Remembering Amara and Uta

By Dilar Dirik:



Her thick, long black hair was always braided and would swing along with the rhythm of her steps. She was the kind of person whose tender smile attracted every person when she entered a room. Her eyes always curious and attentive, a little smile
on her lips. Amara was tall, her face was angel-like. I remember her voice, her hearty laughter. Her picture is framed on our wall.

Born in Ankara on January 8th, 1981, Amara was a Turkish sociology student from the Agean region. One day, she decided that she would no longer keep silent in the face of the injustices committed against the Kurdish people. She quit university to pursue her principles in practice – and joined the Kurdish movement. After a couple of imprisonments in Turkey, she became active in Europe. One of her biggest dreams in life was to visit the Kurdish mountains…

On May 31st, 2005 – today, 8 years ago – she died in a tragic car accident near Slemani in the mountains of Kurdistan.

Her grave stone says: “The girl of the sea, who fell in love with the mountains”…

Amara 2I was 13 years old when she died. Only after her death, I found out that her given name was Ekin Ceren Dogruak. After she joined the Kurdish movement, which she had encountered during university, she picked the name “Amara”, which means “One of us” in Zazaki, and is also the name of Abdullah Öcalan’s native village. Even though I was a child, I remember her speaking excitedly to people that nobody seemed to care much about. I was wondering what her soft eyes saw in such “boring” people, as I realized that not even other adults paid attention to others the way she did. They say that Amara always longed to understand, instead of judging the people around her. She was only 24 when she died.

If only I knew Amara as the 21-year-old that I am today! I was too young to understand her goals in life. There are so many things that I would ask her, if I had to chance to see her again. How many tears we shed at the full memorial ceremonies in our community centers, after her death. Amara was the kind of person you just had to love…

I wish she knew that one of her friends, who is blind, has had her framed photograph on his wall ever since.

I felt like writing something on the 8th anniversary of her death, but it doesn’t seem right, because my words don’t do justice to those who have stronger memories and firmer friendships than I had the chance of sharing with Amara. To me, she will always be the brilliant, ever-smiling friend who I sometimes got mad at as a child, because she would finish all of our chocolate ice cream, when she visited us! The beautiful one who resembled Türkan Soray, the adult who always took her time to listen to me in my childhood.

Another internationalist, another revolutionary woman that walked her life path in the name of Amara 4solidarity with the Kurdish people, was Uta Schneiderbanger. She went by the name “Nudem” – a new time, a new era. A German woman, a leftist, lesbian, and feminist, who joined the women’s wing of the Kurdish movement in Germany. She died next to Amara in the car accident high up in the Kurdish mountains.

To keep Uta and Amara’s spirit alive, UTAMARA, a women’s center in Koblenz, Germany was founded after their passing away. The center offers seminars, events, and conferences to promote women’s emancipation from patriarchy and to unite women’s voices and experiences.

Uta and Amara

Two women who were not Kurds, but who shared the suffering of the Kurdish people and fought for their liberation. They died in the mountains that they wanted to see liberated. Dedicating their lives to freedom and justice in a collective, alternative life, they transcended their own national citizenships to reach over to their Kurdish friends.

Their Kurdish comrades will never forget them.

Sehid namirin.

Uta and Amara

Uta and Amara

Copyright © 2013

One Response to Remembering Amara and Uta
  1. LB
    June 7, 2013 | 04:49

    Does anyone know, what kind of car accident they were involved? Accidents often happened naturally (an actual accident), but often times they can be staged… I’m just curious.

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