Chasing a lost dream
Text: Josep Giralt
Photo: Jordi Sanglas
Narmen is 11 years old and comes from Kurdistan. She looks a bit tired, and there are sparks of sadness in her eyes. She comes from a landlocked region, divided between four states: Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, as well as a small enclave in Armenia. Most of the Iraqi and Iranian oil reserves are in this territory, and all of Syria's.
However, none of her homeland's wealth has served to make her life any easier. "I have no dreams," she laments, and does so with all the spontaneity of a girl who is not able to understand the immensity of her words, which evoke the solitude reflected in the poem Football by Kurdish poet Abdulla Pashew: "The news agencies have announced a football match. The teams: the Kremlin and the White House. The ball: the skull of a Kurd. The goal: Kurdistan. The spectators: the world, silent as a grave."
However, Narmen does not feel abandoned and says she has spent the happiest times of her life playing sport on the Bekaa refugee camp. "FutbolNet has shown me how to play in a team” she explains. “It has helped me to overcome the fear of sharing the field with children that might be stronger than me, and it has taught me values like respect." She wants to be a paediatrician. If she can ever get to Europe, she also wants to continue playing soccer. Before she arrived in Lebanon, she had never even heard of Barça. But now her face lights up at the mere mention of Messi's name.
This young Kurd is living proof that dialogue is the greatest tool for finding a way out. FutbolNet is not just a methodology that uses sport to build self-esteem, it also changes attitudes to the world around us. The fun of doing sport has rebuilt and normalised the lives of these young people, and helped them to have a more positive and less troubled attitude to a life that has been a constant challenge.