Kobané International Day: Freedom for Ocalan!

By Rebwar Rashed:

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), equipped with sophisticated fire power, organized and financed by Turkey and a few Arabic countries in the region, attacked the city of Kobané on 15th September 2015.

Soon the democratic opinion of the world realized that the war of ISIS and other fascistic terror Islamic groups was indeed against humanity, not just the Kurdish people. The world had already witnessed on 3rd August 2014 how ISIS attacked the undefended Yazidi Kurds. The result was genocide and an attempt to exterminate a people: Killing thousands of innocent people; enslaving several thousand women to later use them sexually and sell them; destroying and confiscating their properties, prohibiting their culture and forcing them to convert to Islam.

Kobané’s people were facing the same fate as the Yazidis, especially when Erdogan, the Turkish president, vowed on 7th October 2015 that Kobané would fall soon or later. The people of Kobané, the YPG and YPJ, with the bitter experience of the Yazidis, decided to fight back. It took time until the International conscience woke up and stood by the side of Kobané. By 1st November the terrorist evil was being pushed back, but the damage to Kobané city and the surroundings areas was tremendous, and ISIS still had to be defeated.

Liberating the people of Syria from the dictator Bashar Al Assad and from the Islamic radical terror groups, who are mostly proxies of Turkey, is certainly a great achievement, but a far greater favor for the people is to give them the benefits a democratic system based on pluralism, secularism and gender-equality.

That’s why talking about the liberty of Syria and a democratic future without doubt has much to do with the doctrine of Mr. Ocalan concerning democratic confederation. In order to have a stable and peaceful Middle East there needs to be a functioning democracy far from traditional nation-states which usually demand almost maximal national homogeneity i.e. One language, One culture, One religion etc. and therefore inevitably they enforce One land and One flag.

Mr. Ocalan’s thesis gives an answer to the accumulating national-, social-, cultural- and economic conflicts in the Middle East. The states of this region must transform into decentralized and more open states with transparent democratic constitutions that have concrete functions with minimal bureaucratic structures. The idea of the democratic confederation is obviously not unfamiliar to the democratic or liberal-democratic world, it rather reminds us of already established systems in the United States and other European countries. What Mr. Ocalan’s Democratic Confederation offers us rightly is the sense of a more decentralized state-power, more gender equality, more or direct recognition of other “identities” which usually for different reasons don’t want to belong to the general “National narrative” or the “National hegemony” or the “State’s official ideology” etc. Mr. Ocalan offers us a system of Democratic Confederation that does not consist of a cynical power play and dichotomies of “Black / White” or “We and Them”.

Mr. Ocalan gives the right of self-defense and autonomy of self-rule and of choosing methods of organization to the people in question. The core of the idea is to build a democratic society from bottom to top.

When the oppressed people, groups and religious entities get familiar with the ideas and the vision of Mr. Ocalan, they don´t hesitate to apply it. That’s the reason why the struggle of Shangal and Kobané, exactly as that of Raqqa and Afrin, has everything to do with Mr. Ocalan´s political thinking.

Kobané and many other places were under the threat of Islamic terrorism. They got liberated and now enjoy having functioning administrations with economies of self-sufficiency despite the regional blockade, and often military threats, especially by rhe Turks.

Right now Mr. Ocalan is serving a life time sentence in Turkish prison. There is no trustworthy information about him and his health as the Turkish president, Erdogan, is personally in charge, especially since July 2014, and has made it impossible for anyone to visit him. Since Erdogan decided to revive the Ottoman Empire with the help of different radical Islamic groups, among them ISIS, Jabha Alnusra etc., the isolation of Mr. Ocalan has got worse.

Therefore, as we are celebrating the World Kobané Day, we should remember Mr. Ocalan and ask for his immediate release as he is as much a peace-loving political figure for the Middle East as Mr. Abraham Lincoln was for the United States of America, or Mr. M Gandhi was for India, or as Mr. Nelson Mandela was for the South Africa.

We all are familiar with the proverb of Mr. Mahatma Gandhi that, ‘an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind’. Mr. Ocalan is struggling for a Middle East where no one has to be blind. We can all be together and share the destiny of friendship and mutual interest.

On the World Kobané Day we shall remember Mr. Ocalan and every lady and gentleman who has struggled and fought for Kobané and other places in Rojava, and consequently for a better Middle East for all of us.

Yes, on this very great day, we shall say: Freedom for Mr. Ocalan!

Rebwar Rashed is Co-Chairman of the Kurdistan National Congress – KNK

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