"'Beware my body and my soul, beware above all of crossing your arms and assuming the sterile attitude of the spectator, because life is not a spectacle, because a sea of sorrows is not a proscenium, because a man who cries out is not a dancing bear.'"
AIMÉ CÉSAIRE (Cahier d'un retour au pays natal,1938)
On January 9th, 2013, Sakine Cansiz (Sara), Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) Paris Representative Fidan Doğan (Rojbin), and Leyla Şaylemez (Ronahî), an organizer for the PKK’s youth movement, were shot dead in their Paris office.
"...For all these dull dead men in their grey suits whose whips beat us
senseless there is an angel to wake us, before dawn, between one
footfall here and the next, before day breaks, on these damp drunk tram
tracks heading towards winter walking head bent to the sound the song
the voice of free men and free women whose hearts and dreams are the
lungs of the world
Ahmet Hüsrev Altan, the Turkish writer and journalist, was rearrested on 12 November, 2019,
just a week after his release from prison over alleged links to the
failed 2016 coup. He had earlier been serving an aggravated life
sentence in prison for the bizarre charges of “sending subliminal
messages to coup conspirators” (via a TV interview) on the eve of the
July 2016 failed coup in Turkey.
“Wounds are so deep and painful in these countries that in order
to clean those wounds you have to use your pen like a scalpel. We are
forced to go outside literature and write directly political pieces.
Writing becomes engulfed by politics.” (Ahmet Altan, Times Literary Supplement)
Ahmet Altan released his memoir of his arrest and detention in March 2019: I Will Never See the World Again.
In reality, his arrest at dawn, like that of his own father 45 years
previously, is a result of his courageous criticism of the
now-oppressive Erdoğan-AKP regime in Turkey as well his outspoken
defense of the rights of Kurds, Armenians and ‘Free Speech’.
The poems collected in this volume are presented to Abdullah Ocalan on his 70th birthday on 4 April 2019.
They are each a gesture of solidarity and token of friendship for
Ocalan himself and for the Kurdish people from whom he is inseparable.
Each poem is an expression of admiration for the spirit of the Kurds,
inspired by their resilience, resistance and belief in the joy of life.
The remarkable awakening of the consciousness and political activism of
the Kurdish people in recent years has been engendered by the
remarkable leadership and writings of Abdullah Ocalan. Despite enduring
decades of incarceration removed entirely from the world, his people and
denied all human contacts, Ocalan still communicates through his words
and as a living example of the essential strength of the Kurdish spirit.
He will not and cannot be silenced.
The immediate context for the publication of this book is the mass
hunger strike waged by Kurds within Turkey and the diaspora for the
freedom of Ocalan. There is also, at the time of going to press, the
mounting political crisis within Turkey reflected in the dramatic
collapse in support for Erdogan’s party, the AKP, in the recent
elections. That poll result is a welcome sign that change is on its way
and it is about time too.
But this volume looks forward to a time when Abdullah Ocalan himself
will be able to read the poems contained in its pages at leisure and in
freedom. That will be an important milestone in the liberation of the
Kurds as a whole and only then will our task have been achieved.
We hope these poems will move you and inspire you into taking action in support of the Kurdish people.
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
"This place is Rojava, the Federation of Northern and Eastern Syria,
where Kurds, together with Armenians, Yazidi, Circassians, Christians,
Turkmens, Arabs, Assyrians are dreaming boldly, and, equally boldly, are
trying to make these dreams come true." [Orsola Casagrande]