Mohammed "Breem" Breem and Susan Baxter

Recorded September 2, 2006 Archived September 2, 2006 43:23 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX001812


Kurdish artist talks about leaving his homeland, Syria, and coming to United States.

Subject Log / Time Code

Life for a Kurdish person in Syria
Susan reads a poem Breem wrote
Description of his home
difficulties of assimilation
What it means to him to be Kurdish
Why he likes drawing and painting
Is his art political
Pulling up his roots
Making art in US
Making art in Lebanon
Meeting Susan


  • Mohammed "Breem" Breem
  • Susan Baxter

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:08 This is Susan Baxter. I'm 33 years old. Today is September 2nd 2006 in Portland, Maine and I'm going to be interviewing my boyfriend.

00:24 This is bream.

00:26 I bought 10 12 1965 today is September 2nd location Portland boyfriend.

00:40 Susan Baxter

00:44 Okay, so

00:46 I want to know what you want people to know about your life before you came to the US.

00:57 What a story what story would you tell your kids if you had them about leaving home?

01:02 And ending up here.

01:05 X42 Kuna

01:09 Long trip to get here before I get here and I are too many starts. But before I leave home at 12.

01:19 Manly my life, you know, I asked you that I'm doing my art.

01:27 And it was pretty normal life.

01:31 Make any student going to school and coming home and doing my art in my free time.

01:39 I need versus French to English. I love you, too.

01:44 You know what? I want to do hun?

01:48 I was studying math.

01:51 Major in pure math, which

01:54 Was the exciting for me?

02:00 Antilia

02:02 Some problem

02:04 With government political problem

02:09 A college student and artist

02:14 Put many question about my art.

02:20 Which

02:22 I didn't have enough space to do my art.

02:27 And continue my

02:29 Degree in math so I had to leave Syria.

02:40 Did situation for Kurdish people in the world is there dividing between four countries Syrian turkey, Iraq and Iran.

02:54 The population in Syria is like 3 million.

02:59 What percentage of 3 million?

03:04 They not allowed to continue their education even they continued.

03:09 They cannot get a job in their measurement.

03:14 Was it ever did major in?

03:18 On some of them. They don't have any document they born there live there 400 years. They don't have any document prove they voluntarily or from that part of the world.

03:36 So all this snow cloudy situation.

03:42 It makes for any Kurdish.

03:46 Syrian citizen the life always like a bomb anything it could put him in jail or anything it could best team.

03:59 I'm putting me behind about it, which he doesn't know what you're going to be after then.

04:06 So that's the reason why I left Syria.

04:11 When I move to Lebanon before I come here.

04:16 And I had it stopping Cypress.

04:21 No, I'm here.

04:22 The condensed version of your story the short version of my story.

04:34 I first met you in Kansas right when you came to the US and

04:43 You wrote this poem.

04:48 About coming here.

04:51 Can I can I read it?

04:55 And this is the translation that we came up with an English cuz you wrote it in Arabic. I think I'm going to read it. And then I want to know if you still feel the same way.

05:13 Houses in Old walls witness your travel a night a boat waiting for two funerals waves slapping the feet of those running to Exile. I didn't forget you and I didn't decide to go. All I wanted was to turn you into memories to paint you on canvas covered by color sleep and sleepy hours to dream nights beginning cold in June and fire on the deck of the boat dreams pulled by waves to nowhere and Waze invisible on the surface of the water. How will you guide the night whose beginning was in Beirut? Who stars turned off in Kansas?

06:03 So I always thought that that was pretty.

06:06 Despairing and hopeless the last part about the Stars turning off and I want to know if you still

06:17 Feeling that way.

06:21 Yeah, yeah.

06:24 I don't think it'd be feeling it will change between night. Alright today.

06:30 Definitely going to be

06:32 What's the saying about how much?

06:36 The difference how much you can accept?

06:40 From the new culture on how much you can give up what you grew up in.

06:50 Never ever ever be able to forget.

06:56 The memories in back home. Those are the breaks.

07:02 The house made of stones

07:05 V a flat roof

07:10 The olive trees

07:16 Whatever I see here. I'm going to compare it with what I grew up.

07:22 In

07:25 So my measurement my scale for beauty my scale for right?

07:32 On the wrong it's going to be what I grew up.

