What is Freedom?

In Kurdish, Peshmerga means to “stand in the face of death,” and that is exactly what Peshmerga Freedom Fighters do. Historically, the Peshmerga military played a key role in the identification and captures of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. They willingly stand in harms way, waging war against evil regimes in one of the most inhospitable regions of the world. These men and women lay their lives down for their communities.

Within our first few days of arriving in Kurdistan in July 2018, we began multiple home visits with the families of Peshmerga soldiers who had been killed in combat or injured in recent conflicts against ISIS.

The Peshmerga fight for the freedom of their own people, the region, for a future Kurdistan, and with their current conflict with ISIS, it is safe to say they fight for freedom on the world stage.

When meeting with a young man whose father was killed in combat, we asked what freedom meant to him. He responded,

What is freedom? I haven’t experienced it. Once I have, I’ll let you know.

Though it was heart wrenching to visit home after home and hear their stories, there was a deep sense of pride in each family. We simply came to listen, provide practical support, and honor their family’s sacrifice.

You could tell that every other Kurd listening in the room felt the same way. You could see it in the face of his widowed mother. You could breathe it in the air and hear it behind the humming of the fan. A longing to experience what freedom must feel like in Kurdistan one day.