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Secondary Trauma by Cklara Moradian

Secondary Trauma

by Cklara Moradian

Cklara Moradian, MSW

Cklara Moradian, MSW

Secondary Trauma

Kurdish babies born in refugee camps are given names like Sangar (barricade), Awara (displaced), Revin (escape), Zindan (prisoner), Ranjbar (someone who suffers), Firmesk (tears), Bezar (spiteful), Xabat (fight), Tola (revenge), Hawar (wailing) Rizgar (rescued), Snoor (border), Lana (home).

They are victims of geography, survivors of a map.

They grow to sow their lips in protest and they carve symbols into their skin, coordinates of their birthplace as if to say “when you find me, send me home.”

Mothers spend hours lulling their restless children to sleep, singing lullabies that tell of a journey filled with rage. They do not migrate through the process of abscission. They are plucked in violence, deported.

What pains are passed on in these names? What wisdom?

It’s called secondary trauma, as if the seconds it takes to cut the umbilical cord from my mother could insulate me from the torture inflicted on her bones by the state, by displacement, by despair.

As if the lines that separate me from you is drawn in red, or in yellow tape, marking a departure clear enough for me to really feel where you end and I begin. Tell me, where do you end and I begin?

I didn’t have to be there to see my uncles hanged for speaking their mother tongue to taste the bitter end of my roots flicker as I try to speak my language, the fluency of which escapes me now.
I didn’t have to be there to know of what you went through during forced confessions, Father. I didn’t have to hear the wailing of my imprisoned kin to now be startled awake by their cries.

Visions of my ancestors forced from the mountains into the desert with blistering feet keep me awake. I walk barefoot on tiptoes as if my feet are blistered. Tell me, where do you end and I begin?

What is secondary about this intergenerational heirloom, passed down to me without my consent? What massacres happened in this crossing from one continent to the other? What comes first? Tell me, where do you end and I begin?

They say I have not differentiated myself enough (not in my identity formation). The subtleties of my individuality have become murky in the passage of loss from one generation to the other.

I close my eyelids to find refuge but my memory is fact. It is in my DNA, in epigenetic shapeshifting. The past is present.
What is secondary about waking every day to the news of another genocide, another friend dead, another aunt, sister enslaved? Another exodus? What is secondary about ritual mourning? Every morning! When can we heal? When can we fully grieve when it is never-ending? Tell me, where do you end and I begin?

I once read that pain flows from one family member to the next until someone is ready to feel it. I feel it. I feel it in my flesh, in the marrow of my bones, in my gut. It is like pins right under my fingernails, accumulating in somatic bruises on my thighs. And it shows when I reach out to you and say “I bear witness.” Tell me, where do you end and I begin?

At night, I twist and turn into the fetal position, my belly sounding off my people’s history. I carry it in my posture, the way I am weight down by sorrows I have no names for. I hold it in my voice when it vibrates with fear. I am anchored to the agony of exile. It is all-consuming. It is water. It is in the heaviness of the air that does not fully fill my lungs. It is in the space where I sit with all that has been done to you, in all the places where your jawlines were broken by armed men in uniform Father, beaten to shatters until you could not eat for days.

I remember so you can go on forgetting because you need to forget. I remember so you can go on forgetting.

Every time I look in the mirror, the outline of your silhouette is reflecting back your pain. Tell me, where do you end and I begin?

What is secondary about this pain? To me, it has been an offering. It has been a profound loss, wrapped in every conversation, gifted to me in passing. That “all things are lost” is imparted in disorganized attachment, in denial, melancholia, in the sense of betrayal, in bedtime stories of persecution.

My mother, pregnant and imprisoned at 18, was beaten black and blue until she miscarried. I grew up knowing I was not her first child. Grief has come in abundance. Safety was scarce. Tell me, where do you end and I begin?

Where is the line between lived experience and being raised with the knowledge of all that has been lost? Tell me, what is loss?

In the journey of displacement, I have lost language, I have lost language (s). I have lost birth certificates, passports, a state. I have lost the promise of return to a land forever stolen from me. I have lost count of my losses. Tell me, where do you end and I begin?

