish state.

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Publication:The Kurdish Globe (Erbil, Iraq)
Date:Jul 18, 2016
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