Three beautiful flowers

By Dilar Dirik:

Mass funeral rally in Diyarbakir today

Mass funeral rally in Diyarbakir today

‘Terrorists’ in a terrorist system

Sakine Cansiz is history. She is the embodiment of the feminist face of the Kurdish liberation movement. She is the woman that spat in her torturer’s face, when she was in prison. She is the woman that did not scream when they cut her breasts. “As a militant of a just cause, I was ashamed to say ‘Ah’”, she said. She is the woman that did not betray her friends, even under the most severe torture. She is the woman with the scarlet-red hair. She was flooded with life, a fountain of love. She worked out every morning, she was an ethical vegetarian. She is the woman who, after all she went through, will go down in history as a firm believer in the just cause of the Kurdish movement, a person who never gave up on freedom. She is the woman whose passing away caused the deepest pain in my father’s life. I have never seen him cry like this before. She is not a terrorist. She is a hero. She is the woman who was even respected by her enemies. Her soft eyes, and her beautiful smile in spite of all the horror that she went through were a source of encouragement and strength for an entire nation. Her death is a loss for humanity. How sad that the world only got to know her in death. The last time I saw her felt like a farewell. I am proud to have known a piece of history and I will never forget the last words she said to me…

Fidan Dogan

Fidan Dogan

I did not know Fidan Dogan, because for me, she was Rojbin. I first met her when I was in elementary school. My family and I fell in love with her right away! She was so vivid, she always smiled. Her voice is still in my ears. We called her “troptisha heval”, because she taught my sister and me a French nursery rhyme called “Trois petits chats”, three little cats. We didn’t know what the words meant, but it was the biggest joy to clap our hands and laughing hysterically at the funny sound of the word “somnambule”, every time she played with us. My heart skipped a beat, every time I saw her. The last time we met was during the hunger strike in Strasbourg in April 2012. She was always so energetic, incredibly smart, and of course her smile was contagious. I would have hugged her firmer, kissed her, and I would have told her that I will never forget her smile, had I known what would happen to her in this city she so loved. She was buried on her birthday. But this just means that her death gave birth to thousands of Rojbins who will look up to her and keep her alive. She is not a terrorist. She is brilliant. She is our Rojbin…

I am sorry I never got to meet Leyla, or Axin, as friends call her. She was only a few years older than me, and every single person that I know who had met her speaks so highly of her. She, too, is not a terrorist. She is one of us. I am sorry we could not share any memories, and I am so sorry she died so young…

Leyla Şaylemez

Leyla Şaylemez

The morning after the murder, I woke up to the horrifying news that these three amazing Kurdish women, activists for our people, revolutionaries, had been assassinated. We drove to Paris and back over night, where hundreds, if not thousands of people were mourning together. Sakine and Fidan’s parents had flown in from Turkey. They were not in the community center by the time I arrived, but my mother told me that Sakine’s mother mourned:”My beautiful daughter, you loved your people so much – that is why you died…”

On Saturday, we walked as Kurds, Turks, Armenians, Tamils, Basques, Palestinians, Germans, French, socialists, communists, democrats, trade unionists, feminists, humanists, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends, as humans, united as one, in the streets of Paris. You have to earn and deserve such a crowd, and so they did, our beautiful heroines! For once, we besieged the capitol of this country that once colonized us. There were flowers, flags, pictures, and candles at Rue Lafayette, a place that will be damned and haunted forever by the promise we gave our comrades. I had a breakdown when we went to the crime site. I had promised myself to stay strong, because our friends would not have liked to see us like that, but I couldn’t help it. I still want to think that this is a nightmare, still want to believe that this cruelty did not happen.

The evil faces behind this murder did not “simply” take three precious activists of the Kurdish cause from us, the killing of women always means more. In a gendered war such as the war between the Turkish state and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), the planned assassination of three independent and free women must be understood in terms of violence against women. Murdering women like Sakine Cansiz, Rojbin, and Leyla, who stood up for her people and for women, is not just a political statement, it is a patriarchal murder too-feminicide!