The coordinates of my birthplace is Latitude 36°14′ 47″N Longitude 46° 15′ 59″ E. I am another refugee child with a mispronounced name. When I die, send me home!

 

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Cklara Moradian, MSW

Cklara Moradian, MSW

Cklara Moradian, MSW; is a diaspora Kurd, a former refugee from Eastern Kurdistan/Iran, and a spoken word poet. Her work is deeply steeped in her life experiences as a survivor.
She uses poetry and creative non-fiction as a response to the current and past atrocities/genocide her community has endured. Her work attempts to bear witness, tell stories of love and survivorship in the face of hardship and pain
Cklara is also a published spoken word poet who has performed at national and international human rights conferences, such as Amnesty International’s annual gathering, UNWomen events, university campuses, such as Cal State LA, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, CalArts, and UCLA, as well as at national and international political rallies and literary events.
Cklara is a Social Worker, who is helping to implement the youth-centered strength-based interventions in clinical and policy/research arenas. Cklara’s work is rooted in anti-oppressive liberatory theory and practice. She hopes to continue to serve multiply-marginalized communities, center disenfranchised voices, and elevate the strengths and resiliency of people who have and continue to deal with personal and intergenerational trauma. Her journey of healing from mental and physical illness informs her work with diaspora communities. Prior to Social Work, for over ten years, Cklara was involved in social justice advocacy.

An Interview with Roya Hakakian by Cklara Moradian

An Interview with Roya Hakakian by Cklara Moradian

By Cklara Moradian

February, 19, 2012

Ms. Hakakian’s most recent book is titled Assassins of the Turquoise Palace, published through Grove/Atlantic  in 2011. This book is the non-fiction account of the 1992 Mykonos restaurant assassinations in Berlin. Four Kurdish and Iranian opposition leaders were brutally assassinated as part of a terror campaign carried out by the Islamic Republic of Iran to silence political dissidents in diaspora. The assassinations led to the Mykonos trial, which is considered one of the most significant international court cases in European judicial history. The German court implicated the highest officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran as responsible for ordering the assassinations which led to a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. Rather than writing a political book, Ms. Hakakian chronicles the aftermath of the assassinations through the lens of those closest to the case.

Please Watch the interview with Ms. Hakakian,
For more information: visit vokradio.com
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A Book Review; Assassins of the Turquoise Palace

  A Book Review; Assassins of the Turquoise Palace

By: Cklara Moradian

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February 9, 2012

Ms. Roya Hakakian is one of those authors whose work leaves a lasting impression on her readers. Her sensitivity to the complexities of life, her poetic writing style, and impeccable investigative journalism makes her work unforgettable.  Few authors are able to bring atrocities to light without wallowing in the darkness. She gives us hope while asking us to face the unpleasant realities of our world.

 Ms. Hakakian’s most recent book is titled Assassins of the Turquoise Palace, published through Grove/Atlantic in 2011. This book is the non-fiction account of assassins_of_the_turquoise_palace.jpgthe 1992 Mykonos restaurant assassinations in Berlin. Four Kurdish and Iranian opposition leaders were brutally assassinated as part of a terror campaign carried out by the Islamic Republic of Iran to silence political dissidents in diasporas. The assassinations led to the Mykonos trial, which is considered one of the most significant international court cases in European judicial history. The German court implicated the highest officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran as responsible for ordering the assassinations which led to a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. Rather than writing a political book, Ms. Hakakian chronicles the aftermath of the assassinations through the lens of those closest to the case.

The story will take us through a roller-coaster, an A through Z of emotions, while simultaneously keeping us on edge with sharp analysis, poignant observations, and fascinating details. This is investigative journalism at its best!

Is this book about International politics, assassinations, and court proceedings? Yes. But it’s so much more than that. It is an account of a tragedy and the complicated aftermath. But most importantly, it’s about human resilience. It’s a story about the triumph of justice over horrendous acts of violence. Extrajudicial assassinations are rarely prosecuted and impunity reigns these terrains. This story is one of those bright spots in history brought to life by an authentic voice.

The narrator has no other agenda than to paint a vivid picture of the events and the various realities embodied by those closely involved.

