Türkçe Nupel | Français | English

In a mod­ern Euro­pean coun­try, in one of the biggest air­ports in the world, a sil­ver plane takes off for Sulay­maniyah, at the heart of the Mid­dle East.

In the left row of triple seats, a young man, head rest­ing against the small win­dow, his name is Serdar…He is hand­some, with well-groomed black hair to his shoul­ders. His large eyes have long lash­es del­i­cate­ly pro­tect­ing his eye­balls. Just beside him, a boy of five or six and the boy’s mother…

The boy and his moth­er are excit­ed by the take-off, hold­ing hands firm­ly, the woman pray­ing God in her own faith.

No such excite­ment with Ser­dar. His eyes are hard, he looks at the straight lanes of rein­forced con­crete the plane  is leav­ing behind as it accel­er­ates on the run­way, soon gain­ing altitude.

For Ser­dar, what is is about to do is much more impor­tant than the take­off of a plane or even the risk it might crash. He is now the bear­er of an irre­versible decision.

Ser­dar will be wealthy… Ser­dar will be very very wealthy!

The child next to him is filled with curios­i­ty. He keeps putting ques­tions to him, and the moth­er warns her son every few min­utes, “be qui­et, don’t dis­turb the stranger.”

- What’s your name?

- Do you have children?

- Is this the first time you’re going home?

- Do you have olive trees too?

- Ours are very big.

- But my uncles are the ones tak­ing care of the trees now.

- Do you have a father?

- Me, I don’t have one. My father died in the war, I was very small… well, he died, that’s how it is… They killed him… I was small…

Not a word out of Ser­dar and after a while, the child gives up.

The moth­er is sad, silent, hurt, as if all the trou­bles in the world had land­ed like a stone on her head, she seems exhaust­ed by them all… A pas­sen­ger whose strength is exhaust­ed, hope­less. Her sto­ry is the same as that of every woman in the Mid­dle East. Why is she trav­el­ling, what is she attempt­ing to resolve, does she have fam­i­ly over there? No one knows. But she is sad, con­trols her­self, she is exas­per­at­ed nonethe­less… That is all.

A bit lat­er, the child will fall asleep on his mother’s lap…Between the two, the child is almost like the incar­na­tion of innocence.

Ser­dar builds the dream around the mil­lion euro he’ll receive for the busi­ness he’ll han­dle, half will be deposit­ed imme­di­ate­ly in his bank account, once the job is done, and the oth­er half, when he returns. He would be a cow­ard, son of a cow­ard, if he didn’t place a Fer­rari under his ass, if he didn’t pay for the finest life, with the most beau­ti­ful women in the most lux­u­ri­ous hotels, may the milk he suck­led from his moth­er snort out of his nose if he doesn’t.

If he doesn’t teach a les­son to the jack­als around him, may he become the King of the Treacherous!

And may he buy him­self a house with a gar­den, with a swim­ming pool and every­thing, may he tie a pit­bull in front of it. It will be a beau­ti­ful business…

All he’ll do is pull the trig­ger! A mat­ter of a sec­ond, at the most…Does he have a moth­er to cry over him, a father, broth­ers and sis­ters? All he’ll do is pull the trig­ger… After­wards, once he’ll have dis­ap­peared, the mon­ey, wealth… May they box and scrape before him, the min­ions at the ser­vice of his money.

Most of all, if he does not chase all those who despise and low­er him, may he no longer be called Ser­dar in this world…

This is how Ser­dar is think­ing, constantly

The child is still sleeping…Serdar has been awake for hours, just like the moth­er. The woman is grumpy, Ser­dar is caus­tic, con­cen­trat­ed on his inner voice with teeth clenched.  Ser­dar is like a storm about to break.

How many hours have gone by? Here is the inno­cent child who was sleep­ing between sad­ness and rage, wak­ing. The child is pure, candid.

- We’re not there yet?

- It won’t be long now, says his mother.

The child looks at Ser­dar, attempts to ask him some­thing, Ser­dar throws such a look at him, that the fright­ened lit­tle one takes shel­ter with his mother.

The woman is fly­ing toward her past, her mem­o­ries, her child­hood, her roots, the child toward the lack of a father, nev­er to be filled. As for Ser­dar, he is mov­ing toward unbe­liev­able dreams, about to bloody his hands.