Sakine Cansiz

Sakine Cansiz

Of all people, they, and especially Sakine Cansiz, deserved to see peace in Kurdistan. She devoted her existence to a just cause that she represented in its beauty. She endured years of torture in jail, but she never ever gave up on peace and justice, and if she didn’t, then nobody has the right to give up. Nobody forced her, she freely chose to be a freedom fighter. She could have led an average life, she could have been a coward, if she wanted to, but she didn’t. She didn’t, because she is great. She makes me very proud to be Kurdish. I usually don’t say that I am a proud Kurd, but she made me realize once more what a cause, what a duty I inherited from my parents and from all the people, who suffer and die so I can have a self-determined life, a free life. I am proud to have known two of these immortal, amazing women. And in every step I take in life, I will make them live forever…

This is the fate of our nation. Our hearts barely recovered from the trauma of the massacre of Roboski, when Paris gave us a new wound. And every time, no matter how deep our pain, we are the “terrorists”. How dare anyone call these amazing, free personalities, admirable in every way, terrorists?

One time, a Kurdish newspaper in Germany was busted by the police. The police officers emptied the place, even confiscated the flowers and plants. My father angrily asked one of the officers: “Is this flower terrorist, too?!”

We live in a scary system, a blood-stained, ruthless system that executes our most precious friends, our most fearless fighters, and with them, our hopes. In this system, right and wrong are artificially constructed, as we praise economic hangmen and their corrupt fortresses of gold as role models, and murder those who dedicate their lives to justice, freedom, and truth. Personalities and institutions that are responsible for the greatest wars in the world, either by active participation or silence, receive peace awards. This world congratulates white collar killers on their latest bloodshed, as they step on the podium that consists of the backs of the poor, while it scares dissidents with prison, torture, and death. When nine bullets fell in Paris, the cradle of revolution, the latest strike on our cause was launched, but our pain will strengthen our fight. We promised that.

People see the order of the Middle East endangered and the Kurds, the biggest losers of the artificial, inorganic structure of the Middle East, now emerge as winners. Of course those that benefit from the status quo feel threatened. To sum it up, Turkey is forced to negotiate with the Kurds, Syrian Kurds are on the rise, the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq is by far more prosperous and democratic than any other part in Iraq, and even Iranian Kurdish parties start to unite. But the same colonial forces from the last century want to repeat history. As I am writing this text, the city of Kirkuk is under attack by the Iraqi army. West Kurdistan is invaded by the Turkish army. Kurdish activists in Iran are executed regularly. The West is Turkey’s best pal and provides them with arms and feels no discomfort in looking the other way, while Turkey is the world champion when it comes to journalists in prison, when Kurdish children receive life sentences for throwing stones, when American drones are used to kill 34 innocent Kurdish villagers, and so on and on and on. We are used to that already.

We live in a scary system. People like to think ideally of America and Europe and their pretty little institutions, but look away when it comes to trading arms with one of the most dangerous states in the world. While Kurds are killed, tortured and imprisoned in Turkey, they are criminalized in Europe, where the states sell arms to Turkey and cover their buddy’s back. Police in different European countries recruit spies among Kurds. What does the pathetic United Nations even mean, if the same pattern of oppression is repeated over and over again? Covered up differently, modernized, and sold with a new name? It is not Marxist romanticism, and it is not a coincidence, when all conflicts always benefit the same powers and oppress the same people. We cynically sigh, when France promises to find the murderers of Paris. In an era of security, these women were watched by the police at all times, yet they were professionally executed. We don’t have pathetic conspiracy fantasies. We just stopped believing in the system a long time ago.

We don’t want revenge, we want our human rights, we want peace to come. Kurds are not the evil “terrorists” the world wants them to be. Our cause is legitimate, our cause is just. In the recent years, the real faces behind random civilian killings in Turkey that were blamed on the PKK were revealed, and it turned out that the “deep state” of Turkey was responsible for these incitements to increase tensions between Turks and Kurds. My father has been tortured in prison, his friends were abducted and killed under torture. He has not seen his village in over 18 years. He has never held a gun in his hands, but they call him a “terrorist”. These are no Hollywood stories, these are real tragedies that every Kurd in every part of Kurdistan knows individual and unique stories about. We are the nation that chants slogans at our funerals. We are the nation whose members, male, female, young, old, can give you an accurate definition of the word “fascism”, based on personal experience. We are the nation that has made several states finally agree on something: namely that, no matter what, Kurds must lose. We are Seyh Said. Halabja. Sivas. Maras. Zilan, Dersim. Roboski. We are countless deaths.

I am against war, but the PKK is the self-defense of the Kurds, it is a natural response, an outcome of all the pain the Kurds have suffered. It is the result of international policies that criminalize every step that Kurds make. It is a response of solidarity with cultural and physical genocides, great minds in torture dungeons, jailed parliamentarians, beaten mothers on peace protests, assassinated authors, fearless hunger strikers. Our existence has been denied by imperialist forces, who have shed the blood of our people with their tanks, and bombs and torturer minds, but who complain, when the Kurds decide that it would be just fair to raise a guerilla army to defend oneself against more national trauma.

