The rebels have always been there, it isn't …

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The rebels have always been there, it isn't …


Neil Shea






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The rebels have always been there, it isn't hard to find them. Just head north until you find snow lingering on the peaks. As you travel the towns will shrink and the tarmac crumble, and at the checkpoints the guards will grow younger and younger until you reach the place defended by boys. They carry their fathers' rifles. On their belts hang Soviet grenades, the firing pins already pulled, the levers held in place with tape. While they search the car, look around: a stream tumbles through beds of purple thistles and red poppies. On a hillside wander dark-haired goats in need of shearing. Hawk shadows flicker over craters made by Iranian and Turkish bombs. Beneath all this are the bones. In a well-swept house up the road more rebels are waiting. There are many mountains in Kurdistan, many kinds of rebels, and these ones fight against Iran. The petite woman leads the youth movement. Beside her stands the computer engineer. The one with the mustache was imprisoned and tortured for a year. Over tea they talk of social justice and democratic Islam and vegetarianism. Marx is mentioned like a beloved uncle gone a bit mad. On the walls are photographs of martyrs killed in Turkey and Iran. All of them are women, most are young. Later you will stroll through a meadow with the leader, Zilan. She is very earnest. She points out vegetable gardens and patches of medicinal herbs, a flower called Love that eases pain. She says she will fight forever, unto death, and while such things should always be surprising somehow this is not. You could walk with Zilan for a long time. She is that kind of woman. But dusk is coming and she must return to the struggle. In a nearby meadow her horses are waiting. They stamp and nicker in the tall dark grass. #onassignment for @natgeo

#kurdistan #natgeo #qandil #mountains #rebels #iraq #pjak #iran #instakurd #everydayiraq #everydaymiddleeast #kodar #onassignment for #nationalgeographic @petergwin @kengeiger @yuri.kozyrev @hawrekhalid •• a series: #kurds2015




Neil Shea, “The rebels have always been there, it isn't …,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed June 20, 2019,