07:37 In or what? I saw front of my eye when I was growing up.

07:48 Your life is when you come to New culture it mean.

07:53 If not fully charged, do you have to give up?

07:59 All your understanding for

08:03 All right, I'm wrong.

08:06 Are you understanding for beauty?

08:10 An ugly

08:12 Border

08:18 Friend relationship

08:23 For family

08:26 Bond for everything so very stuff. I cannot.

08:32 Forget it. I'm just accept what is new?

08:35 Because that's something

08:39 Inside Me grew up with me if I take it out and that's impossible if I take it out I would be empty only shell.

08:51 Annie fight

08:53 Resist what is new here the new coach of the new understanding the new relationship the new band.

09:01 I wouldn't be able to survive I have to be.

09:05 Or I will be always trying to

09:11 To make balance what I have one what is coming every day to me?

09:18 It's not a matter of being upset or mad or being pessimistic.

09:27 When you try to remember or when you

09:32 To try try to keep what you

09:37 You grew up with you know.

09:41 You know, they don't understand me.

09:46 Like for example

09:50 The family band back home is too strong.

09:56 If any problem, honey travel anything happened to you.

10:02 If you owe nothing in your pocket.

10:07 Money money-wise you wanted to have any problem to survive here. If you have money in your pocket would be able to survive today. If you don't have money today will be home.

10:20 Tomorrow cuz this situation you know it always you know.

10:26 Is like big sign front of you you have nobody here. You know how you have no connection here.

10:34 So you have to calculate every step you stepping.

10:41 I'm study every person in front of you how much?

10:47 He mean

10:49 When he smiled to you.

10:58 We didn't have this problem. Com.

11:01 Who is your friend he going to tell you is it your friend who is not your friend? You will find out sooner or later. We should be obvious to know he's not your friend. Are you going to tell your walking? Did everybody say good morning? I don't know. This is you know, what kind of friendly people act but which that act is not only instead evening between friends, you know, what on daily basis, you know, they're acting that way and all your friend smile with you in back of you guys behind you in or so.

11:38 Is

11:40 Play Latino difficulty Norwich make life tough.

11:48 So how do you feel about becoming a u.s. Citizen soon?

11:54 In light of all of that

12:04 I already am proud of him being United States.

12:10 I'll be really happy, you know the day I get.

12:15 Or the day, I carried the citizenship of United State.

12:26 Gay life in United States

12:30 In government offices. I like it, which is totally different than back home.

12:41 You don't have to be worried on friend Afraid from

12:46 The laws because of what law.

12:51 What on paper it mean?

12:55 Back home. The law in favor is different in the actual word, you know.

13:04 It means something it may mean something on paper, but it would be a different way in.

13:12 In Offices here is there is nothing such a brat.

13:19 Ask Mom in being written so it doesn't discriminate any person.

13:28 Basic based on his car or his pocket

13:35 On his account money or his relationship is some some senators or government or officers, you know, it doesn't make a difference.

13:49 From Bellflower which I love it and make me 370.

13:55 Good evening, in what country like this and be proud to carry the citizenship of that country.

14:09 What does it mean to be Kurdish?

14:24 I don't think you mean more than what it means.

14:30 To you to be American

14:34 TV Kurdish into beanie Brim

14:40 I'm proud to be an us.

14:44 Our son grew up born from parents and grew up in create family and courage culture.

14:56 Because there's culture.

14:59 You could have people they are.

15:06 3 piece people even didn't have any chance, you know.

15:12 Do I have any kind of political government or power?

15:17 But

15:19 They tried all ways to keep.

15:22 The root

15:25 Us humanitarian group

15:29 An act that way towards themselves and who got contact with

15:36 So I'm probably being a it could wish for someone even though I have not had much contact with him now.

15:53 Tell me about your life as an artist.

15:57 How did it start?

16:03 I did.

16:07 Drawing like any kids, you know that school class. We have 110 to class in a week drawing.

16:18 School system in Syria is

16:23 I think he's pretty strong beach.

16:27 It helped, you know any kid, lure more and concentrate on what he wanted.

16:36 Like you have two classes language foreign language in junior high.

16:43 A week

16:46 Pretty good or Junior High and you have like drawing.

