Brief aan mijn Papa

Ibrahim Selman

More than forty years after his father was killed, Kurdish writer and theatre maker Ibrahim Selman writes him a letter. Telling his father about his life and the struggles of the Kurdish people, and at the same time hoping to find traces of his father that may be lost forever.

‘We think we long for certain places’, Ibrahim Selman says walking around the surroundings of his childhood in Kurdistan. ‘But in fact, we long for a certain time.’ In March 1975, when the Kurdish resistance is broken down, Ibrahim immediately goes back to Kurdistan. When he arrives, he finds out that his father had died in December 1974 while fighting for the Kurdish resistance. Ibrahim didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.

Now he goes back to where he grew up, hoping to find his father’s grave and at the same time reading a loving letter to him. Ibrahim shows his father around the places they used to know, telling him how the old orchard is still maintained, ‘to keep your name alive’. He shows him his life in Amsterdam, where he came to live in 1981 and ‘had to learn everything all over like a child’. And he talks about the present state of the Kurdish people: ‘The dream of an independent Kurdistan has become a nightmare’, he says. ‘But the Kurds never lose hope.’


Ibrahim Selman
Country of production
Netherlands, The, Kurdistan
75 minutes
Spoken language
Dutch, Kurdish