From Rosa to Sakine: the Struggle of Kurdish Women

sara (5)Roj Women Association organized a panel for International Women Solidarity Day at the Kurdish Community Center in North London in the evening of Sunday 3 March. Our slogan, “From the Mirabal Sisters to Rosa, from Rosa to Sakine: your words are our words, your ways are our ways” reflected how the Kurdish Women see their struggle as connected to the struggle of women across the world.

Reknown book author and journalist Deniz Bilgin  and pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy party Amed City Chair Zubeyde Zumrut were joined by facilitator Turkan Budak, from Roj Women. The Co-Chair of the Western Kurdistan  Democractic Union Party, Sinem Muhammed, would have also joined the discussion but her visa was not approved on time.

A call for women’s struggles to remain united across the globe

Deniz Bilgin spoke about the connections between the international women’s movements and the Kurdish women’s struggle. “After the Paris killings, the murders of our three comrades Sakine, Fidan and Leyla we have been contacted by many different women organisations from all around the world. They all sent their condolence messages and showed solidarity with Kurdish women. From Latin America to South Africa, from the Spanish Basque Country to Sri-Lankan Tamils we received letters, and many also joined us in protests and the funeral of our revolutionary comrades”. Deniz continued on explaining that this was because of Sakine’s and her friends’ honorable struggle of 40 years to gain women’s and Kurdish people’s rights.

”The PKK” Deniz said “is a party, a people’s movement, an alternative to the capitalist system and to its militaristic-patriarchal system.” She argued that the Kurdish women movement has, particularly in recent times, become an example for sisters living under the oppression of other nation states, in male dominated cultures and under bourgeois dominance in general. The Kurdish women’s movement has a dream she said “we want another world, where one class has not power over the other, and one gender does not oppress the other. In this world we all can live equally and freely in an ecological, multicultural and egalitarian system. We know that Sakine, Fidan and Leyla were after this dream and for this they were chosen as victims of a brutal killing on the 9th January this year in Paris.”
Bilgin wondered why the world has not spoken about the Tamil woman activist who was assassinated too only months before, in the same city, in Paris. She complained that the world remained deaf, silent and blind to her case because the Sri Lankan nation state had weakened the Tamil’s movement few years ago by massacring them, including thousands of civilians.

“We feel the same sadness, the same sorrow for our Tamil sister” Deniz declared. “Our duty is to follow the path of Sakine, Fidan and Leyla to free ourselves as women and to free our nation, as well as other oppressed nations. We have the responsibility to be in solidarity with other women who suffer under oppression, whose bodies, labour and culture are consumed by capitalists, by men and by the state.”
This year is the 20th birthday of Free Kurdish Women Party. It is a time to celebrate the achievements of women after a long struggle, from Rosa to Sakine Cansiz. “The future” Deniz concluded “is ours; unity is important in order for our struggles not to be forgotten or neglected.

If women are not free, no one will be free.” We are not helpless, we are everywhere
Zumrut, active in the current peace talks with Öcalan, said in her speech that the negotiations are on-going and that there is hope. “Today” Zubeyde said, “women of Amed [Diyarbakir] celebrated International Women Solidarity Day in their own way. We are millions, we are everywhere. We have our own women’s movement, organizations and our own power. The Peace Mothers are our senior activists.”
“In Rojava [Western] Kurdistan, Kurdish women are creating a free state for people, they are in control of most Kurdish cities of Rojava. Similarly, Kurdish women in the Diaspora like you, have the duty to do advocacy and to make Kurdish women movement more visible in the eyes of the whole world.”

Zubeyde Zumrut closed her speech by reminding us that “We are not helpless, we trust our leader, and we trust our ideas.” After a video and question time the panel was brought to an end by facilitator Turkan Budak, Roj Women would like to thank all of those who attended and those who made this event possible.

On June 5th, 2013, posted in: KJKONLINE, Women's News by