T h e y
say that death by a
woman’s hand blocks the way to
paradise for potential martyrs. That might be
the case since more and more Kurdish women are now
taking part in the resistance against IS. They give up their
old names and choose a new one in an initial act of autonomy
and becoming »Haval« — a friend of the others. They risk their lives
on behalf of a country that has never existed, yet of which every
Kurdish person knows the location of its borders; that narrow strip of
a homeland, wild Kurdistan, a mountain and valley, a place of longing
that gets attacked from every angle. However, it is not only about their
survival, but more about a self-determined existence, about their freedom
and independence. Sonja Hamad’s pictures show these young women,
almost girls still vulnerable and utterly determined at the same time.
Who believe sincerely that they can be stronger than those men by
whom they had been suppressed for decades. They all carry
their scars like awards. And once in a while, colourful
shirts, seeming almost childish, come to the
fore from under their uniforms.
Sonja Hamad was born in 1986 in Damascus, Syria, to Kurdish Yazidi parents. She studied photography at Ostkreuzschule in Berlin. In 2013 she started the project Jin, Jiyan, Azadi — Women, Life, Freedom. She was able to undertake her documentary work in Northern Iraq in March 2015, followed by a trip to the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and the PKK in Northern Syria.
Hannah Zufall, born 1987 in Berlin, studied scenic arts in Hildesheim and the arts of the spectacle at the Université de Provence Aix-Marseille. At the moment she is doing her doctorate at the Institute for German Literature of the Humboldt-Universität Berlin.
PHOTOPAPER nominated Sonja Hamad for this edition of PHOTOPAPER. It has 16 pages. Images above showing selected pages.