Poetry - The Penelopes of my Homeland

Choman Hardi
Choman Hardi
• Born in southern Kurdistan but forced to flee with her family when she
was a young girl, Choman settled in the UK in 1993.
• She was born in 1974
• Had her first book published when she was in university.
• She has a B.A & M.A & Ph.d from the University of Oxford, Kent, Uppsala
and University College of London.
The Penelopes of my Homeland
CHOMAN HARDI: “Old myths get retold and reinterpreted and new myths
are also created. This is particularly true if you cannot say what you want
because of censorship and living under dictatorship. But I also believe that
many of those ancient myths are still applicable to us today. We are still
living at times where men go to war and women wait for them to return.
Which is what Penelope did. The difference between Penelope and the
waiting women of my homeland, whom I have compared with her, is that
their waiting is futile. Their husbands, unlike Odysseus, will never return.
That poem is about the widows of Anfal. There are an estimated number of
50,000 widows from the Anfal campaign in 1988 when thousands of Kurdish
villages were destroyed and over a 100,000 villagers ended up in mass
Living in the UK I realised that there’s hardly any awareness of the problems
facing the Kurds: I still meet people who ask me ‘What’s the difference
between Kurdish and Arabic?’ or ‘Why can’t you just settle down in Iraq?
What’s your problem?’ That sort of thing. So I have felt responsible that I was
in a position to actually write about these things and raise awareness of
Thank You for engaging in our discussion and
analysis of the poem and we hope you enjoyed
working with us and hopefully, you understand
the poem better now.
Nour Borghol & Amber Codron

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