Poetry - The Penelopes of my Homeland

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Transcript Poetry - The Penelopes of my Homeland

Choman Hardi

Choman Hardi

• • • • Born in southern Kurdistan but forced to flee with her family when she was a young girl, Choman settled in the UK in 1993.

She was born in 1974 Had her first book published when she was in university.

She has a B.A & M.A & Ph.d from the University of Oxford, Kent, Uppsala and University College of London.

The Penelopes of my Homeland

CHOMAN HARDI: “Old myths get retold and reinterpreted and new myths are also created. This is particularly true if you cannot say what you want because of censorship and living under dictatorship. But I also believe that many of those ancient myths are still applicable to us today. We are still living at times where men go to war and women wait for them to return. Which is what Penelope did. The difference between Penelope and the waiting women of my homeland, whom I have compared with her, is that their waiting is futile. Their husbands, unlike Odysseus, will never return. That poem is about the widows of Anfal. There are an estimated number of 50,000 widows from the Anfal campaign in 1988 when thousands of Kurdish villages were destroyed and over a 100,000 villagers ended up in mass graves.

Living in the UK I realised that there’s hardly any awareness of the problems facing the Kurds: I still meet people who ask me ‘What’s the difference between Kurdish and Arabic?’ or ‘Why can’t you just settle down in Iraq? What’s your problem?’ That sort of thing. So I have felt responsible that I was in a position to actually write about these things and raise awareness of them.”


Thank You for engaging in our discussion and analysis of the poem and we hope you enjoyed working with us and hopefully, you understand the poem better now.

Nour Borghol & Amber Codron