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The 8th Saladin Days held in Oslo

Andreas Delsett

The 8th Saladin Days, held April 12-16 in Oslo, were among the most popular in the series of Saladin Days, judging by the audience numbers. More than 1400 people visited the House of Literature over the five days of events.

This year's Saladin Days, entitled The Kurds: A People Without a Land?, was supposed to shed light on the internationally under communicated situation of the Kurds, but gained relevance due to the central role of the Kurds in the fight against ISIS, as well as the current political developments in Turkey and the Iraq. These issues were all touched upon during the Saladin Days, with lines drawn to the histories of the Kurdish people in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, to Kurdish language and literature, and to the identities of the Kurds living in the areas making up Kurdistan, as well as the many diasporic Kurds.

Academic Dilar Dirik and writer Mustafa Can discussing  Badass Kurdish Women  with moderator Hannah Helseth.

Academic Dilar Dirik and writer Mustafa Can discussing Badass Kurdish Women with moderator Hannah Helseth.

Among the highlights were the Saladin Lecture by chairman of the Kurdish coalition party HDP Selahattin Demirtas, offering insight into the current political situation in Turkey, as well as historical and contemporary investigations of the Kurdish situation and identity by some of the most central academics studying Kurdish issues: historians Abbas Vali and Seda Altug, both from the Bogazici University in Istanbul, and political scientist Gareth Stansfield from the University of Exeter. Academic Dilar Dirik and writer Mustafa Can both contributed important perspectives on the identities and roles of Kurdish women in the ongoing war in Syria, Dirik from her field work in Rojava and Can from his visits to Kobane and his recent stage play, War Has a Female Face. The concluding concert, a musical meeting between Sami artist Mari Boine and Kurdish musician Ferhat Tunc, gave the audience a unique musical experience, and illuminated the power of music in the struggle for minority rights.