Buhar, the Spring Magazine

15 February 2014

Spring Magazine was the name chosen by a group of young Syrians for the first independent magazine published in print both in Arabic and Kurdish. It was launched in the town of al-Maabadah (Girkê Legê in Kurdish), a city of Kurdish majority in the northern governorate of al-Hasakah.

Spring (“Buhar” in Kurdish), has a strong symbolism for Kurdish people. During this season, the Newroz festival takes place, with millions of people throughout the world taking to the streets to celebrate the good weather. Crucial events in recent Kurdish history also took place in the spring, from the uprising against the Assad regime in 2004 to the Halabja chemical attack during the closing days of the Iran-Iraq war, in March 1988.

It is also in spring that the 2011 Syrian uprising began. Before protests spread throughout the country in March that year, small demonstrations were already taking place in mainly Kurdish northeastern towns. Alienation of the Kurdish population, including neglection of their language, has been a constant feature in the history of the Assad regime, which contributed to the awareness that emerged in the form of massive protests to demand basic rights. 

“We wanted the name to be meaningful for Syrians, both of Kurdish and Arab backgrounds,” one of the founders of the Spring Magazine said in an interview with Syria Untold. “Our aim is to try to contest partisan media and discourses by creating an outlet that the average citizen can relate to, and promote the coexistence between Syrians, which the regime has tried to destroy.”

The magazine covers a wide array of issues, from social and political to childhood, culture, health, technology, students and education, art and creativity, in addition to special investigations and interviews with Syrian groups and organizations.

“Buhar” also sheds light on aspects of the Kurdish identity, tradition and struggle that were consistently marginalized by the Syrian regime, and remain unknown by the majority of the population.

The first number was released on March 6, 2013, and distributed in the towns of al-Maabadah, al-Malikiyah (Dêrika Hemko, in Kurdish), and al-Jawadiyah (Çil Axa).

“Our biggest difficulty is, of course, financial,” one of the co-founders added. “There is a cost to the magazine. But the results have exceeded our expectations, both in print and online, with visitors and ineractions on our Facebook page increasing by the day.”

The “Buhar” magazine invokes the Syrian spring, and the Kurdish spring, in the face of all internal and external attempts to destroy what is left of it.

Follow Spring Magazine on Facebook.


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad