Rebuilt life by overcoming obstacles in Cûdî

  • women
  • 10:24 1 March 2024
  • |
ŞIRNEX - Rengin Onuk, who returned to her evacuated village at the foot of Cûdî Mountain, did not give up production on her land despite the words of those around her saying "you can't do it".
As a result of the policies implemented by the state in the cities of Kurdistan for "security" reasons in the 1990s, thousands of villages were burned, people were displaced and they fell victim to unsolved murders. According to the data of the Human Rights Association (IHD), nearly 3 thousand 700 villages and hamlets were burned, destroyed and evacuated between 1984 and 1999, when conflicts took place. According to the November 1997 statement of the State of Emergency (OHAL) Regional Governorship, 820 villages and 2 thousand 345 hamlets were evacuated and 378 thousand 335 people were forcibly displaced. According to the data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the same period, 945 villages and 2 thousand 21 hamlets were evacuated and 358 thousand 335 people were displaced. Although human rights organizations state that the forcibly displaced population is "over three million" or "around three million", there is no clarity in official figures on this issue.
One of the villages evacuated in this process was Dader village, located at the foothills of Cûdî Mountain in Şirnex's Silopiya (Silopi) district. Entrance to the village, which was forcibly evacuated by soldiers in 1995, has been prohibited for 29 years. Only citizens who own property can enter the village with "permission". 32-year-old Rengin Onuk, who did not leave her land and village despite everything, is one of the women trying to maintain the life and vitality in the village. Onuk, who was 3 years old when her village was evacuated, returned to her land with other villagers in 2018 and started planting wheat, barley and lentils. Onuk, who takes leave in October and November every year, stays in the village for certain periods and cultivates. As the only woman farmer in the region, Onuk struggles not only against state oppression but also against gender roles. Onuk, who tried to give a new spirit to the depopulated village, inspired many women with her efforts.
Onuk stated that she wanted to show that women can overcome everything alone and said: “I do agriculture because I love it, not out of necessity. Being a woman in this society has many disadvantages. People around me often say, ‘You can't do it, are you going to do it?’ We need workers periodically and I want more women to come and work. Because women's job potential is higher than men. For example, men drive tractors, but women sort the stones in the fields. So, the real labour is done by women."
Pointing out that women are more inclined to farming, Onuk said: “Women have been doing heavy work in the fields since the past. In addition, tasks such as preparing food, collecting stones and herbs are also done by women. Men only have to drive the tractor and throw the stones collected by the women. The labour of women is valuable, that's why I work with them. We work together rather than with the mentality of 'I have the parcel, you work'. We plant wheat, barley and lentils. We plant corn or cotton every two years, depending on the condition of our products. I take care of everything from planting the crop to harvest time, from fuel to fertilizer, from the arrival and departure of the workers. We plant more wheat. The productivity of wheat is good, but life is very expensive, we cannot get the reward of our labour due to the state of the economy. Diesel and fertilizer are very expensive. Input costs have increased. The price of bread is increasing, but we still sell wheat cheaply. We continue it because it is a work inherited from our elders."
Expressing that farming has come to an end due to the policies of the government, Onuk continued as follows: “We plant and work, but those with ties eat. However, if there is no producer, there will be no production. A society that does not produce is a society doomed to end. Farmers are disappearing or facing extinction. Many farmers quit production. When we remove the product, we become indebted. Despite everything, my call to women is; They also focus on this field. Because women's involvement with nature is much more fruitful and colourful."
MA / Zeynep Durgut

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