By Dilar Dirik:
The morning after January 9th, the Turkish media did not hesitate to announce that the murder of Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan, and Leyla Saylemez – “terrorists” as the regime affectionately calls them – was an internal PKK feud. Without challenging this official statement that was not based on any evidence, but on pure propagandistic speculation to demonize the Kurdish people, without questioning this information coming from the regime that is the global number one imprisoner of journalists and activists, the state-affiliated media unanimously endorsed this incitement campaign, and sadly much of the international media echoed these claims. As the investigations continue however, it becomes clear that primary suspect Ömer Güney is a Turkish nationalist with a shadowy past, probably a professional assassin of the Turkish secret service…
While hundreds of thousands of people in the world mourned for this great loss, heavy clashes between Kurds and jihadist fighters, who are (as more and more local sources confirm) funded by the Turkish state, took place in Serê Kaniyê/ Ra’s al-‘Ayn (West Kurdistan/Syrian Kurdistan). Simultaneously, the bombings of the Qandil mountains (South Kurdistan/Northern Iraq) by the Turkish army contradict the so-called peace talks between the Turkish state and PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on Imrali Island. Mysteriously enough, the ferry to Imrali which was suspiciously broken for more than a year, isolating Öcalan from the rest of the world, was finally repaired. This absurd “integrative strategy” as state official Mehmet Ali Sahin referred to it, holds peace talks with the imprisoned head of the PKK, while continuing military operations in Qandil. Kurds within Turkish borders are persecuted, in parliament and on the streets, journalists lose their jobs for reporting on the Kurdish people, while the Kurdish mountains within Iraqi borders are bombed, and Kurds within Syrian borders are attacked. The assassination of the three women in the heart of Paris was an insidious part of the Turkish state’s transnational strategy which aims to eliminate the will of the Kurdish resistance and sabotage any possibility of peace by attacking Kurds on all fronts.
In a time of world-scattering despair, of abandonment by the “international community“ and the global media, Firat News Agency (ANF) published pictures of Latin American individuals from different nations who expressed their solidarity with the Kurdish people’s pain in the aftermath of the ruthless assassinations of the three wonderful Kurdish women, our dear friends Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan (Rojbin), and Leyla Saylemez. Women and men from Argentina, Cuba, Chile, and Paraguay held signs with their message to the Kurdish nation that express their sorrow for the murder of these strong women, and their solidarity with the Kurdish liberation cause. Pictures of Sakine, Rojbin, and Leyla with flowers in the caring hands of these amazing, encouragingly smiling individuals on the other side of the world mean a lot more than any superficial criticism of Turkey by any Western democracy!
Similarly, many other organizations around the globe have condemned the massacre against the
Kurdish women. Along with European and Turkish leftist parties, many women’s rights and socialist organizations in Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, the Basque Country, Catalonia, South Africa, and more have released official statements to express their shared pain with the loss of the three Kurdish women, acknowledging their deaths as a loss for the entirety of humanity and especially struggling nations and women around the world.
During the protests in Paris right after the assassination of our friends, the presence of the overwhelming amount and diversity of flags in the crowd of hundred thousands of people was an homage paid to these wonderful women. Many remarked that even parties that are not necessarily sympathetic to each other appeared and chanted their slogans univocally, as they were united in this moment of anger and pain.
Tamil, Armenian, and Palestinian people who themselves walked in the same shoes as the Kurds in the past and present paid tribute to the lives of three precious freedom advocates that were taken by the same system, the same fascist mentality that oppressed their own people.
On Friday, February 01, Sindhi people of the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz Party marched in different cities across Sindh, holding up signs saying “We strongly condemn Turkish imperialism against Kurdistan and fully support the Kurdish Freedom Struggle”. The activists also strive for their own local independence from Pakistan. Their demonstrations as independent, voluntary manifestations of solidarity with a people they do not have an economic interest in supporting are a matter of acknowledging that one’s own cause is related to the struggle of other people. Today, they marched for Tibet. As I received pictures from their protests, I felt ashamed for knowing so little about their cause and I am committed to learn more.
A few years ago, Sakine Cansiz spoke at a conference in Bilbao, in the Basque Country. The struggle of the Basque people also has many similarities to the Kurdish freedom movement. Institutional education teaches young people to regard any group that struggles for independence as terrorists, outcasts, abnormal deviations from the perfect flawless status quo.
I vaguely remember the Basques being portrayed negatively throughout my high school years in Germany- we did not know better and nobody questioned it. However, it was not the German government, but the Basque people who showed their solidarity with the Kurds during the hunger strike of thousands of political prisoners in Turkey, when they launched 24hour fasts to side with the Kurdish struggle to show them that they are not alone: “Today, we are all Kurdistan”, they said. After the murder of the three women in Paris, people in Bilbao protested with a large transparent for the Kurdish women. Out of solidarity.
