Resistance in Makhmour through the eyes of a child
13-year-old Xurbet İlhan immortalizes the resistance of 90-year-old Xanê Benek, who was sitting to protest the Iraqi army in Makhmour refugee camp, by taking her photo. “Xanê Benek is an old woman but I am impressed with her stance.”
Makhmour- The people of Botan, who were forcibly displaced from their village to Iraq due to the oppression and persecution of the Turkish state in 1994, have been subjected to displacement again by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Turkish state. Before settling in the Makhmour refugee camp, they were subjected to the attacks of the Turkish state and the KDP in seven camps. Many people, including women and children have been killed in the attacks. Despite all the attacks, people of all ages have been resisting.
In 1998, they settled in a desert full of snakes and scorpions in the Makhmour district and built a new life there by setting up tents. After living in seven camps, this desert was turned into a living space by the people of Botan. For 30 years, the citizens living in the Makhmour refugee camp have been resisting all attacks and oppression. The Turkish state has been launching airstrikes targeting the citizens of the camp for years and many people have been killed in the airstrikes until now.
On December 27, 2021, the Iraqi army tried to enter the camp and install wire fences around the camp. But the resistance of the people in the camp did not allow them. On May 20, 2023, the Iraqi army besieged the camp to surround the camp with wire fences and concrete blocks. However, the people of all ages resisted them by staging protests and keeping watch at night for three days. 90-year-old Xanê Benek, who has become the symbol of the resistance in the camp after her photo was published on social media, is one of the resisting people.
13-year-old Xurbet İlhan, who was born in this desert, took the photo of Xanê Benek. Xurbet İlhan lost her father in one of the Turkish airstrikes. Despite her age, she took part in the resistance against the Iraqi army on May 20. She took photos of the resisting people and published them on social media to make their voices heard all around the world. One of the photos that she took has been shared by many social media users in a short time. Xurbet İlhan immortalizes the resistance of 90-year-old Xanê Benek in her photo. In the photo, Xanê Benek is sitting on the concrete floor in front of the Iraqi army members who surround the people by holding weapons and shields. This photo has become the symbol of the resistance in the camp.
She resists for the dreams of her children
Xanê Benek is one of the residents of the camp, who have been resisting for 30 years. Her two children died while resisting. Xanê Benek never stops resisting so that she will realize her children’s dreams of freedom. She is at the frontline of the resistance against each attack and siege on the camp.
The resistance of Xanê Benek through the eyes of Xurbet İlhan
Xurbet İlhan immortalizes the resistance of 90-year-old Xanê Benek by taking her photo. Speaking about the moment when the Iraqi army surrounded the camp, Xurbet İlhan said, “All people in the camp took action when they heard that the Iraqi army was surrounding us. They set up tents and began to protest the Iraqi army. I went to the area where there were soldiers. When I saw Xanê Benek, who was sitting in front of the Iraqi army, I wanted to take her photo. Xanê Benek is an old woman but I am impressed with her stance. Despite her age, she was sitting in front of the soldiers, defending her freedom. She did not allow the Iraqi army to surround the camp. I also took a photo of my 7-year-old brother. These photos show that the people of all ages resist in the camp and that they never bow to anyone.”