16:52 Music on history and chemistry

16:57 You know that from first grade from first grade in junior high, but I think the system change the drop it to first grade elementary.

17:11 We have five hours Class A Day only.

17:18 I started making drawing, you know, since I was in junior high and

17:26 Doing

17:29 Like colored pencil

17:33 Here there until

17:36 AA went to technical

17:40 Or it called.

17:44 The

17:46 Find

17:49 The college of fine arts something like that.

17:56 Why did you like it drawing painting?

18:01 Drawing

18:05 It was something you know how to make me.

18:09 Feel like I'm doing something I loved it because I could express you know, what in my mind.

18:19 Make it the writing writer who write I feel happy when he pulled you out on the paper. I was feeling happy every time you want to do any drawing on a which I didn't believe and I did it myself. You know, that's good, you know.

18:40 Always impress me know I can do it and

18:46 Make me feel more comfortable.

18:53 Live

18:54 Being with my pencil on brushes and colors.

19:04 I continued I didn't stop and I went to art college. I

19:11 And I continue to know you know, I'll maybe I'll stop taking break guitar like

19:20 But I don't think one day I would be I would get away from it.

19:26 So it kind of got you into trouble in Syria because they thought you were being political or Kurdish in your painting. Do you think your art is political?

19:42 First of all, you know question

19:49 Whatever you doing. Are you good night get you in trouble.

19:55 If you like it or not, but depend like even you eating it going to make you in trouble in or something. You eat more than or greater.

20:06 Stomach ache all day. You drink too much you get dizzy, so

20:11 The mother, you know how much you know you like doing it, you know.

20:17 How much you need it?

20:20 I don't think that's probably not even something make you or put you in trouble or not.

20:29 Will it push you away from doing it, which I doubt it.

20:39 The second part of the equation

20:45 Yeah, I did. I told you.

20:50 A Scottish person in Syria always like is under Scorpion or watched from the government.

21:02 Even he doing I think Norman, you know, you going to be white headed that way why you didn't do it the other way. He do it the other way they going to put the equation. You know why he did that way I can persuade.

21:18 It doesn't matter only the way you will be safe in Syria a Scottish people do nothing, which is impossible to nothing between sit at home even don't give you hugs.

21:37 I hadn't many friends if they were just partying, you know, and they been arrested for years because they were accomplished and I know you know, whoever you know, if you park you know, whatever you are if you parted very annoying no, no political connection to be in a party or it to acting a party so I had many friends, you know.

22:02 Got arrested. I have one friend.

22:08 He was sickened high school was coming from party. They got him on first day of now rules, which is new year of college people.

22:19 Under the caption for a year-and-a-half in jail for no reason kid. He was partying it like it is 16 17 years old. So what kind of political you know, how dangerous are you going to make it to the government?

22:35 Which can go to a man when he got his high school diploma when he was in jail.

22:44 And

22:45 Like recently my brother 18 because he was partying and he being drugged like for 6 months or 6 months. There is no any

22:56 Honey water on Wednesday going to leave.

22:59 Letting Go days no, honey.

23:04 Sentence why they did arrest him.

23:08 So

23:10 What I'm saying Syria, as long as you are Kurdish doesn't matter even if you could be dangerous to the government.

23:19 Play she's going to want to be away from Providence.

23:23 Only the way you not to breathe.

23:32 Do you wish that you could have stayed in Syria?

23:37 Are you happy you left?

23:47 I did not if you mean being serious to be in that under live underneath that government know.

23:56 Obviously not.

23:59 Korean series my friends family this year.

24:04 I wish be there.

24:06 And I wish I didn't.

24:10 Cuz when I left him

24:14 Like a puma route from the door.

24:19 On my route here is still you know, how you in air is not in Dirt 4 like

24:28 There is nothing you know.

24:33 Holding me to the life.

24:37 Here because I can have

24:39 Find what?

24:43 I could survive on.

24:46 And I cannot

24:52 Make the other placement what I lost.

24:58 So

25:01 I wish.

25:02 Excellence in Syria

25:07 I don't regret. You know, I live that kind of government.

25:13 Order

25:15 Political is very no.

25:20 Then nothing you want.

25:23 To like about Syria's government that is your families. Are you friends are your memories as child as grown-up teenager a student?

25:36 You left everything behind you.

