THE AFTERMATH

So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind’s roar,
But bind him to his native mountains more.
~ Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller (l. 207)

The Christian Science Monitor is talking about the feelings of Kurds after the protests in Amed and other cities in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and the tone of the article confirms a couple of things. First, that the Kurdish people feel without hope for the future under continued Turkish misrule and, second, there is the feeling that the situation is moving back into what it was during the 1990s.

Last October, Hêzên Parastina Gel (HPG) announced a “sharp increase of recruits joining the ranks of HPG guerrillas,” and predicted a doubling or tripling of the numbers of recruits in 2006 if the trend continued. That prediction may come to pass, especially given the attitude of one of the student protestors of the recent repression, as reported by the CSM:

“[T]he Turkish government’s harsh response to the protests – which spread to several other cities in the predominantly Kurdish southeast and even to Istanbul, resulting in the death of 16, including a 6-year-old, and the arrest of hundreds – has him thinking about going off to join the guerrillas of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

‘There are a lot, a lot, of other young people in Diyarbakir who are thinking the same way,’ he says.”

The people, especially the youth, are angry as a result of frustration stemming from massive discrimination against Kurds, as well as political, social and economic problems that have not been addressed at all. The majority of these youth are poor and from displaced families, situations which serve to exacerbate the conditions they suffer. With no apparent change in the status quo, the mountains, and HPG, become places of hope. No amount of Turkish propaganda aimed at labeling HPG, or the wider organization known as Koma Komalên Kurdistan, as “terrorist” can change this fact.

Meanwhile, back in Istanbul, we have this spectacle of a Turkish nationalist, one of two, who had taken hostages, were absent-without-leave from the TSK, and were reportedly protesting the Kurdish protests (Photo: AP):

But according to a report by KurdishMedia, the Mehmetçiks involved with this event were, in fact, pissed off because they were not assigned to “The Southeast.” They want to claim some heads and be proud to wear ears around their necks. Kurdish heads and Kurdish ears, naturally. What else can we expect when the Turkish Prime Minister gives security forces the green light for slaughter, by saying that all Kurdish “pawns” are fair game?

Of course, standing in “The Southeast” looking out, HPG gerîlas don’t look a bit like “terrorists,” as the CSM article continues:

But perceptions of the group are different here. The funerals of 14 PKK fighters recently killed in combat with Turkish troops touched off the protests, drawing thousands of mourners who then turned their anger against the Turkish police. Many here looked at the dead guerrillas as locals fighting in their names, not as terrorists.

Meyase Pehlivan, the mother of one of the PKK members buried in Diyarbakir, explained her son’s reasons for joining the group. “He was working for several years on solving this problem in a political way, but when he lost all hope he went to the mountains. He wanted to take some kind of action, so he joined the PKK.”

Her 25-year-old son, Muzafer, was the leader of the youth wing of the local branch of a pro-Kurdish political party and had been arrested several times before heading off to join PKK in 2003, Ms. Pehlivan says. “He joined because he wanted to fight for the rights of Kurds and the identity of Kurds,” she says.

This one şehîd had already tried the political route. This is the route that is preached to Northern Kurds constantly, by all kinds of hypocrites . . . and even by a few sincere people. This is the route of so-called peace and non-violence, the route which has never worked, as our şehîd found out.

It is not enough for Ankara to say, in effect, “Lay down your weapons, and then MAYBE we’ll talk.” The only thing that ever worked was violence. Why was it that Ozal rescinded the law prohibiting the use of Kurdish language? He did that because of some 15,000 Kurdish gerîlas taking arms against the state in a legitimate armed struggle. From Dersim, in 1937, until Şemdinli, on 15 August, 1984, Kurds engaged in no violence, they were patient, and yet they were not permitted to speak their own language, nor did they even officially exist. So it was violence alone that earned this right. It was violence alone that forced Ankara to admit the existence of the Kurdish people.

It is very hard to deny that someone exists when that someone is making you bleed.

The serhildan in the North was not merely a chain of demonstrations or protests, but an actual spontaneous mass uprising, hence my use of the word, “serhildan.” Even the editor of the Hewlêr Globe recognizes this, but I will disagree with him over what he refers to as a political dilemma. The very nature of spontaneous serhildan by the people is a message, not only to the Turkish government, but to Kurdish organizations as well. It is the voice of the people speaking their frustrations with a system that has unjustly enslaved them for too long.

They must be heard and, I believe, they will be heard. But not by Ankara.

The people are sick and tired of a lot of hot air and empty words from politicians. They are angered by the injustice and discrimination, and they are disillusioned with the cosmetics that pass for cultural and political rights. The time of waiting for vacuous promises to materialize is over.

Ankara is unwilling to provide justice. Let the Confederation step in and fill the vacuum. Let them continue to walk softly along the political route but let them not be afraid to wield the big stick.

And let no one who loves the Kurdish nation call it “terrorism.”

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