Beautiful, skillful, freedom-loving

by Shou Aziz

Inseln. Von Albträumen und Sehnsüchten (Ausgabe II/2014)


Image of a chukar partridge. In northern Iraq, these animals are kept as pets – and as fighting cocks. Illustration:

There are many Kurdish children's songs that tell memorable stories about nature and animals. A hero of one of these songs is the Kaw, the chukar partridge. In this song it describes its life, which consists of flying from rock to rock. The song ends with the characteristic rhythmic singing of the rock chicken: Kakba-kakba-kakba-kak!

To compare someone or something with the Kaw is always a compliment. Kaws are considered beautiful, smart and freedom-loving. Kurds' love for the Kaw is connected with their habitat and their history. In the steep mountain regions between Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria, both Kurds and Kaws live together. The Kurds, a displaced people with the desire for freedom and independence, see the Kaw, which jumps happily over the stones, as an example and ideal. Sometimes they let the male Kaws attack one other as fighting cocks, which means that you can pay up to 50,000 US dollars for a small Kaw. This shows that the reality for Kaws is not as idyllic as the children's song seems to suggest.

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