Hello. My name is Kazho and I’m a 23-year-old woman living in Kurdistan/Iraq. I’m fortunate to live in the safer part of Iraq not being under direct attacks. I’m lucky. In my lifetime, I have only had to leave my home twice in fear of being attacked and killed. I have only had to say goodbye two to three loved ones who died because of war. I only had to hear about the war and terrorist attacks all around the globe a few times a day and witness three wars in my country in the past 23 years. I am also lucky because I only had few people tell me that I cannot make a difference and end world problems because I’m a “woman.”
These might give the impression that I’m not really fortunate, but that doesn’t mean I have no hope. I have always had and will always have hope. I have hope or more like a vision that one day, I will not be seen “different” because I live in the Middle East. I have a vision of living in a world where less people are torn apart and hurt by extremism (religious, ethnic, political). I have a vision of a world clear of extremisms and based on discussion and dialogue rather than wars.
I need everyone’s help in achieving this vision. I need men to help me achieve this vision by seeking discussion rather than fights. I need men to stop thinking that dialogue is weakness and stop thinking that war is the only option of winning. I need women to understand that the problems of the world are their problems. I need women to understand that it’s their duty to fight against extremism with men through education and dialogue.
I want you to understand that education and knowledge can end extremism. I want you to know that listening and discussing a viewpoint is a more concrete and less of a risky way of solving world problems.
I need you to understand that winning doesn’t only happen through war. I need you to understand winning through killing is not winning.
I want you to envision what the world would look like if we didn’t have extremism and didn’t have wars as the way to “win.”
Please envision a world without extremism in all of its forms. I promise you that in that world, you wouldn’t see a child buried in ashes and blood crying. I promise you wouldn’t see another woman being enslaved, killed or degraded because she is a woman. I promise you wouldn’t see an old man sending his son to a battle knowing this will be the last time he sees him.
Let’s make that vision a reality and end extremism. Let’s make a peaceful world a reality not only a vision.