Less than a week ago I shook hands with this wonderful man and heval, an Albanian man born in Turkey. I am deeply saddened to hear that he was martyred two days ago following the attacks by ISIS fighting barbarism and an evil that I cannot articulate into words. He made such an impression on me that I made notes hurriedly on my phone as we left the square.
What I will forever remember is his piercingly vivid blue eyes through which the spirit of his soul and the immense kindness in his heart shone through. It is so fitting that he is pictured here holding a bouquet of flowers, because when we visited him in Kobanê he was running a small workshop, by the Qada Azadi (freedom square) where he helped turn unexploded bombs and artillery shells into rainbow colored flower pots (yes, he was responsible for the infamous shells from Kobanê turned into flower pots). He was tall, lanky and his piercing and mesmerizing eyes, to which I made a strong note of, shone even more brightly in his sun weathered face, framed by a frayed sun hat. But he radiated enthusiasm, warmth and an almost child like innocence as he excitedly welcomed us into his workshop. It was so very clear that he loved flowers and nature as evident by his beautiful and lovingly tended garden.
This was the beauty of Kobanê. It brought the most wonderful, fierce and gentle spirits across the world into a small piece of land besieged by barbarism and inhumanity.
It was his spirit, and the spirit of others like him, who were the true flowers of Kobanê.
RIP brave warrior.