The perpetrators’ objective was to silence dissidents through a campaign of fear, intimidation, and terror. Through this account, Ms. Hakakian has been able to give voice to those silenced and hope to the survivors.

One can imagine that many expatriates feel comforted to see the history of their struggles so vividly recorded. At the same time Ms. Hakakian fully appreciates the seriousness of bearing witness. She gracefully but responsibly recounts intimate details of those affected without compromising the truth.

Ms. Hakakian writes in a beautiful and compassionate tone but it is not a sentimental or romantic one. She does not take the easy way out. Readers will be amazed by her ability to present so much information without butchering the complexity of the situation.

There is never a dull moment, never an irrelevant detail, or trite dialogue. Characters are not reduced to one dimensional caricatures or flat stereotypes. Most of our lives we are swimming in the grey but often non-fiction books of this kind reduce life down to the either/or, the black/whites, the good/bads etc. She does not insult the intelligence of her readers by spelling out a list of super villains or altruistic heroes. Instead she allows us to make up our own minds. It speaks to her skill as a journalist and a writer that one feels personally invested in the outcome of events so far removed from our day to day lives.

Readers who know little to nothing about Iran or international affairs should NOT be afraid to read this book. Ms. Hakakian writes with eloquent clarity. We are able to peek into the internal states of the characters and visualize the physical locations of the events without becoming disoriented. By defining each new term, providing a time-line of events, and a comprehensive character list, readers are equipped to navigate the foreign lands, names, and subjects.

That said, even the self-proclaimed Iran experts will be in awe. The author must have poured months and even years into researching this book. She has referenced archives, interviews, magazine articles, film footage, witness testimonies, and official court documents. She has unearthed and exposed secrets. It’s a remarkable accomplishment and that is why the reader cannot question her authority on the subject.

Ultimately this is also an exciting thriller. The book moves as if already on film; Images are sharp, descriptive, imaginative, and colorful.