25:39 Do I wish I could go back to yeah, of course I do.

25:46 And you think you'll ever feel rooted in the United States?

25:54 Honey, yeah.

25:59 Not rooted but I may feel a little bit connected.

26:05 Which I do feel it. Now. You know that because I know there is

26:11 No Going Back

26:14 He is my country now United States my country.

26:18 I'm going to leave here forever like get over here and die here. So he is my country what I lost. What or what's behind me. I left behind me it lost and I lost it.

26:33 So no, they go back to that what I lost.

26:37 My present life

26:41 Present Place, whatever it is, whatever had inside it is my

26:51 My life even rooted like even it doesn't mean the same way, you know.

26:59 Native deodorant be inside

27:02 Did Dartmouth going to give her the same way even in the area light. Did you know that they leave auntie?

27:18 What other teen what kind of solo?

27:22 Tell me the connection building itself.

27:28 But I don't think it's in the same way, you know you were back home.

27:35 I don't know if I could explain or not.

27:42 Like

27:46 No, I don't compare to or I don't put the picture. You know, what the hell?

27:52 In my early life

27:55 Front of me and searching for it. I'm trying.

28:01 I'll let you know.

28:04 Except

28:07 What I have or what time it to me not trying to change what what I want to change it to. I'm trying to exit what what is coming to me and leave it as is.

28:21 Because

28:23 That's life here to be culturally. So you cannot change culture to you need you can change yourself to a quote you need.

28:35 So do you feel like you can't look to the Future you don't have?

28:39 Ideas of what your life will be like

28:49 Looking to

28:55 Future minimize

29:00 Because

29:02 The unknown glitch

29:05 Not knowing

29:08 What the

29:13 Atmosphere you going to be in?

29:17 What day?

29:20 The new life

29:23 How's the new life going to reject you or except you?

29:35 What did you think your life is going to be like when you were growing up?

29:46 In some cases, you know when they are in first grade there they found they ask what you want to be this way. I want to be dogs pilot.

29:57 Actor or something like that.

30:01 I know I always thought about something like a heart.

30:16 13

30:20 If I grew up on my last going to be something, you know, it has connection directly to our

30:29 2 creative side. It doesn't matter what it is.

30:36 Which I think you know.

30:40 I'm glad.

30:42 Steve there

30:45 Maybe he's Twisted Laurel.

30:48 Like the connection still exist.

30:54 Honda I'm still working on it, but

30:58 Nothing changed, even I'm here everything the atmosphere Shane, but my vision to that.

31:07 Hope or goal never changed.

31:11 Why is it important to you to be an artist?

31:18 The water oxygen is it make difference, you know?

31:22 The creativity parted make difference the time. I filled all the moment I think.

31:30 I cannot produce something new.

31:34 I feel like I'm auntie and off my life.

31:42 That's it.

31:46 I'm not trying to I don't want to see my life is empty.

31:53 That's the reason I'm keeping that to a pond.

31:57 Which

31:58 Give me the power to leave and can continue leaving.

32:07 What was it like when you were making your living as an artist in Lebanon?

32:20 I always like to know.

32:23 I know but I did to work at the office for 8 years.

32:28 Leaving from my locked.

32:30 I moved to Cypress. I did work as an artist.

32:36 I try to head.

32:41 Budget

32:44 Big Catch between here and there it stopped me because it was hard to make living.

32:54 Unimproved land in your language

32:59 Accepting a new culture making friends knowing where you going. Where you coming?

33:05 Continue connection with people with she is a most important thing. You know, like when you moved Wine Country, you can speak English or the United States. You can speak English it mean you are like in prison or big appraiser cuz there's no way communication between old people moving around you if I can communicate with them if it doesn't mean anything, you know on the object out on you because there is no I need feeding to exchange with the person front of you or any idea to exchanges front of you. So close like a prison moving object around you.

33:48 It didn't stop or slow me down little bit. Nice date, and I did work too many things here.

33:59 But when I was in Lebanon, I always wanted you not or I love to walk in or after midnight in street with funeral because I was going to bed like for 5 in the morning a.m.

34:14 So my day was starting a like around noon, my night was starting like after midnight.

34:24 You feel you know the street like empty nobody there not like you leave you on whole town. Hall Street whole atmosphere so didn't ask.

