Exiled to Ararat

Spread out in four different countries, despite their unique and strong identity, culture, language variety and ancient history, Kurdish people are denied minorities’ fundamental rights. Most of the Kurds I met in Rome, were transferred from one prison to another, and often tortured even for petty crimes, which shows the level of repression they're subject to. Those who didn't suffer imprisonment themselves, had relatives who had. In Turkey, they're not allowed to speak their own language, listen to traditional music or celebrate their traditional festivities. Within these limitations, simple words or any daily practice, become resistance, taking up a significantly political meaning.
And for those who decide to leave their village for 'exile' the political aspect becomes even more relevant. This is why different communities from the Kurdish Diaspora in Europe, decided to go on a simultaneous hunger strike during the 2012 Newroz festivities.
Every year, dozens of Kurds arrive in Rome. The Ararat Centre in the borough of Testaccio, formerly a slaughterhouse, became their pivotal meeting point. Ararat is named after the mountain on which Noah's Ark got stranded after the Flood, but Ararat is also the highest top in Turkish Kurdistan and today a symbol of oppressed Kurdish and Armenian people. Abandoned buildings, squatted in 1999, became spaces where people could meet, pass the time, discuss and get some sort of housing. With time, these spaces also became arts and culture centres. Ararat is supported by many associations and volunteers that every day, almost unnoticed, they offer assistance to asylum seekers and refugees.

Exiled to Ararat
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Ararat social centre. Celebration of Newroz 2012. All night Kurds and Italians have danced around the bonfire.
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Fori Imperiali, political demonstration to demand the release of political prisoners in Turkey. During the celebrations of Newroz all Kurds in Europe have done a hunger strike. Rome 2012.
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Fori Imperiali. Political demonstration, Rome 2012.
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Fori Imperiali. Political demonstration, Rome 2012.
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Hasan, 34 years old.
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Fori imperiali, political demonstration of Kurds people living in Rome to ask the liberation of political prisoners in Turkey, Rome 2012.
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Mevlut, 33 years old.
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Cahide, 39 years old.
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Ararat social centre, Rome 2012.
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