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Casime Celil - Jiyana Rewşenbireki Kurd
Turkey, 2021, 56'
Özlem Diler, Celil Badikanlı
Kurdish with Turkish and English subtitles

Casimê Celîl was born into a Yezidi Kurdish family in 1908, in a village called Kizilkule, located in Digor, Kars. The village and family life, which he longed to remember throughout his life, ends with the massacre they lived in 1918. During his long road to Erivan, Armenia, he lost all his family members. Left all alone in the city of Erivan, Casim was placed in an orphanage and was forced to change his name. To remember who he was and where he came from, he repeated the mantra “navê min Casim e, ez kurê Celîl im, ji Qizil quleyaser Digorê me, ez Kurd im, KurdêÊzîdî me” every morning (which translates to: “My name is Casim, I am the son of Celîl, I come from the village of Kizilkule in Digor I am a Kurd, and I am Yezidi”).
His longing for his roots turns into a love of literature, folklore, and language with the great contribution of the Soviet Russian School. He clings to every piece of his culture he can find, reads, and saves whatever Kurdish literature or art he comes across. As the years pass, Casim finds himself with an impressive collection of Kurdish culture and history.
Today, the very same house is a well-known Kurdish institution where more than 20 thousand pieces of literature about the Kurdish culture can be found. The institution also has thousands of pieces of Kurdish music which they have digitalized along with packages and packages of Kurdish books, photos, and letters which are one day hoped to be gifted to the schools of Kurdistan. In other words, the house has become a place not only filled with one family’s story but an institution, open to anyone interested in Kurdish history.