More by Cklara Moradian:
6. Turkey’s Crimes
(English/Politic) …;Not in our name and never again under our watch.” Friday 12,30,2011   By: Cklara Moradian Turkish war planes bombard civilians near the village of Uludere in the…
7. Wall Street and my revolutionary friends
(English/Articles) …nbsp; Wall Street and my revolutionary friends       By : Cklara Moradian 10/14/2011    Please watch the Video and if in…
8. Southern California Kurdish Community Protests Turkey
(English/News) Southern California Kurdish Community Protests Turkey   August 31st, 2011 By: Cklara Moradian As part of two weeks of protests across the globe, the Kurdish-American commu
9. Congressman Brad Sherman met Kurdish- American community leader &voting member of the 27th district
(English/News) During a town hall meeting: Congressman Brad Sherman met A Kurdish- American community leader and voting member of the 27th district   Sunday August 28, 2011  vok
10. انتخاب ملکه شایسته سال ٢٠١١میس اکساتی لیدی”در آمریکا وحضور خانم ثریا فلاح بعنوان ملکه شایسته کردستان
(فارسی/فرهنگ وهنر) انتخاب ملکه شایسته سال ٢٠١١ میس اکساتی لیدی” در آمریکا و حضور خانم ثریا فلاح به عنوان ملکه شایسته کردستان
11. The first Ms. Kurdistan Soraya Fallah introduces Kurdish beauty, fashion, and history to Hollywood!
(English/Culture &Art) …Fallah introduces Kurdish beauty, fashion, and history to Hollywood! May 31, 2011 By Cklara Moradian Exclusive:vokradio: Ms. Soraya Fallah is a gorgeous, resilient,…
13. Meeting with US Congressman Brad Sherman about Zainab Jallalian and Human Rights in Iran
(English/News) …s effort to raise our outcry against Ms. Zeinab Jalalian’s execution sentence, Mr. Azad Moradian and Cklara Moradian delivered a letter to US Congressman Brad Sherman of San Fernando Valley…
16. Cklara Moradian: To Ahmadinejad and other IRI prison gaurds
(English/Podcast and video)  Cklara Moradian: To Ahmadinejad and other IRI prison gaurds   As a part of Caravans for Peace and Freedom in Iran to New York at UN plaza on WED 23 SEPT 2009, I recorded Cklar
17. Cklara Moradian’s performance at UCLA 09, 27, 2009
(English/Podcast and video) Cklara Moradian’s performance at UCLA 09, 27, 2009 The 21st Anniversary of the massacre of political prisoners of Iran The Society for Human Rights in Iran -Southern California he
18. کلارا مورادیان ده‌رباره‌ی خۆپـیشـاندانه‌کانی دژی ئه‌حمه‌دی‌نه‌ژاد له‌ نیویۆرک ده‌دوێت
(کوردی/هـه‌واڵ) کلارا مورادیان ده‌رباره‌ی خۆپـیشـاندانه‌کانی دژی ئه‌حمه‌دی‌نه‌ژاد له‌ نیویۆر�
19. مصاحبه تلويزيون بين المللي واشنگتن با خانم ثريا فلاح :”WIN TV”
(فارسی/پادكاست صدا و ویدئو)  مصاحبه صميمانه راد بهارلو از تلويزيون بين المللي واشنگتن  با خانم ثريا فلاح :”WIN TV” خانم ثریا فل�
21. Domestic Violence against Single and Married Women in Iranian Society
(English/Psychology) … California August 2009   By : Azad Moradian azad@vokradio.com Editor: Cklara Moradian     Abstract The following paper, is an overvie…
22. Kurdish mothers as artists and peaceful revolutionaries against genocide
(English/Women) …your brother can claim your lost share of our fate (Peot: Rahim Sharafkandi (Hajar), translated by: Cklara Moradian Aside from words of affection, this lullaby is full of sorrow about the …
23. World’s Women For Life is Launching its First Field Project to Promote Life and Preemptive Peace
(English/Women) …Iraq; and how you can get involved, contribute, or fund current or future projects. Contact Person: Cklara Moradian Email: info@wwfl.org Tel: 408-421-9444 Fax: 818-700-0933 Website: www….
24. These Hands By: Cklara Moradian July 25th UCLA Global Day of Action for Iran
(English/Women) These Hands By: Cklara Moradian July 25th, 2009 UCLA Global Day of Action for Iran
25. World’s Women For Life is Launching its First Field Project to Promote Life and Preemptive Peace
(English/Women) …and how you can get involved, contribute, or fund current or future projects. Contact Person: Cklara Moradian Email: info@wwfl.org Tel: 408-421-9444 Fax: 8…
27. Human Development and the concept of attachment
(English/Psychology) …Development and the concept of attachment    Cklara Moradian Azad Moradian   The theme of attachment is insepa…
29. KAYOs 3rd Annual Conference for the Kurdish Youth inspires many and means better future
(English/News) …th, gave a speech that inspired many of the attendees. The next speaker – Kurdish youth and activist, Ms. Cklara Moradian, who has written a number of artistic and expressive pieces under the title &q…
30. The Day the Sun Never Rose
(English/Politic) …8 Halabja Massacre     The Day the Sun Never Rose   by Cklara Moradian   March 18, 2005 I awoke far before the sun rays coul…
31. KPFK Interview on Campaign for One Million Signatures
(English/Radio Program) …ng Changes to Discriminatory Laws” in Iran and a veteran of the human rights movement in Iran joined Cklara Moradian, a new member of Campaign, a Kurdish human right’s activist and spoken wor…
32. Soraya Fallah, Choman Hardi and Cklara Moradian at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
(English/News) …e and heritage through lullabies as sung by Kurdish mothers to their children in time of conflict , and Cklara Moradian, A Tortured Cliché, A Fragmented Identity Overview Panel – …
34. A letter to Amnesty International regarding Negin Shikh_o_Eslami
(English/News) …ns of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the regime’s authorities. Thank you, Cklara Moradian PR- Kurdish American Committee for Democracy in Iran.KNCNA   …
35. I Ran Into Myself in the Street and Asked
(English/Human Rights and Democracy) …th 2008 at UCLA for the 20th Anniversary of the 1988 Political Prisoners Massacre in Iran. By Cklara Moradian exclusive for vokradio.com  I Ran Into Myself in the Street and Ask…
36. Psychology; A Clinical Assessment of Annie Wilkes from the movie ” Misery”
(English/Psychology) …irected by: Rob Reiner Writing credits (WGA) Stephen King (novel) William Goldman (screenplay Cklara Moradian In the movie Misery a famous romance novelist Paul Sheldon is rescued fr…
37. Who cares?
(English/Psychology) Who cares I am angry! At me, the girl who stares back at me in the mirror by Cklara Moradian 03-Jan-2008 “I am angry!” I typed in a search bar and I found numerous article
39. Crime and Punishment
(English/Articles) Crime and Punishment; By : Cklara Moradian   Within my mother’s womb I swam, unaware of whom I was. Within the protection of her safety nest I grew, unaware of the world
40. My dear Kurdish community
(English/Human Rights and Democracy) My dear Kurdish community,   By Cklara Moradian   cklaramoradian@yahoo.com   Friday May 14th 2010   With all due respect, I am allowing mys