Lights from tall build­ings in Sulay­maniyah greet these three pas­sen­gers from afar. The woman responds to this noc­tur­nal face of the city with tears stream­ing slow­ly down her cheeks. The boy is agi­tat­ed. No sign of human­i­ty in Ser­dar, who remains as if frozen.

Ser­dar has a back­pack. The woman and the child wait for their lug­gage. Ser­dar walks through the crowd, away from them. With each step, he moves fur­ther and fur­ther away from sad­ness and from inno­cence… Then, Ser­dar dis­ap­pears behind a slid­ing door.

Ser­dar is greet­ed by a young man in a car, about the same age as he, in this thir­ties. The two became friends in Europe, bud­dies in the realms of opi­um, they trav­elled toward imag­i­nary worlds. Both are still in their youth, both are lost, with no feel­ings left, they are like two emp­ty bags with holes in the bottom.

On the next day, they will dri­ve to Said’s uncle. Because the oth­er one’s name is Said.

Said has come ahead of time, he has rent­ed a small apart­ment, he has planned every­thing, it will be as easy as lift­ing a hair off a piece of but­ter. Said shows Ser­dar a pis­tol with a sil­ver grip. “Look at it, it’s like a girl”. 1 Said runs his hands over the weapon, as if caress­ing a woman.

This caress feeds into Serdar’s improb­a­ble dreams, the ones that will nev­er become reality.

Car, house, beau­ti­ful women, swim­ming pool, pit­bull, valets at his ser­vice, all that, all that.

The first light of dawn breaks over a poor neigh­bor­hood with nar­row alleys where most of the hous­es are in ruins…On the walls, thou­sands of bul­let holes bear the mem­o­ries of war. Ser­dar takes in this scene of a mis­er­able neigh­bor­hood etched out in the ear­ly morn­ing. In all this mis­ery he sees noth­ing but a few old-timers and stray dogs.

The hous­es are in ruins, emp­ty, they are like name­less ceme­ter­ies. Tak­ing in this illus­tra­tion of pover­ty, Ser­dar tells him­self yet again “if I don’t become wealthy, may I no longer be called Serdar.” 

He is the one caress­ing the sil­ver grip on the pis­tol now, over and over again, as if caress­ing a woman…


Said has rent­ed a small car, they dri­ve slow­ly through the mis­er­able streets of this coun­try where you find the biggest ceme­tery in the world, they soon arrive in anoth­er neigh­bor­hood with mod­ern and lux­u­ri­ous high ris­es. These are like those glit­ter­ing man­sions with the hang­ing gar­dens in Baby­lon, the ones described in fairy tales, bought with the ben­e­fits accu­mu­lat­ed after the war.

Here, it is almost like say­ing “those who died are dead, the rest belongs to the wealthy.”

Wealth faces the poor neigh­bor­hoods, the hell of pover­ty, lux­u­ry and mis­ery square off. Lux­u­ry makes fun of pover­ty. They move toward one another.

Said’s uncle belongs to a deeply root­ed tribe, he is a pro­mot­er. He has gained tremen­dous­ly from the war.

He lives in Erbil in a qua­si-palace. His fam­i­ly and chil­dren are in Sulay­maniyah. Dur­ing the war, they did not suf­fer a sin­gle scratch. The uncle has a girl­friend in her twen­ties, a real beauty…She is vis­it­ing fam­i­ly in Bag­dad at the moment, and won’t be back for two weeks.

Come on, show your stuff, Ser­dar!” says Said.  “He won’t sus­pect me despite my dead father. We’ll open the safe in the wall of his house, you do your job while I count out your mil­lion. When night falls, I’ll knock on his door. When he’ll see me, he’ll rejoice as if see­ing his broth­er. He trusts me, opens his heart to me, gives me pock­et mon­ey, I swear, he will give it to me…”

Then Said sighs; but it’s no longer enough, no, not enough.

Night reigns over Erbil, the sur­round­ings are emp­ty, not a soul in sight.

- Are you ready, Serdar?

- I’m ready…

Ser­dar is ready, he’s been ready for a long time. Ser­dar has con­vinced him­self that if he doesn’t become wealthy, his mother’s milk, even life will become haram for him

broth­er. What is Said doing here? So, he has come on hol­i­days with his bud­dy, of course, he is drop­ping by to see his uncle, see how he’s  doing… On his doorstep, Said’s uncle opens his arms. He embraces Said, sheds a few tears for his dead.