34:36 Artistic you feel

34:40 Lake View Rd

34:44 You on your feeling you on your interview on your mind your brain the way you want to think that when you want to.

34:55 Westar Energy

34:57 Or make you energy or reborn again or not.

35:02 That's what I like and when to leave.

35:06 Psychologist you can

35:08 Use your energy the way you want which be creative and

35:16 When you be creative.

35:19 Even if you like it or not, you know that it going to be some benefit to somebody even if

35:25 If you don't want to make any benefits, but there will be on it is from benefit somebody there is no West in creativity side at all.

35:39 Do try to communicate something through your art, or do you just enjoy creating it?

35:48 Is like you asking any question? That is the art it mean.

35:54 It came in empty.

35:57 Frame, it doesn't the other doesn't come in and different.

36:01 Day is naughty name to frame the color translate something to ship translate something to figure translate something even if I want to try to.

36:16 Cut out. It doesn't matter the way I carry going to translate at least.

36:22 My personality Which is less.

36:26 One minute of the art

36:31 I guess my question is whether you're trying to communicate something specific or does it just end up?

36:43 Or is it my interest is the human?

36:47 Side, you know you figure out your side which

36:53 Try wish I tried to translate.

36:57 The humidity

36:59 Value in my panties more than anything else. There is beauty. I believe in beauty butt.

37:07 Oblivion human to Modern Beauty

37:14 Green, can I ask you a question? Can you tell me a little bit about meeting Susan?

37:22 Kierra Sheard

37:26 I can in Kansas City.

37:32 In

37:34 August 18th of August 2000

37:39 Rach

37:41 Insert day or fourth day when I arrive United States, I did meet met her and she was

37:50 Like

37:56 Tom Poston

37:59 Comic books and I met wish I didn't miss too many percent is my 4th day or not.

38:06 But she was really nice conversation on.

38:11 I don't know for some reason I could read there is no. She has some her own value about humanity and

38:24 A-fib

38:26 Always, you know, I feel ways to Canal Fulton 1% abused has nothing no meaning in their life, and the other person has some point in their life. They don't leave their day.

38:43 Day by day that has a plan for the next day what their life should be which is not are found in.

38:51 Halloween II Fort Smith AR

38:57 I think I'm not following you or I see that house that you leaving.

39:10 The answer to question

39:14 And we somehow were able to talk about poetry even though your English was really bad.

39:20 Yeah, we did. I think we did a little bit annoyed challenge is not know English and spoken word poetry or fraud TV, but I believe you couldn't communicate little bit even when we couldn't make have a big discussion, but we did let you know translation, you know bad transmission.

39:44 I didn't study in Arabic, but I could see what I know. You're not a between 210 maybe couple of less than hundred War DBQ discussion.

40:00 Electricity on a little big stuff. I don't know how you did it. But we did it show me around, you know, what is not inside.

40:21 Anything else you want to say?

40:33 Really, you know?

40:37 What I want to say, you know, it doesn't matter, you know, if someone removed to new quarter is going to be like in one be ended a one-time that easy unless you know, you have nothing in mind.

40:50 I had you in front of you, but

40:55 I never ever going to be like as is you know, the way you used to it grew up in the problem.

41:04 Naked

41:06 I did spend for 20 years which you know the create creation. Of me all that time. I developed in a paper saying the develop in first like 15-20 years of his life other than you adjust the last 20 years is like going to be based on what he

41:32 Again in the twenty years. So we problem.

41:37 I did grow up 20 years in one quarter after 10:11. Called, you know to another another one totally new doesn't accept anything with you for 20, so I had to redevelop myself, you know, maybe maybe going to be

42:03 Personality order the life for me, you know to development make me stronger to come continue about what I want to say. Never going to stop anybody on this he gave up.

42:19 2 to continue

42:23 Just wanted to know if you knew anyone break anybody, you know, unless he don't he want to get broken into.

42:32 Maybe you're just a kid again for the next 20 years.

42:38 Just people American kid like to challenge everything you and check everything. You know, I wish I I was doing you.

42:57 Wait, I'm here, you know and I'm still doing it. So trying to learn the language ask me a question was yes for my dad for dinner.

43:07 Don't know how to communicate with people.

43:15 Thanks.

43:17 Georgia