Crime and Punishment; I am a Kurd and not a victim

Crime and Punishment;

By : Cklara Moradian
cklara_moradian_07.jpg     Within my mother’s womb I swam, unaware of whom I was. Within the protection of her safety nest I grew, unaware of the world I was yet to be born to. Unaware of the scarlet letter I was already bearing upon my chest, unaware of the mark that the world had already stamped upon my forehead, the symbol, the label that was being stitched upon my skin, the labels that my fathers before me had carried upon their backbones, the onus, the burden that my mothers in the snowy mountains had carried upon their shoulders.
Before I ever set eyes upon the illuminating darkness of today and tomorrow and all the days that passes me by, this world had already given me my name, and that identity brought a sentence that I had already been condemned to. I was given birth, and was embraced within thousands of years of history, culture, heritage and a sweet mother tongue, but the world knew me as inferior, looked down upon me, taking even the basic rights of the human body.
I lived in a heroic reverie, grew, and was entangled in a legacy left behind by the people who bore my name, by the legacy of the brave, and the selfless who suffered for the land they walked upon and were tortured for the air they breathed, were stoned and hanged for the purity of the blood that ran through their veins. I walked, and slept to the lullabies of the mothers who ran through the mine fields and sang for the children who would never again awaken. I spoke, and hummed a melody to the rhythm of the bombshells that bombarded the backyard of my grandfather’s apple garden.
I learned, and smelled through the blind the intoxicated air that they breathed one lethal silent afternoon in March. I watched, and saw through the deaf the bloodshed they cleaned after that clod winter night in January. I was driven away, all had to be left behind and nostalgia, exile and the meaning of the electric wires of the boarders were soon clearly felt. What is it about loneliness that makes us so detached and small?
I feel the anger within me rise, the anger of generations of suppressed people, the anger of not having the right to say who I am, be who I am, show the pride of my history, my heritage, my identity, my dignity, have a country, a home. What is it about anger that makes us so passionate and yet so helpless? What is it about freedom that we humans so desperately long for, need, desire, want, fight for, and die for? Why will they not set us free? I need an answer! Yet no one is willing to say a word.
Who am I in a stranger’s land? Who am I but a wanderer that yearns for the smell of the soil that carries my roots? Who am I, kinem, men kem in the land where the name of my people are forgotten under the shadow of tragedy, of misery? Who am I in the stranger’s eyes when in the weary eyes of my own land I am just another agonizing memory of all the injustices and all the unfairness? What is it about cruelty that is so hard to grasp? A single silent moment and I realize that through and through from the moment I began to form my existence I have always been what the world has tried to destroy, dissect and deform, tear apart and burn, extinguish the flame of life through genocide after genocide, through mass graves of the children who were buried alive, and yet I still stand, I still cry out and shout, I still try to reflect the spirit of the many who marched before me and were silenced by cold inhumane metallic bullets of animosity.
A single silent moment and I sigh, I am a Kurd and if that is my crime then never before have I been so proud to announce myself as a criminal and if that is my punishment then never before have I been so willing to pay for this condemned crime. Self pity has never cured or healed anyone’s sickness, illness, madness, pain.
I am a Kurd and not a victim…perhaps the time of redemption has come
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