A Father's Dream

A picture of a soldier hangs proudly in a frame a few inches from the ceiling like a dream floating in a cloud in the corner of the clean, new living room. No couches are found, but a number of very thin floral mats line three of the four white walls which are tiled halfway up.  A new television stands on a small table in front of the lace curtain-covered front window. We meet a mother in black, not as cheerful as most Kurdish women, and her two children, a young girl around 12 years old, pleasant and in pink, and a younger handsome son, maybe around 8 years old, who is not quick to smile. Walking into the ethereal room, the heaviness of sadness is thick, even three years after the loss. 

The framed picture is of middle-aged Peshmerga soldier Peshtewan, a martyr for the cause of Kurdistan and the protection of the world from ISIS. Following in the footsteps of his father, Peshtewan joined the Kurdish military when he was a young teenager. He loved being a Kurd and wanted to spend his life defending his land and fighting for independence and freedom. “When I die for Kurdistan, my children will be proud of me,” he would often say. He had a dream for his nation.

He also had a dream for his family. Married for fourteen years to his beloved wife Khunaw whom he knew since middle school, Peshtewan always dreamed of giving her a better life, in particular, a house for them before he died. He would be so proud to see his dream realized today in the house given to his family by the Kurdish government in honor of his heroic service. He died on the frontlines fighting ISIS. Willing to answer the 1:00 a.m. call for help when ISIS had captured 25 Peshmerga soldiers, Peshtewan resolved to go, though his wife begged him to reconsider, and his son Babel pulled on his leg pleading with all his might. Khunaw will never forget his last look into her eyes before he left. 

Peshtewan had one more dream in his life, and that was for his son Babel. Giving him the nickname “Doctor,” he wanted his son to pursue education to the highest level. Maybe in his twenty years of fighting for freedom Peshtewan saw that freedom could also be found in education. One of Peshtewan’s dear childhood friends, Meriwan, received numerous degrees and now leads a branch of a political party in their town that is impacting lives and bringing change. Education was Peshtewan’s final dream. 

Peshtewan now lives on in the dreams of his family, both practically and literally. “He’s always in my dreams at night,” reports Khunaw. “Once I had a dream he was sitting under a tree with rivers around the tree. He told me to stop crying in the dream. He said he was happy.” She visits his grave almost every day and kisses the tombstone. She prays that he is in Paradise. “My only hope now is my children,” she says through tears. Her hope is to see her son fulfill his father’s dream of one day becoming a doctor.