|Native name||دەشنێ موراد|
|Also known as||Dashni Morad|
1 January 1986 |
Sulaymaniyah , Kurdistan
|Genres||Dance, Kurdish, pop|
Dashni Morad was born on 1 January 1986 in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan. She moved to the Netherlands at the age of eleven, and has acquired Dutch nationality. She lived in a town named 'Didam.' Morad is an association football fan and played as an amateur for many years before leaving it to sing. She also started modelling work at the age of 16.
You can take a child out of a war but never take a war out of a child – Dashni Morad.
During Saddam's regime the Kurdish nation in North Iraq faced genocide after the genocide 'The Anfal Campaign'. One of the Horrors was the Halabja Genocide 16th. of March 1988. About 5000 people died from the gas attack coming from the apple covered smell in the air, in the town of Halabja where her grandparents were living. This horror effected every family and so was Dashni's parents living in fear every day.
“I remember running after the helicopters dropping food from the air, and I said: one day I'm going to catch chocolate” – Dashni Morad.
One of her statements as mentioned here above stayed in the mind of many people, how a little girl created magic for herself while almost starving as a refugee in the mountains. In 1991 over two million of Kurdish people flee into the mountain towards Turkey and Iran escaping Saddam's regime. The cold winter, rough mountains and the soldiers on the border of Iran and Turkey were another form of danger. On the way to the mountains between 1500 and 2000 people died from the cold and hunger every day. Dashni Morad and her family were more lucky because of her dad took the war serious and filled his truck with food and shelter equipment for over a month.
Towards the border of Iran together with hundreds of thousands of other people spread out of the mountain area another chapter began in Dashni Morad's life. A chapter that will always stay with her as mentioned in her interview's.
Seeing people dying, children starving, families burring their children and people running and fighting for bread thrown from a truck is one of the images and memories that is the driving force behind Dashni Morad's humanitarian work. As life carried on and the Kurdish people stayed on the mountain for a long period Dashni became friends with other children. The children became less and less she played with and she asked her dad: “Daddy, Daddy what are they doing with her wrapped in a white sheet?“ Her dad answering, “Nothing my daughter, they are just playing with her”. Later as she grew up, Dashni Morad realized the little child wasn't playing but was dead and their parents were burring her. Dashni Morad's continuity in gathering aid for refugee camps with friends and helping schools with providing school materials came with personal strong statements coming from her past. Dashni Morad in interviews, “No matter how hard we had as a refugee in the mountains I remember I was playing, laughing and smiling with the other children. And I do believe that adults can learn something very valuable from children”.
“No matter how hard, unfair and hopeless life seems to be sometimes, you can always find joy in moments of sadness” - Dashni Morad.
As life continued and the Kurdish nation found safety and went back to their homes Dashni Morad's family lived in fear for what could happen next. In 1994/1995 the Kurdish political parties started a chapter now been seeing as a shameful chapter in Kurdish history. A civil war started between the political parties in North Iraq (now the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, Kurdistan Iraq). Dashni Morad's dad was taken into jail in Sulemany since his opinion supported the other party ruling another city, after a week of torture and almost beaten to death. He was released with the help of political friends of Dashni Morad's family, free again but not free in his mind anymore.
Her dad looked at their house of ten rooms with Moroccan decorated walls and Persian carpets, he said to Dashni's mother “We are going to Europe to seek a better life for our children a better life than ours and Education”. On the way to Europe her dad faced death seven times, walked all the way from Istanbul to Italy and from Italy to Germany hiding in the back of trucks. A man of success, business and a man with a great family now living alone in a special camp in Holland for immigrants now fixing bike's for two Guldens to buy cigarettes from, effected him mentally and effected his family back home being alone without a dad and no financial support in a region where there were almost no economy to be seen. Dashni had to wear for the first time plastic shoes to school and she cried for days because her dad always bought her new shoes with every celebration from new year to the Ramadan celebrations. Dashni looked around and she said to her mom, “Daya gyan (mommy), where are the mountains?”
After two years Dashni, her siblings and her mom reunited with their father in the Netherlands on the 10th of April 1997 at the age of 11. For the first time seeing a plane and not been afraid it would bomb them but it is bringing them their father. From Istanbul to the Netherlands by plain was a very fun and new experience for Dashni and her siblings. She discovered soft toilet paper at the airport and again in the plain together with her big brother they ran back and forth in the plain to gather as much as possible toilet paper. Once arriving in Holland they could see their dad at the arrival hall but there was a glass between them. They had no more patience jumping and screaming to go to their father, once outside all of them crying and hugging their father. Dashni looked around her and she said to her mom “Daya gyan (mommy), where are the mountains”? Dashni was only use to be surrounded by mountains, this was strange an endless flat land. Once home Dashni discovered more toilet paper and she whispered to her big brother; ”oh, they have soft toilet paper here to”.
