This Saturday: Show your solidarity with Kobane

London rally against ISIS, in support of the heroic Kurdish resistance

Saturday 1 November, 2-5pm Trafalgar Square, London SW1. INFO:

Global Day of Action in solidarity with the heroic Kurdish democrats who are spearheading the fight against ISIS fascism in the city of Kobane, north Syria.

Protests will take place in cities across the world this Saturday.

The London rally is organised by Peace in Kurdistan and the Kurdish People’s Assembly, with the support of the Kurdish Cultural Centre and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

The Kurdish defenders in Kobane need aid to defeat the ISIS terror.

SIGN the petition to urge the international community to airdrop supplies:

READ the International Appeal signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Jose Ramos-Horta, Helena Kennedy QC, Jean Lambert MEP, Dario Fo, Mark Thomas, Michael Mansfield QC, Peter Tatchell and many others:

SEE below the eye-witness account of Kurdish refugees fleeing the ISIS onslaught.

“The Kurds in northern Syria have established a de facto autonomous state of Rojava, which is secular, democratic and non-sectarian, with many of the human rights that are lacking in Syria, Iraq and Turkey,” noted Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“It is a struggle between democracy and fascism. The Kurds must win.

“Kurdish women are leading the defence of Kobane – unlike the often subservient, home-based role of women in many Middle Eastern countries. They are striking a blow against patriarchy, for women’s equality – the exact opposite of ISIS misogyny and clerical dogma. These women and the whole Kurdish resistance deserve international support.”

Read this eye-witness account of the plight of Kurdish refugees fleeing Kobane, by Hadi Kuranlıoğlu – a member of Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD) and Amnesty International. He visited the Turkish town of Suruc, which is close to the border with Kobane.

Hadi Kuranlıoğlu writes:

In Suruç, chaos and human tragedy are unfolding side by side. The town has a population of 60,000 and the number of people who have fled there as a result of ISIS terror has reached 130,000.

The Turkish Government has deployed around 10,000 police and special operations units to Suruç. The main road leading from Suruç to the border area is closed to all but official vehicles and government representatives. Permission is granted to no-one else. It is a state of emergency. Those who want to reach the border are only able to do so via surrounding villages and seeking out any route possible.

People (the refugees) are living on the streets, in shops, parks and the garden of the cultural centre. Everyone in Suruç is doing whatever they can to help but it is simply not enough. There is no overall coordination. Suruç is a poor town, but in their poverty people there have opened their houses and shops to their fellow human beings fleeing ISIS terror. The help is not enough. Not enough. The people of Kobane need urgent help.

Mesopotamia and Kurdistan have witnessed the battles of many powers. It is where Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the Mongols, the Sassanids, the Byzantines, the Ottomans and numerous other great powers have struggled to establish their dominance. The richness of its underground and overground resources has whet the appetite of many who have struggled to take it.

Once again Mesopotamia is flowing with blood. Once again, Kurdistan is an arena of war. War means blood, pain, leaving your home behind and migration. Kurdistan has not experienced such a momentous battle since the Mongol occupation. There is war from Sinai to Afrin.

In Kobane, there are many battles: between humanity and savagery; women and patriarchy; democracy and the Middle Ages; democracy and sectarian, ethnic double-standards.

The main street of Suruç is packed with people coming from Kobane. There is a mass of people, from young to old, sitting on the concrete floor. Their eyes are sad, their looks speak volumes and their hearts are broken. They have left their homes, lost people they love and ended up in an unknown land. Whatever they had has been left behind. Some have bare feet, having left with just the clothes they are standing in. They left their homes and warm beds for these streets. Those going back to fight give their last embraces and kisses before leaving in tears.

We were next to the barbed wire fence, the so-called border that divides the Kurds. Group by group, processions of people pass through the border, fleeing from death. Escaping death means leaving behind everything they have spent their lives working for and abandoning the bones of their ancestors. They arrive at the border in pain and tears. They are distraught. We are distraught.

