“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends – so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.”
~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963.

In the coming days and weeks, we will be subjected to a great number of rumors, propaganda and lies about the murder of the Kurdish veteran, Kani Yilmaz and his bodyguard, in Silêmanî. I am certain of it because this is always the way it is. So I must say something before all of that happens because, in a way, Kani’s death closes the door a little more on a period of Kurdish history that has seen many great changes for the Kurdish people and has also seen many great mistakes.

No human being lives a perfect life because we are all imperfect creatures. I am sure that Kani’s life was no different because he was also a human being. In spite of whatever personal or professional imperfections Kani had, he spent his life in the service of Kurdistan and he has become a Şehîd of Kurdistan. He never gave up the dream, no matter what the difficulty and Kani faced many difficulties during his life, during his time in service to Kurdistan, especially Turkish-occupied Kurdistan.

When one goes to the mountains, it is a certainty that one will never return home. So it has come to pass for Kani.

I have no wisdom, no insight, no words of my own, really, to convey my own feelings on this death. In my own mind, I keep returning to the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who also spent his life fighting for the cause of his own people and who used the imagery of dreams and mountaintops in his public speeches. On the night before Dr. King was assassinated, he spoke the following words in Memphis, Tennessee, and they are the words that I keep remembering now:

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

I encourage everyone to make a close read of that speech, or to listen to it at the link. It has much to say to Kurds and to all those who hope for the best for Kurds and Kurdistan. It speaks to each Kurdish life that has been cut short in battle.

To Kani, şev xoş, heval.


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