- You had the right idea, Said

Late in the night, they share in Allah’s gifts, plat­ters of food are set before them. No prob­lem, they could even have a drink of alco­hol. Ser­dar would have a house like this one, exact­ly the same.

Said’s uncle is in his six­ties, or more, with hair and mous­tache dyed a deep black, a man of medi­um height, a bit stocky, he wears a huge square ring on his mid­dle fin­ger. His hands are rather pudgy.

Said and his uncle evoke mem­o­ries with enthu­si­asm and deep feel­ing. Ser­dar stands up, looks out the win­dow, and in the dis­tance the town of Erbil looks back at him with its lights. He turns and looks at Said.

Said says “now!” with a look, “now!”

Ser­dar is behind the man, he puts the muz­zle of the sil­ver han­dled weapon on his nape and, with­out a though, not even for a sec­ond, in the neck…


The man’s head has fall­en on the table, with open arms, the blood runs in rivulets from the table to the ground, his ring is blood­ied, every­thing is red…

Here’s the safe in the wall… one, two, three, sev­er­al mil­lion euro.

As agreed, one mil­lion for Ser­dar. Ser­dar will fly back to Europe in the morn­ing, his mon­ey will be deposit­ed on his account imme­di­ate­ly. Ser­dar trusts Said, he has no choice but to trust him.

The full amount is in the car, for both of them there is no remorse, only silence.

Ser­dar will be wealthy, very wealthy!

Ser­dar is at the air­port… If any­thing goes wrong “may I fuck my moth­er”, he’ll kill Said also, and not in the back but straight in the forehead.

There’s still an hour’s wait before Serdar’s flight depar­ture. The weapon is in the bot­tom of a lake they drove by.

Said will come lat­er! As soon as Ser­dar will set foot in Europe, bin­go, he’ll be wealthy.

Ser­dar is removed from real­i­ty, in a world of dreams, he stares at the large air­port clock. He’s been there for three hours. Said must have deposit­ed the mon­ey already The uncle’s head on the table, his blood drip­ping off the table, the ring on his finger…

And who ever took pity on me?” says Ser­dar, “who?”.

An incred­i­ble rack­et, five or six police­men rush to Ser­dar, he is on the floor, hands cuffed in the back. Ser­dar is inter­ro­gat­ed. Ser­dar is tortured…He doesn’t men­tion Said, still in the hope that…

Ser­dar is sen­tenced to per­pe­tu­ity in Erbil…

There is no more Said, Said has evap­o­rat­ed, the ground has opened and swal­lowed him.

He has van­ished in lim­bo, he is nowhere. Ser­dar has a sin­gle dream now, a dream that keeps him alive.

With all his lungs, howl­ing…“Said if I don’t knock you off, my name is no longer Ser­dar! Said, if I don’t rid­dle you with bul­let, may my mother’s milk turn haram on me!”

- “If I catch you, you’ll see… If I don’t kill you, may I fuck my moth­er.

Ser­dar, a lif­er… His hair has fall­en out, he has no more teeth to clench in his mouth.

Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges

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Suna Arev
Née en 1972 à Uzun­tar­la (Elazığ).Dans une famille de huits enfants, elle est immergée dès son plus jeune âge, par­mi les tra­vailleurs agri­coles à la tâche. Tel un miroir qui date de son enfance, la péri­ode du coup d’Etat mil­i­taire du 12 sep­tem­bre 1980 a for­mé sa vie poli­tique. Diplômée de l’École pro­fes­sion­nelle de com­merce d’Elazığ, elle a vécu, en grandeur nature les com­porte­ments fas­cistes et racistes dans sa ville. Mère de qua­tre enfants, depuis 1997, elle habite en Alle­magne, pour des raisons politiques.
Suna Arev was born in 1972 in the vil­lage of Uzun­tar­la, Elazığ dis­trict. From a fam­i­ly of eight chil­dren she became one of the agri­cul­tur­al work­ers at an ear­ly age. The mil­i­tary coup d’état of Sep­tem­ber 12 1980 served as a mir­ror in shap­ing her polit­i­cal out­look. After obtain­ing a diplo­ma from the Elazığ Pro­fes­sion­al Busi­ness School, she expe­ri­enced the full force of fas­cist and racist behav­iours in her town. She has lived in Ger­many since 1997, for polit­i­cal rea­sons. She is the moth­er of four children.