The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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Alternative Economy Promotes Gender Equality in Northern Syria

There is so little positive news coming out of Syria these days that I was surprised and heartened when I found this article published in  Although it specifically covers the efforts in Rojava, a region in Northern Syria, to establish grassroots assemblies and cooperatives, it speaks to the larger question of how to democratise all sectors of society, including the economy.  For example, local cooperatives provide:

 …alternative means and avenues that allow traditionally marginalised groups such as women to actively participate and engage with the market…Further, this alternative model allows society to bring the lived experiences of democracy to the grassroots level by devolving and disempowering the capacity of the state to control and direct the market. But cooperatives allow the community to create jobs on the local level, produce locally sourced and generated products, create jobs that do not require specialised skills and allows unskilled workers to gain skills and access to the market.

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Historian Free to Exhibit Kurdish Folklore

Shvan Goran spotlights the opening of folklore and cultural exhibitions taking place in Duhok’s local museum through the efforts of historian Rafa’at Rajab in the Kurdish Globe:

In the centre of Duhok, a city which is stepping towards modern life, there is an old fashioned building where hundreds of ancient antiques and artefacts have been kept in the shape of a museum. As you enter the hall, these ancient pieces brighten your face and make you feel proud of being a part of this history. The museum is a part of the Directorate of Folklore in Duhok. 
Rafa’at Rajab, a man of his middle age, is the head of Folklore Directorate. He is a man of deep interest in folklore and Kurdish culture, and of humbleness in his manner towards anyone wants to talk to him about folklore. He will tell everything about the museum as you ask him. He knows about every single piece of antiques and artefacts the museum has.
Rafa’at sees folklore as identity of nations. He says the nation with folklore is an original nation with its own history, indicating that every nation has to take interest and pay attention to their history and folklore by collecting folklore antiques and artefacts, including its various topics such as stories, myths, songs and what’s related to literary folklore works. On the other hand, he points out that a nation of ancient history and folklore has to be concerned with collecting those instruments that have been made by golden hands for satisfying their needs during a period of time in the past. Continue reading

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Iranian Mystic Baba Tahir

Baba Tahir (ca. 1000-1060 AD) of Hamadan (Hemedan, Ekbatan in Median era) is one of the very first poets in the East to write rubaiyats. Little is known of the circumstances of Baba Tahir’s birth and death. Baba Tahir’s rusticity and mastery of both Kurdish (Lekí dialect), Persian (and Arabic) have rendered his works unusually dear to the common people of both nations. His particular poetic meter is perhaps a legacy of the pre-Islamic poetic tradition of southeastern and central Kurdistan, or the celebrated “Pehlewíyat/Fehlewíyat,” or more specific the “Ewranet” style of balladry. Many Yarisan (Yaristan) religious works and Jilwa, the holy hymns of the Yezidi prophet Shaykh Adi, are also in this Pehlewíyat style of verse. Baba Tahir himself has now ascended to a high station in the indigenous Kurdish religion of Yarisanism as one of the avatars of the Universal Spirit.

Baba Tahir Oryan’s mysticism, philosophy, and sentiments are captured in quatrains of simple and uniform metre. He was considered by his contemporaries as one of the most eminent, erudite mystics and sentimentalists of his time.

Here is the translation of an excerpt from one of Baba Tahir’s Poems;

Her ún baxí ki wa resh ser bider bí
	Mudamesh baxeban xùnín jiger bí
Bibayed kendenesh ez bíx u ez bin
	Eger barish heme le'l u guher bí

When Trees to grow beyond their boundaries dare,
They Cause the Gardeners much anxious care;
Down to their very roots they must be pruned,
Though Pearls and Rubies be the Fruits they bear.

Translated by Elizabeth Curtis Benton,