A Personal Note – Kurdistan, I’ve Got Your Back

Lifestyle Travel

Hey guys. All fashion and beauty aside today, I’m sharing a very personal note that I was debating in my mind on whether or not I should publically address. This is partly due to the fact that this is a personal fashion blog and not a political forum. I hope this post does not offend anyone. In my career working in digital, I have witnessed the power of the internet and how something can go viral overnight and help spread awareness for a cause. So here I go. (Please note these words are my own. I am simply expressing my personal opinion and am not here to share every detail of what’s happening. I am just using my platform to echo a society’s cry for help.)

pray for peace, middle east crisis, kurdistan, yezidi kurds, prayer, god,

I’m not someone who sits and talks about politics – it’s just not my thing. I’ll never understand, however, why people kill other people for “power”. It’s been happening since B.C. and it’s an ugly trend that never seems to go out of  “style.” Today’s post was scheduled to feature my Kurdistan recap video/trip photos but I felt God put something bigger on my heart to share that needs all of our attention. As many of you have been keeping up with the news over the past few months (or maybe you haven’t), things have not been looking so great in Iraq with the IS terrorist group (or ISIS as the U.S media calls it) doing whatever it takes to seize power/control of Iraq to make it an Islamic-militant state. At what cost? They are literally kidnapping and slaughtering innocent lives in brutal ways that I literally cannot type into words. This includes small children. And for those who have escaped the terror, they face a new daily terror trying to survive as refugees in a scorching-hot summer with no place to go. Many of you followed my recent journey to Kurdistan and saw a peek inside my so-called ‘Kurdish life’. I wanted to focus on the positive and beautiful things around Kurdistan but that doesn’t mean I forgot about the terror happening outside our border.  Although Kurdistan is a protected region that IS has not dared to cross, the KRG (Kurdish Regional Government) is working over-time to ensure the public’s safety as well as those they feel responsible to protect in surrounding regions that are suffering. 

The closest I got to seeing the reality of how critical this situation is was when I visited Erbil and spotted a refugee camp of people who escaped the IS terror. There tents were there homes. I could tell many of these families felt blessed that they escaped IS but there was still this look of terror and fear in their eyes. It was a sad sight to see but it opened my eyes.

As the death toll increases, so has the silence around the world. Pres. Barzani (we are not blood-related so stay with me here) recently put out a statement addressing the current situation and Kurdistan’s desperate cry for international help. This situation takes me back to the time when even the United States needed ground-support in Iraq to get rid of Saddam.  They couldn’t do it alone. The Kurdistan Regional Government had a key role in helping the US troops by providing their military aid when everybody else in the Middle-east did not want to intervene. The Peshmergas (Kurdish army) were on the ground fighting terror with U.S troops and now, those same Peshmerga troops are back in their uniforms fighting on the grounds alone desperate for international support. Who has Kurdistan’s back? We must spread the word to help get this issue out in anyway that we can. I may be just one voice, but together we can be a louder voice echoing the need for assistance from international officials and rescue teams.

Right now the Yezidi Kurds of Shengal are suffering and need our prayers the most. In less than one day more than 2,000 Yazidi’s were killed in Sinjar. They are being tortured and killed by IS for absolutely no good reason and those who have survived are dying refugees now without food, water and a safe shelter. Tens of thousands of Yezidi refugees are left fighting for survival on Shingal Mountain. Today we learn that people are eating leaves as three more have died trying to survive. This number is only going to increase. We also need to support and send our prayers to the Peshmerga troops who are the only defense on the grounds fighting to protect the people and many have already lost their lives early in this battle. Their families need our prayers. Just two days ago I also learned 8 Christians were crucified by IS for simply being Christian and refusing to convert. As a Christian myself, I will stand firm with my fellow Christian brothers and sisters to defend our faith. Hundreds of women have been kidnapped and raped after having to witness their husbands and children being murdered by IS. They need our prayers. I used to sit back and think that only the government could fix things. That was until I realized that God is bigger than the government. IS may be out to kill and destroy, but God is out to save and heal. I pray for those suffering to find comfort in knowing that God has not turned his back even though it seems like everyone else has. I pray that my fellow Kurdish community continues to stand strong for their country and their people. I feel like the image of Iraq right now in my mind is it being possessed by the devil and we must stand in faith not fear. Instead of telling God how big are problems are, we will tell our problems how BIG our God is!!

