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Berken Bereh is a Kurdish poet, born in 1954 in the city of Sirnak. He started writing in Kurdish in 1978. His articles and poems have been published in many journals and newspapers and he has published more than ten valuable works throughout the years. He is one of the now living poets who is most liked by the Kurdish people.

Credits Text: Berken Bereh Translation by Joakim Wrethed Photo: Murat Bayram May 11 2023

As far as I know, the journal NÛDEM was the most modern and the most comprehensive, as well as the most established, of the Kurdish journals that were published in exile. Because NÛDEM was not tied to any political party, it did not make distinctions between different Kurdish writers, culture workers and linguists. Thereby it had a big role in the promotion of tolerance, collaboration and development within the Kurdish language and its literature. Different texts were published and through that we could get to know our authors from all parts of Kurdistan and from the Kurdish diaspora.

Another important thing is that thanks to NÛDEM we got to know authors from other parts of Kurdistan, and through that we got closer to each other culturally and in our manners of thinking. In that way, the language of the intruders had a weakened impact on the authors. Day by day, our collective subconscious was liberated from the invading languages. The texts were illuminated by Kurdish and they more and more displayed Kurdish colours. NÛDEM created a unity among the Kurdish writers in terms of language, themes, styles, and so on. In addition, through NÛDEM the authors could reach all areas where Kurds lived, which contributed to sharpen as well as widening the authors’ horizon. When an author cannot or is not allowed to publish her texts, she will gradually withdraw from the writing. NÛDEM also played an important role for the standardisation of the Kurdish language, and through this journal, we acquired a greater insight into the Kurdish dialects.

In short, I could say that in our modern network, NÛDEM became a platform and a portal for writers. I became happy when seeing a new author in every new copy of NÛDEM.

Just before the seizing of power of the junta in Turkey in 1980, a journal in Kurdish was published. Only two issues made it to publication, after that the military seized power and the journal was banned. The years before the junta in 1980, only a few people were engaged in the issue of the Kurdish language in Turkey, but they were mostly occupied with politics and therefore they hardly had enough time to engage with literature and writing. At that time, unfortunately there were no books in Kurdish — if there would have been, they would have been invaluable.

At this time, there was no communication between the writers in the four different regions of Kurdistan and they were not familiar with each other. In institutions and associations, Kurds were working for their national rights, but not in Kurdish, rather in the language of the occupiers and with their ways of thinking. After the eighties’ junta and up until the nineties there hardly existed any Kurdish language publications, because of the tyranny and prohibitions of the rulers, and only a few people were occupied with culture and the language of literature.

What a terrific day it was when I got NÛDEM in my hands! I will never forget that day. Without thanking the friend who gave the journal to me, I threw myself over it as a starving baby approaching the breast of his mother. My friend told me later that he had grasped my arm several times without me noticing it. Then I took the journal with me home. When I returned to my hometown in Kurdistan from my exile by the Black Sea, I lent NÛDEM to a reliable friend who could read and write in Kurdish. But unfortunately I never got it back. One night when the military made a raid at his place, he was forced to destroy the journal so as not to be taken into custody. No matter how much I tried, I could not get hold of another copy of NÛDEM until in 1998.

It is not possible to describe the strength that NÛDEM gave me. For years I had longed to read words in Kurdish and here was this gold mine that particularly engaged with literature and language. Has there ever been a moment more happy than this one? In short, NÛDEM gave me hope for the future and it strengthened the bonds to the Kurdish language and the Kurdish literature.

NÛDEM transcended borders and built bridges between Kurdish authors and literary people world-wide. Through NÛDEM we were liberated from the languages that had been forced unto us. Our senses and our minds were united around the Kurdish language and around our literature. We came into contact with works by authors who had lived before us and we got information about the lives and works of Kurdish authors from other parts of Kurdistan and the diaspora.

NÛDEM did not distinguish between different authors, but let many different kinds of texts reach out with their scents and flavours to the readers of the Kurdish network.

In conclusion I would like to say that NÛDEM has become a portal for our modern literature, and I hope that hundreds of authors and historians enter through its gate and with pride assume their place in the history of world literature.

NÛDEM, 2001

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