Aras Ahmed Mhamad

Aras Ahmed Mhamad is a freelance journalist. He is the founder and deputy editor of SMART, an independent English magazine that focuses on literature and society. He has contributed to Fair Observer, The World Weekly, Newsweek Middle East, The New Arab, and Your Middle East, among others.

Letters from a Kurd: A Conversation with Novelist Kae Bahar

Nov 24, 2018

In this guest edition of The Interview, Aras Ahmed Mhamad talks to Kurdish novelist Kae Bahar about his debut novel, “Letters From a Kurd.” Nizar Qabbani, a Syrian poet, once said: “Love in the Arab world is like a prisoner, and I want to set it free. I want to...

A Kurdish Novelist's Challenge to the Patriarchy

Aug 24, 2018

In this guest edition of The Interview, Aras Ahmed Mhamad talks to Kurdish novelist Qasham Ali Balata about her debut novel, “Run Away to Nowhere.” The Kurds are known for their resilience, peshmerga fighters, disunity and failed attempts to create an independent country in the rough mountains of their contested...

Kurdexit: More Trouble than it's Worth?

Sep 11, 2017

A yes vote in the Kurdish independence referendum might bring more trouble to the region. When on June 7 Masoud Barzani, Kurdistan’s incumbent president, announced a referendum on independence from Iraq for September 25, a wave of internal backlashes followed, questioning Barzani’s legitimacy and this unilateral decision. External pressures have...

Future of Kurdish Education Hangs in Uncertainty

Aug 17, 2017

The social, political and economic turmoil in the Kurdistan region reflects the crises in its educational system. On July 2, at a school in Iraqi Kurdistan, a 12th grade student, unable to hold it any longer, urinated himself during a baccalaureate exam. “I asked the invigilators and the teachers several...

It’s Time to Eradicate Corruption in Kurdistan’s Schools

Oct 03, 2016

Kurdistan’s education system is riddled with corruption. “The 9th grade math’s exam sheets have been leaked,” a friend of one of these authors wrote over Facebook. “Have you got any information about the leak out of the 12th grade exam?” said another friend a couple of hours later. Later that night, a...

Kurdish Novelist Tackles Taboo Crimes Against Yazidis

Aug 03, 2016

In this guest edition of The Interview, Aras Ahmed Mhamad speaks to Kurdish novelist Nabard Fuad about his debut novel, Tuti. “Kurds did not write their own stories.” “Kurds do not have a unified lexicon.” “Kurds are scattered and are continuously oppressed.” “Kurds are tribal and uneducated.” “Kurds deserve their own...

To Prosper, Iraq Must Tackle Education

Jul 12, 2016

In this guest edition of The Interview, Aras Ahmed Mhamad talks to PhD candidate Maysa Jihad Alwan. Education is the most effective means of bringing about responsible people who believe in the values of cultural diversity and coexistence. Military conflicts and religious violence in the Middle East will only be...

The Endless Challenges of Translation

Oct 24, 2015

In this guest edition of The Interview, Aras Ahmed Mhamad talks to writer Jutyar Zhazhlaiy and lecturer Lona Mariwany. Translation is more than just transporting words or sentences from one language to another. It involves the translation of feelings, emotions and thoughts. The real challenge a translator faces is: Can...

The Roots of Conflict in the Middle East

Sep 28, 2015

Only rule of law and a culture of diversity can overthrow autocracy and religious fundamentalism in the Middle East. One fundamental problem for Middle Eastern countries is that a majority of the rulers are illegitimate. While each country has its own history and trajectory, common patterns prevail across the region:...

Kurdish Voices on Iraq's Future Must Be Heard

Jan 14, 2015

Aras Ahmed Mhamad speaks to Kurds about their views on the Iraqi conflict against the Islamic State.  The lighting advance of the Islamic State (IS) in June 2014 remains a direct threat to coexistence in Iraq. Sparking intensified religious conflict, and economic and political disintegration, the sudden surge prompted fears of further destruction...

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