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Mem and Zin

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Mem and Zin
Gora Mem û Zîn.JPG
Grave of Mem û Zîn in Cizre, 2008.
AuthorAhmad Khani
LanguageKurdish language
GenreHistorical, Romance, Tragedy
Publication date
1692
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback) & Audiobook

Mem and Zin (Kurdish: Mem û Zîn) is a Kurdish classic love story written down in 1692 and is considered to be the épopée of Kurdish literature. It is the most important work of Kurdish writer and poet Ahmad Khani (1651-1707). Mam and Zin is based on a true story laid down from generation to generation through oral tradition. The story has multiple facets, among which are the presence of Sufi discourse and Kurdish nationalism.[1] The Mem-u Zin Mausoleum in Cizre province has become a tourist attraction.[2]

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Synopsis

It tells the tragic story of two young people in love. Mem, a young Kurdish boy of the "Alan" clan and heir to the City of the West,[3] who falls in love with Zin, of the "Botan" clan and the daughter of the governor of Botan. Their union is blocked by Bakr of the Bakran clan, who is Mem’s antagonist throughout the story[3] and is jealous of the two star-crossed lovers. Mem eventually dies during a complicated conspiracy by Bakr.[4] When Zin receives the news, she collapses and dies while mourning the death of Mem at his grave. The immense grief leads to her death and she is buried next to Mem in Cizre. The news of the death of Mem and Zin spreads quickly among the people of Jazira Botan. When Bakr's (Beko) role in the tragedy is revealed, Tacdîn, the best friend of Mem, kills him. Bakr (Beko) will be buried next to Mem and Zin's graves. Because before dying, Mem gives his testimony and says that "It was because of Beko that we could not come together, so I want him to witness our love; if he dies, bury him next to me and Zîn". However, a thorn bush, nourished by the blood of Bakr, grows out of his grave: the roots of malice penetrate deep into the earth among the lovers’ graves, thus separating the two even in death.

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Bohtan

Bohtan

Bohtan was a medieval Kurdish principality in the Ottoman Empire centered on the town of Jazirah ibn 'Omar (modern Cizre also known as Cizîra Botan in southeastern Anatolia. Bohtanis were an ancient and prominent branch of the Kurds that claimed descent from the Islamic General and Sahaba Khalid ibn al-Walid. The official religion of this principality was Yezidism in 14th century, although the rulers eventually converted to Islam, Bohtan still constituted the third major Yezidi enclave after Shekhan and Sinjar until 19th century.

Cizre

Cizre

Cizre is a city in the Cizre District of Şırnak Province in Turkey. It is located on the river Tigris by the Syria–Turkey border and close to the Iraq–Turkey border. Cizre is in the historical region of Upper Mesopotamia and the cultural region of Turkish Kurdistan.

Tragedy

Tragedy

Tragedy is a genre of drama based on human suffering and, mainly, the terrible or sorrowful events that befall a main character. Traditionally, the intention of tragedy is to invoke an accompanying catharsis, or a "pain [that] awakens pleasure", for the audience. While many cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, the term tragedy often refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of Western civilization. That tradition has been multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural identity and historical continuity—"the Greeks and the Elizabethans, in one cultural form; Hellenes and Christians, in a common activity," as Raymond Williams puts it.

Texts

Of all variations, the work of Ahmad Khani is the best known. Roger Lescot, a French Orientalist, added in the 1930s, the Memê Alan narrative with the help of several Kurdish Dengbêj singers from Syria. The forecast is partly historical roots, probably originating in the 14th century and has been handed down by the Dengbêj. She describes, in precise and poetic language, the story of the ill-fated love of Mem and Zin. Against the background of chivalric traditions and social conventions. This version is the version of the folk tale the next.[5] The full version of the legend Memê Alan is now an integral part of the Kurdish literature.

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Roger Lescot

Roger Lescot

Roger Lescot (1914–1975) was a French orientalist and diplomat known for his research of the Kurdish language.

Dengbêj

Dengbêj

Dengbêj is a Kurdish music genre and/or a singer of the music genre Dengbêj. Dengbêjs are singing storytellers. There have been many terms to describe Dengbêjs throughout history, but today Dengbêj is the best known, and also several singing storytellers use Dengbêj as part of their own (artistic) name. Dengbêjs are viewed as a way to transmit the traditions of their Kurdish ancestors in times as it was not possible to publish in Kurdish or about Kurdish history. Since there don't exist many documents about certain Kurdish events, today there exist attempts to analyze them through the songs of the Dengbêjs. They sing about Kurdish geography, history, recent events, but also lullabies and love songs.

Syria

Syria

Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a Western Asian country located in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant. It is a unitary republic that consists of 14 governorates (subdivisions), and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east and southeast, Jordan to the south, and Israel and Lebanon to the southwest. Cyprus lies to the west across the Mediterranean Sea. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including the majority Syrian Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Armenians, Circassians, Albanians, and Greeks. Religious groups include Muslims, Christians, Alawites, Druze, and Yazidis. The capital and largest city of Syria is Damascus. Arabs are the largest ethnic group, and Muslims are the largest religious group.

Filming of the epic

In 1992, on the basis of the book Mem u Zin, Ümit Elçi directed a film with the same name.[6] Since the Kurdish language in Turkey was prohibited from 1980 until the late 1990s or the early 2000s, the Kurdish epic had to be released in Turkish.

In 2002, the Kurdistan satellite channel Kurdistan TV produced a dramatised mini-series of Memi Alan directed by Nasir Hassan.[7]

Literature

  • KOMKAR: Mam (Mamo) and Zin, Kurdish folk epic. In the version by Roger Lescot and L.-Lot Wentzel, Cologne 1995th

Current edition

  • Paris : Weşanên Enstîtuya Kurdî ya Parîsê, 1989 (LCCN 98956769)

Source: "Mem and Zin", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mem_and_Zin.

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References
  1. ^ Martin van Bruinessen, 'Ehmedî Xanî's Mem û Zîn and its role in the emergence of Kurdish nationalism' published in: Vali, Abbas (ed.), Essays on the origins of Kurdish nationalism, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Mazda Publishers, 2003, pp. 40-57.
  2. ^ "The Mausoleums of Mem and Zin are Restored". Bianet. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b "MEM-Ê ALAN – Encyclopaedia Iranica". www.iranicaonline.org. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  4. ^ Strohmeier, Martin (2003). Crucial Images in the Presentation of a Kurdish National Identity: Heroes and Patriots, Traitors and Foes. Brill. p. 32. ISBN 978-90-04-12584-1.
  5. ^ "Titel des Vortrages". www.pen-kurd.org. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  6. ^ Ehmedê Xanî'den: Mem û Zîn, retrieved 2020-05-07
  7. ^ Leezenberg, Michiel. "The Consecration of a Kurdish National Epic". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
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