Discrimination, confusion and saving your childhood
“Escaping war was a miracle, but to survive discrimination and mean children teasing me made me into a fighter for a better life everyday!” – Dasni Morad.
She was living in a two bedroom little house sharing it with her family of six people was very difficult coming from a house with ten rooms. Not speaking the language was a barrier and the very Dutch neighborhood of Geitenkamp in the city of Arnhem was very hard and a daily struggle. “Escaping war was a miracle but to survive discrimination and mean children teasing me made me into a fighter for a better life everyday!” Dashni said to her best friend who managed her music in 2012 for two years.
They received a bigger house in a multicultural neighborhood Broek in the city of Arnhem. Dashni was almost 12 years old still enough time to enjoy her childhood, learning the language, discovering the magic of a happy and safe environment provided her the needed memory every child deserves. Playing outside everyday with friends, smiling, no fear for war nor fearing planes from the sky only joy was there to be seen.
“I am half Dutch and half Kurdish - I was born in Kurdistan and Holland provided me with safety, education and a new home” - Dashni Morad (BBC World).
She learned to read and write at the primary school of “St. Paulus school” in Broek. Her teachers especially 'Juffrouw Pauline' with her beautiful blue eyes and blond hair looked like her Barbie. As mentioned in previous interview's Dashni Morad use to see her school teacher as an angel who opened doors for her through helping her to read and write in Dutch and showing her she can achieve anything she wants. During an interview with BBC World News in 2011 Dashni Morad sad; ' I am half Dutch and half Kurdish' because Holland provided me safety, education and a new home' She was a happy teenager with big dreams, no matter where she came from and the challenges ahead of her she was a dreamer.
Moving to the little village of “Didam” 15 minutes from the city of Arnhem an new chapter began. Her parents made this decision with the hope their children will be provided with a bigger house and better school with more Dutch children where they can learn the language better. Sacrifices after sacrifice for Dashni's parents was a must to create a better life for their children.
“I was always a very shy and quiet little girl at school, daydreaming in class, children teasing because I was different” - Dashni Morad.
Again facing discrimination and been teased at school was not easy on Dashni Morad but as time passed by the children at school got to know her. They became friends, dashni told them about her life back home and about war. Going to high school was another struggle for Dashni Morad. At the 'Liemers College' in the village of Didam where she spent two years from 1999 to 2000. She was placed in the lowest class meant for children with low IQ's and with family problems. She worked very hard and had always the highest grade in the class, she jumped two levels higher, a chance, a motivation that set her goals higher in life. She took two years extra high school and ended up graduating with the diploma of HAVO. A high level that could make her enter the academic school.
Playing soccer, struggling between two cultures and dream to become a pop star
“To achieve freedom and to become a free soul you need to win the battle of freedom and independence at home as a Middle Eastern woman” - Dashni Morad.
Dashni Morad was not allowed to go out with friends in the weekends and her Kurdish and Middle Eastern culture took her away from playing soccer and dancing in a street dance group. She was very good in playing soccer and after two years stopping with her passion created a gap between her and her Kurdish culture. She wanted to be as Dutch as possible since the Dutch culture was providing her the freedom of being a girl. Coming home every day she had to leave her Dutch side outside the door and become a very Kurdish girl back home. Facing a lot of fights at home she did not give up on achieving independence and respect from her parents to be able to work in the weekends and to follow her passion and dreams. As mentioned in a Kurdish interview Dashni explains to the young girls of the magazine; 'To achieve freedom and to become a free soul you need to win the battle of freedom and independence at home first as a Middle Eastern Women.
Working hard in the weekends in stores and restaurants to provide herself with money for clothing, going out with friends and even helping out her family with earning money. She was not allowed to pursue her dreams in Dutch Media until she discovered a Kurdish Channel where she was accepted and became the first girl who broke the walls as a TV presenter with a show of millions of Kurdish viewers worldwide (Be Control 2005-2007 at the age of 19)
She finally connected with her roots again in a small studio based in a German village on the border of Holland. Leaving her childhood behind and entering the stage of a young girl in a male dominant Kurdish society and Media is the next Chapter that formed Dashni into the women today that is the driving force for raising her voice as a woman for women.
Morad first came to prominence as the host of the Kurdistan TV television program Be Control (English: No Control) when she was 19. She also had her own program, The Dashni Show, a talk show where she spoke openly about issues of concern for women, including romantic relationships, a subject that remains taboo in Kurdish society. And then she returned to Kurdistan TV, presented and supervised a new program named (shepolekany zhian) English:(wave of life), the program talked about the social subject in Kurdistan and a lot of entertainment subject.