Our voices are more powerful than you may think or believe during this time my friends. We all have a platform to help spread awareness and love. Regardless if this affects you or not, we have to help humanity. You don’t have to be a celebrity with a large following or a fashion blogger to help make a difference. It can be as simple as starting a group text with a hand full of your friends, sharing a powerful article link on your social media to get the conversation going. Simply help GET THE WORD OUT.  Just because CNN may stop reporting on this issue, that doesn’t mean we have to. Choose wisely what you read and be thoughtful of what you say. I’ve been keeping up with the news through this trusted Kurdish media outlet (English version) and hope you will stay updated: Rudaw.net/english

There is so much more I can obviously add to this novel that I have written, but I’ll let you continue the story by helping spread the word for help. This is a genocide that needs to stop.  I really appreciate you guys letting me open up in this way and I hope you receive this well. This blog has truly been a blessing in my life and I know God gave me this platform for a reason. As we pray that God bless and protect each and every single victim, our brothers and sisters in Sinjar, and those who are suffering in the attacks, let’s not forget the power of God and our voice. No matter where you are or who you are – take a second to share what you can because anything is better than nothing.

Get in on the conversation on social media: #PrayForShingal #PrayForShengal #PrayForYezidis #PrayForPeace #FreeKurdistan (if there any other I’m missing, please comment and share!) I hope you will be encouraged to take a moment to spread the word and share this article. <3

 God bless our world my friends.

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  1. Sazan, I found you through some mutual acquaintances from Dallas and have followed you off and on for a little while now. I love what you are doing entrepreneur wise and style wise, but even more – I love that you take opportunities like this to share your heart and your faith in Christ. What a broken world we live in and what an awesome God that redeems and makes all things new. Thanks for writing with a tone of hope and for calling us all to action and responsibility. Thank you for having the courage to speak up about a controversial topic and using your platform to share Love. May those suffering find hope and healing and those perpetrating crimes find conviction, justice, forgiveness and redemption.

    Be blessed friend!


  2. Well written! Happy to see you sharing this story. I’ve been reading this story in the news everywhere and I am glad you are elaborating on your personal experience. I will keep those in danger ,affected, and fighting for peace in my prayers.


  3. So proud of you, Sazan for not turning a blind eye to this horrible tragedy. Yes, we do live in our comfortable bubbles here, but it’s always good to remember the rest of the citizens of the world. We are lucky to have the lives we do. As a fellow Kurdish-American I am so proud of you!

  4. It’s such a good thing that you wrote about this topic. I’m from Germany and I feelike the media covers this topic quite well back here. It’s such a shame of what is happening right now in Iraq (and also in so many other parts of the world). It makes me sad to see that the government in Bagdad does not really do anything against it and everybody is just blocking the other one when it comes to making important decisions just becuase they want to have or keep their power. I really hope that the kurdish community and fighters will stay strong and will be able to defend their region from IS. Keeping those who are in danger in my thoughts!

  5. It was brave of you to write with such depth of pain over what you believe to be ungodly.

    My hope is your powerful testimony of the unfairness of the IS as religious zealots, will be “heard” by thousands of Kurdish women who a seeking their own voice. This is a life and death, highly emotionally charged, topic, and as such, it will attract people such as yourself to take their first political steps, to argue for religious tolerance. Without the first plank in one’s belief system that others have an equal right to believe whatever they believe to be fire, there will never be a switch away from fear and retribution to philosophical security and the safety of all who are included in the local political process.

    I and all who read your posting salute your public statements of moral indignation, especially being spoken by a Kurdish (American) female. For so many Kurdish women who live without a political voice, you have just started speaking for them. As I wrote above, your posting is a brave step forward.

    Your spontaneous leadership as a Kurdish American woman, born of your belief in equality of life aspirations for all human beings is wonderful to see.

    Thank you and continue your speaking out for the Judeo-Christian/Western values, ensuring the right of life is held by all, not just by religious zealots who so strongly disagree.

  6. It is so wonderful to see fellow Christians standing up for our brother and sisters in Christ. #onenationunderGod check out the blasphemy law in Pakistan and how it is being used to kill, torture the Christian community.


  7. Sazan or Sezen Barzanî or Hendrix.
    It’s kind of you that still feeling Kurdish and not forgetting where you come from. Beside it is not enough, thanks you are sharing about it yet it is not true that there is only Pashmarga defending Kurdistan lands. Why all Kurds cannot stand one? Not unifying all together? Why don’t you see and say that there is more than Pashmarga? I love All Kurds, and (of course all humanity) no matter what their religion, belief is.
    Rudaw news is biased yet I see them as richness of Kurds. Like you are a Christian (or Jew originally), it is our richness, we Kurds, or Kurdistanis, We must stand together. Not when it touches us by some point (like here you share only for Shingal/Sinjar). Please see all. And open your heart for all. May Our God shine the sun over us in our Kurdistan lands soon.

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