The word “terror” has a lot to do with who is in power and who opposes the status quo that always benefits the same powers. A monopoly on the term “terrorism” is an inadequate and empty notion, especially when the greatest anti-terror agents have the dirtiest hands themselves. How fast people forget the spectacular alliances between the US and first-class dictators when it fits them. How fast people forget all the abducted people that mysteriously died, because they were killed by the Turkish state. How fast people in Europe forget that the reason their countries host so many asylum-seeking Kurds is that their governments sell weapons to Turkey, while their politicians superficially criticize this ally that they hold closest to their hearts.How fragile is history’s memory.

Organizations that are seen as terrorist, can be scratched off the terror list with only one signature, once it fits the new political situation of the big players. If you are a Kurd, a thought crime makes you terrorist in Turkey. A stone-throwing elementary school kid is terrorist. Ugur Kaymaz, a twelve-year old boy who went shopping with his father and was bloodily murdered was a terrorist. Terror. So much terror. It must be a Kurdish gene! Look at these terrorist women in Paris, how free, self-confident, intellectual, open-minded, and nice they were – so loved by their people, they must have been awful- real monsters!

If those media puppets that call Sakine, Rojbin, and Leyla terrorists had met these wonderful women, they would have scratched their heads on how such strong, independent, humane people, after all the tortures they endured, yet positive, yet struggling for peace, could be terrorist, yes, terrorists, the same way that “Al-Qaeda” is defined. So pathetic. In fact, these bigots would have felt bad about their own pitiful existence, while these women really put meaning in their lives and sought justice. They would actually feel bad about their habits of complaining about small things in their luxurious lives, while Sakine Heval grew even stronger after facing unimaginably terrible things and who yet believed in a peaceful solution, instead of bearing hatred. But I strongly believe that one day, these women will get the right respect that they deserve in the world. Our nation and the wonderful, knowledgeable people who stand in solidarity with us in these dark times, know the greatness of our most recent loss very well.

Sakine Cansiz was tortured, imprisoned, she fought in the mountains for a self-determined life, for my right to be free. It is incredible that a bullet in Paris took her life. It is not the death such a great personality deserves. Nobody deserves such a death, but she was supposed to see peace come, after all her sacrifices. She so optimistically faced the future…

It is not the time to be afraid. The times of timid Kurds are over. People who have been sitting comfortably and cowardly at home until now must occupy the streets. I remember how all these Turks in Germany suddenly admitted that they are Kurdish. Now it’s the time for everyone to bring this scared identity finding further and to claim the Kurdish struggle as the just cause that it is. How can we stand still in the face of a massacre against our identity? The bullets on Sakine, Rojbin, and Leyla hit all of us! The bombs of Roboski rained on all of us. We can no longer tolerate another loss. Our anger and pain must be channeled into activism. It is the time to realize that the fight must continue, we claim the death of these women as our responsibility to continue our struggle, because they did not die in vain. Sakine. Rojbin. Leyla. They will live forever. They dedicated their lives to our freedom and for peace in Kurdistan.

We have hope, in spite of everything. After the farewell ceremony on Tuesday in Paris, in which we, as women, took the lead to pay our respect and demand justice for this great loss of our nation and our humanity, chanting “Jin, Jîyan, Azadî” (Woman, Life, Freedom), we all knew that thousands of Sakines, Rojbins, Leylas were born. As their parents walked out of the ceremony hall, Sakine’s father said: “You will not forget my daughter!” A good friend of mine and the fallen women’s, let us call her Zelal, gave me a firm hug after we said goodbye to our three beautiful flowers in Paris. She, too, is a hero. She hugged me, wiped my tears away and said: “Our struggle must go on.”

Sehid namirin…

Woman holds up photos of Kurdistan's 'three flowers'

Woman holds up photos of Kurdistan’s ‘three beautiful flowers’

Copyright © 2012

3 Responses to Three beautiful flowers
  1. __Humanist__ (@Belcikali35)
    January 17, 2013 | 21:35

    ♥ #ThreeFlowersofKurdistan ♥

  2. Dr.N. Hawramany
    January 18, 2013 | 09:29

    This is a great loss for Kurdish nation, It is not easy to replace such dedicated and intelligent women in a male dominated Kurdish society which tend to suppress women and wants them confined to their homes!

  3. kuvan
    January 18, 2013 | 17:47

    may your pure soul rest in peace ,you three beautiful flowers,Amen

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