Dashni Morad released her debut album, Hela Hopa, in August 2009. She is currently working on her second album which will be available on 7 July 2010. Her act, with sexually suggestive dance moves, has roused controversy amongst both conservative Muslims and women rights campaigners.
Her song "Sike Wawe" was recorded in Lebanon by music video director Fadi Haddad in March 2010. The clip has two versions, one in Kurdish and the other in Arabic and made her a crossover Kurdish artist in the Arab World, where her songs are put regularly on Arabic music channels.
Her second album, Hom Sike Wawe, was released in July 2010 to very little promotion. It was boycotted by most of the media, but she was able to convince respected Arabic music channel ROTANA to play "Shika Wawa". Murad also attracted attention in 2010 when she helped an Ethiopian housemaid become a singer.
Firista Mihreban (Peaceful Angel), Murad's third album, was produced by VIN TV and was released in 2011.
After two years of success Dashni returned to Kurdistani Iraq for the first time in twelve years.
Morad is mentioned in the in 2008 German book Der Fluch des langen Krieges: Wie Osama bin Laden den Westen zu besiegen droht by Michael Clasen (ISBN 978-3937989464).
- Hela Hupa (2009)
- Hom Sike Wawe (2010)
- Firista Mihreban
Dashni Morad founded "Green Kids" in 2012 and this is the first charity organization founded by an artist from the region of Kurdistan Iraq. The only organization focused on children's education hand in hand with loving the green world of environment. It all started in the spring of 2012 when Dashni was invited by the children of a primary school run by a Swedish Humanitarian organization in a small town called Ranya. Dashni was very flattered but the costumes of her culture insisted her to visit with a gift that meant something special. Further discussions and talks with friends led her to the idea of funding the organization "Green Kids".
Bringing the children books on how to love animals and educate about healthy and green environment. Another important impact Dashni wanted to make by accepting the invitation is to influence the children to start to read more books at home as well. It is believed that children who read books will know 1000 words more than other children who don't read outside school. Books that tell stories that moves, inspires and motivates the children to dream big and mean something important to their surroundings and self empowering.
The journey started when Dashni went to a special publisher house of books run by a writer, a gentleman who grew up in Sweden. There were high quality books written in two languages English and Kurdish. A very special book with different stories written in Kurdish and English was written by a ten-year-old Kurdish girl the daughter of the writer. A book so special that Dashni bought over 500 copies of it. She kept buying this book until they ran out of books.
Dashni brought every class room plants as a thank you for inviting her. They promised her to give the plant a name and water it every week. The moment of her arrival she was blown away by the amount of love the children gave her once she entered the class rooms. Simple humble school surrounded by mountains build very simple with cement gave Dashni a priceless feeling of hope and freedom for the next generation. She felt that these children had more freedom then she was use to at school back in time in Kurdistan. The NGO was offering these children a chance of happiness and space to grow as an individual. This was the easiest choice for Dashni to continue with visiting schools as more than the popstar, more as the big sister who helps with school materials, books, a green garden and it grew even into delivering solar heating shower systems to wash their hands and coloring the whole school in fun colors with help of the children.
Every media covered this story and this helped Dashni to raise very easily funds to get started as soon as possible. From 2012 till 2015 Dashni has visited over 11 poor schools and made thousands of children happy and distributed over 20,000 books written by local authors. It helped writers, gardeners who were hired for a year per school, local stores where she bought school materials. A project within a circle that it's benefits are infinity to a society and it's impact has spread into other celebrities and public personalities. Dashni is working on raising money and build an international school for poor children where they can learn English, Arabic, French, Spanish and off course the Kurdish language, with an international system. Where children don't have to fear of playing, speaking and boys and girls can play and share together. This concept only exists only for rich children so far. While most of the poor area's it's children are being brain washed by radical groups. To step into a hopefully global international fair and free Kurdistan, we need to educate our children the right way with freedom and love.
- Be Control - Kurdistan TV
- The Dashni Show - Korek TV
- Şepollekanî jyan - Kurdistan TV
- Ahmad, Asso (17 October 2009). "IRAQ: Kurdistan's 'Shakira' causes shock waves in her homeland". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- ""Kurdish Shakira" shakes customs". eKurd. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Dashni Murad shakes conservative Kurdistan". Dawn.com. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- "Shakira school of feminism shakes up Kurdistan". The Daily Star. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- Salihi, Mariwan Faydullah (May 2010). "Dashni Murad Makes Kurdish Music History". Kurd Net. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- "Ethiopian maid trades cleaning for singing in Iraq". Al Arabiya News. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2012.