Red Land || سەرزەمینی سوور

On March 16th, 1988, Saddam Hussein’s regime led a chemical attack against the people of Halabja that resulted in over 5,000 deaths Though past trauma often defines the city’s identity, the region also boasts a rich history of pomegranate cultivation, as home to the largest orchards in the region Red Land starts the pomegranate on its journey from the fields to the markets and dinner tables of Kurdistan a potent symbol of Halabja’s natural beauty and the resilience of its people This is Halabja’s pomegranate A city, sunk in blood and flower Hell in appearance, heaven at heart Walks in anguish, filled with grief and sigh Inside, its soul full of flower, its core, a garden Bachtyar Ali [Bilal, bring the teapot.] When pomegranate ripens, we are in the face of late autumn, cold weather, and rain This morning, we needed to make fire because of the cold weather It had rained last night We usually wake up before Morning Prayer because we have to take the products to the store on time We come to the field at 4:30 or 5 in the morning We prepare everything before the workers arrive, and now the tea is ready for them so that we start working The workers come from Barika and Nasir, in Halabjai Taza They have been working with me for about five years [I swear by the Qibla you face, I left my children to be here.] In our daily work, some pluck the pomegranates from the tree, some bring them out in carts, and some classify the pomegranate types here Each worker is skilled in their task, they cannot do someone else’s For example, those who work with me here have being doing this task for about four years

Those who pluck pomegranates cannot classify These two are both pomegranates If you look, this one is not called an apple, and this, a pomegranate This is pomegranate, and this too To have this one is better than this This will be sold for 100 Iraqi Dinar, but this one is for 1000 Iraqi Dinar I am familiar with changes in Kurdistan’s weather, each year Before the weather gets severe, before the coming of a hot season, and before the drying out of the products and the dehydrating of our trees I would love to green Kurdistan, all together If we green our country. If we plant one more tree, we can increase 5 to 10 levels of humidity Trees sprout their flowers on April, but they store nutrients at the end of autumn at the end of December, and the beginning of January, then we feed the roots so that it matures and sprout in spring It depends. If the year is warm, the ripening of the pomegranates will be delayed because the heat prevents the seed from absorbing water If the year is cool, humid or wet, pomegranates will ripe on September or October and can be taken to the stores [Shera bring that crate of pomegranate out.] If the peel has dots, it means that it has ripened We can also determine whether the product is good or bad The pomegranate has to have a thin neck and a bloomed flower to prove that the product is good If not, its peel will be thick, which proves to be not good as this product If you look at this pomegranate, you will see that its peel is thin If a season of heavy rain, sleet, or wind comes, flowers will be filled with water You may be home and unaware, but when you wake up in the morning, all of the pomegranate flowers are on the ground We have different types of pomegranates, Kawa Hanar, Sura Hanar, Sala Xani, Karali, Sazan’s La Rasha, and the sweet ones

The best type of pomegranate is Sala Xani because its tree will not grow very tall, and their lack of thorn is easy for the farmers to work with Many people are familiar with this type of tree because it is very reddish, very wet, and they grow well in Kurdistan’s weather [I am done.] [God, with your permission.] The more it rains, the tastier the pomegranates will get If the pomegranates are not exposed to enough rain, they won’t obtain their pleasant flavor This field is not wet enough for the trees. So, it needs more time to fruit I am pleased. I am always comfortable here I don’t wish to go to the Bazzar. I love coming to this field and work I always work, and I am very happy with that. Very comfortable I feel good. I become delighted when I see the fruits grow, and I can eat them I always pray to be able to eat the fruits of the field in autumn It is good. My mind is at peace. You work at peace in this garden Here, you don’t have problems The air in this field, being surrounded by green, is good [Prayers call] Who loaded the small pomegranates? I left yesterday, sold some and then took a nap. When I woke up, I found that all of them were sold

Even if you are not marketing for the pomegranates, they will be taken to all the cities in Iraq our Arab brothers export the pomegranates to the south If we look at this. There are four to five types of medicine in front of me Each has its own benefit. For example, this membrane, you can eat it alone It is good for stomach and intestines This is only the membrane. Let’s talk about the albedo it has the same substance for keeping stomach healthier Let’s talk about the aril, it has many substances that benefits human health You know that Halabja is known for its pomegranate We have started this small factory to serve the farmers in this region The farmers bring pomegranates daily They sell the good product in the stores, and they bring what remains [Let me know when it is done. Don’t go, we will finish it now.] That man brought 88 Kilos of pomegranates We work with kilos here. First, we weight the pomegranates For each kilo, we charge 100 Iraqi Dinar We juice 15 to 17 tons in one day This device will juice the products. As you see The farmers near Halabja come and load the peel and the seed on their trucks for their herds We own fields of pomegranates here in Halabja as well We bring the pomegranate that are not good for selling, and juice them After that, we filter the juice and then pour it into that big pot This needs to be boiled on an intense fire and you must not stop stirring it until it gets thick and the juice reduction is pomegranate molasses You continue doing this to keep it from overflowing We put the juice on fire from early morning until the afternoon and then it thickens into molasses There is a type of pomegranate, called Salaxani

It is neither acid nor sweet They work best for molasses If you like the molasses more acid, you have to use a different pomegranate type, called Kawa Hanar When the juice thickens, we pour it into these bottles and sell them [Let Kani come] [this festival] has two benefits First, farmers are marketing their products like pomegranate and walnuts and it is also a meeting place There are people coming from Erbil, Baghdad, Kalar, Slemani, Raniya, Qaladize and Chamchamal There are pomegranate in other places, in Slemani, in Qalachwalan, and other places but they don’t taste like Halabja’s pomegranates [Fourth Pomegranate Festival.] – How much do you charge for one kilo? – 1500 IQ I didn’t go home. They brought my lunch, and I ate lunch here I was busy. Some asked for pomegranate, but I was busy meeting people They told me to stand beside my pomegranates. I said, the pomegranates are not a problem These are the types of pomegranates Look, this is one type of pomegranate This is the second type, look This is the third type Look, this is the fourth type Look. The fourth type, and the fifth type Understand? The fifth type of pomegranate, wait This is the sixth type. Understand? This is the seventh type [We need to add one more kilo. Bring four pomegranates. These are beautiful pomegranates Move your hands.] [Good. May God never cut it short.] It depends on the farmer. It is true that weather affects the product but if farmers provide good care, that field will become the center for growing pomegranate – 1500IQ, and this one is for 1000IQ. Same pomegranate – Why two different price? – Because this is this and that is that – Why you ask for the expensive one? – This one has black insides Our job is to produce pomegranate. We do also juice the pomegranate We have customers for the juice We go to the farms together with the family, we pluck the fruit together and bring them back, and even here, my family wanted to be together