An organization in South Africa, called “Kurdistan Human Rights Action Group South Africa” continuously campaigns for the Kurdish freedom struggle. As most people know, South Africa’s historic fight against the minority tyrant Apartheid regime is one of the greatest human rights struggles and a victory for justice. Nelson Mandela, too, was a political prisoner. He is a symbol of freedom and justice for many people around the world. People like Essa Moosa, a former lawyer of Mandela’s, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu repeatedly compare the Kurdish people’s struggle to their own, and regard Abdullah Öcalan as a “negotiator in chains”, similar to Mandela’s role in the South African liberation.
These are only a few examples of people around the world stepping up for the just cause of the Kurdish people who have not one, but four different oppressors in their natural territories.
A couple of days ago, I came across an amazing Mexican saying: “We did not cross the border. The border crossed us”. Mexican immigrants are often demonized, for protectionist economic but also racist reasons by the American right. After the Mexican-American War in 1846/48 in which the United States annexed territories that once belonged to the Mexicans, an artificial mental border later became a large, strictly controlled fence, which now threateningly divides the U.S.’s land from Mexico and punishes people who, in search of a better future, sometimes illegally migrate to the same territory that was once their home. From El Paso, Texas you can look through the fence and see Ciudad Juarez, with its houses scarred by the constant threat of drug wars (ironically, the heart and soul of the drug cartels’ market lie in the United States). I was told that many second generation Mexicans in America reject their Mexican heritage and try to assimilate into the American way of life, because they feel ashamed. Similar situations occur all over the world: the victim of the imperialist world order, massacred, impoverished, enslaved, humiliated, or used to strengthen the capitalist system elite is taught to hate his or her identity and to admire the system that caused their misery.
Imperialism, colonialism, fascism, call it what you want. But people across the world become more aware that the nation state paradigm is flawed and can and should not be applied, especially in the most ethnically diverse regions in the world. The ethnic clashes on the African continent are not due to “barbaric tribalism” or “backwardness” as we are often told. They are due to the West’s random colonialist assignment of ethnicities into country borders and categories in which they do not belong. Because colonial interests do not reflect natural human reality. Because corporate exploits do not reflect actual connectivity to culture, society and nature. In so many places around the world, borders have crossed people…
Labelled as “terrorists” by the international community, because they defy conventional notions of national identity, and always mentioned in the same generic sentence in every article that deals with Kurds in Turkey, (“The PKK is regarded as a terrorist organization by the international community, it raised arms against the Turkish state in a conflict that claimed 40,000 lives”), the liberation movement of the Kurds has been abandoned by the international capitalist statist system and never gained anything from the imperialist structures that formed the Middle East.
The Kurds never had the benefit of help from a powerful hegemon who would have profited from a strong Kurdish nation. 25 years after one of the world’s darkest days, the strategic massacre in Halabja which killed 50,00 villagers under Saddam’s regime with chemical weapons, the Kurds still struggle to get the “Anfal campaign” recognized as genocide. More than one year after the massacre of Roboski, in which Turkey used American drones to wipe out 34 innocent Kurdish villagers, the families seek justice. All that happened was that several money fines were enforced on the Roboski victim’s families and that the commander of the operation received a prize. Kurdish activists are regularly hanged in Iran, a habitual regime practice. Many more await their execution on death row in inhumane prisons.
Struggling, stateless people do not resist out of racist notions of nationalism. They struggle for recognition. They struggle because their history has not been written. Because their individual contribution to the eternal human spirit is not acknowledged. Because their existence is denied. Their language, religion, ethnicity, culture. I would not insist that I am Kurdish, had my existence or worth not been denied by four large countries.
In order to strengthen our own understanding of freedom, we must stay in solidarity with others. In our moments of deepest pain, our international friends did not leave us alone. They marched with us in the icy, cold Paris demonstrations, they hungered with us, they smiled at us with roses in their hands. From Cuba to South Africa to Sindh and the Philippines. We may not have the support of military alliances, economic trade agreements, arms trade clubs. But we have the love, solidarity, and thoughts of amazing individuals all over the world with us. Just when the media, security institutions, and governments, all of which were designed to protect the people, have abandoned us, it was people who live far away from us who held us by the hand and showed us that we are not alone. International solidarity only artificially and forcefully exists in statist, military, economic systems. But it genuinely exists in the hearts of normal people.
I thank all the people around the world who have stepped out to share our pain with us and I cordially invite everyone in the world to join the “Solidarity for the Kurdish People” project on Facebook to express their thoughts for the Kurdish people, who have not had much to smile about lately.
“Surrender is betrayal. But resistance will bring victory”