After having lived in the Netherlands for over 20 years my parents, Gulzar and Shwan, decided to move back to Kurdistan. Escaping the Iraqi regime as refugees in the early 90s, Iraqi Kurdistan has recently developed into a regional safe-haven. However, with current tensions around the threat of the Islamic State (IS), the social and political landscape is changing drastically. In Haraka Baraka, I follow my parents’ return to their homeland whilst addressing notions of belonging, transnationalism, temporality and (re)imagining future horizons.
Exploring diaspora and migration dynamics, this film project is as much about the reshaping of normative frameworks as it is about my parents’ relationship, which I approach in a self-reflexive manner. As the presence of the anthropologist and a camera are a catalyst in altering people’s self awareness when filming in new contexts, film can attempt to show in visual language the continual state of self-becoming. In showing Gulzar and Shwan in this process, by juxtaposing old material with new senses of self-perception, Haraka Baraka aims to show an insight into their lives, and the frictions that play out as they return back to Iraqi Kurdistan. More importantly, it shows the intricate ways in which imagined futures are constructed through language and inform the (re) negotiation of social life upon return.
A film by Lana Askari. Completed as a final project for the MA in Visual Anthropology, Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, University of Manchester.