Some carry bags of bread in their hands, some a baby, some a few possessions. They have been separated from their livelihood. On the other side of the fence, their sheep, cattle and vehicles are visible. On this side of the border, waiting for them, are their families, their relatives, their friends, those who share their grief.

In Suruç, people are not even able to cry at the human tragedy. War hardens people’s hearts. As children, we ask, ‘Why?’, and when we grow up we ask it again. The trauma I lived through many years ago, is today being relived by another child. For me, seeing the streets of Suruç is like looking at a photograph left to me as a memory of that time.

In reality, right now I can’t think of many better ways to summarise what is happening than that phrase. I am stuck with the phrase. For the Kurds, life has passed way beyond the threshold of what is normal.

‘Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal,’ wrote Albert Camus. I think we must be the, ‘some people’, he was talking about; because the enormous price being paid for this terrible war, and the incredible resistance being shown to maintain ‘normal’ life, is going unnoticed.

On 19 July 2012, Rojava the smallest part of Kurdistan, presented the Rojava Revolution from Kobane, as a gift to the world. The fate of almost 3 million Kurds who had been under the occupation of the Syrian regime for many years turned, from an uprising against a nation state caught in the midst of fundamental and chaotic changes, into a revolution.

The revolution has been under attack from that day onwards. Kobane, which was last under intense attack in July, has once again been under attack for many days. This attack is more intense than any before. The barbaric ISIS terrorist gangs, are trying to strangle the town by cutting it off on all sides.

ISIS, which with international support has turned itself into something of a phenomenon, has turned all its force on the YPG/HPG (People’s Protection Units), who are the only group so far to have defeated them, and is attempting to execute a civilian massacre.

Turkish soldiers stand at the border, their weapons are turned towards us. It is us on the Turkish side of the border, in the sights of their tanks and weapons. They have turned the barrels of their guns on those trying to help. It’s us they are afraid of. Their guns are pointing towards us, not over the border behind them. A mentality that sees citizens as enemies. It has been with us for years. It’s still with us: the refusal to tolerate Kurds helping Kurds.

There is an announcement that we should move away and leave the area. When young Kurds and other people gathered there fail to move away, the water bombs and tear gas begin to fall on us. We stay under the smoke. Our throats burn and we gasp for breath.

The border has turned into a battleground. Weapons, gas bombs, water cannon and soldiers with batons are employed. Kurdish people have been enduring this ordeal for years – with sugar, lemon and simple hand-embroidered cloths to cover their faces. A disproportionate war: on one side, there are youths with stones and on the other, a fully-equipped army.

The Suruç plain has turned into a battlefield. The clashes began at 9am and continued until 3pm. People were wounded. People fainted from the gas. Reading about war in books or watching it on the TV is not the same as watching it in real life. To experience it in person, be part of it, to experience the fear, see families torn apart and embrace people you love before they go to their deaths is a different thing.

How many battles this land has seen. How many massacres. How many bloody encounters and how many different powers. The people who have borne the brunt of this are the Kurds. But now the fate of the Kurds is changing. It has to change. The Kurds will win in Kobane. Kurds will say, ‘No!’, to another replay of events. Victory for the Kurds is a victory for democracy. A victory for the people.

The (Turkish) Justice and Development Party’s Rojava plan was to allow IS to attack, make the people flee, establish a buffer zone and occupy it. The motive behind Turkey’s relationship with IS and their attacks on Kurds, is mainly to weaken the liberation struggle in North Kurdistan.

No matter how many times it is denied, no matter how much they say there is no connection, one of the forces behind IS is Turkey. 16 years after the international plot to capture Abdullah Ocalan (the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party), today the (Turkish) ruling class is in all out open war against his philosophy.

It’s not the Kurdish identity that they are trying to impede: it is Ocalan’s ideas taking hold. In that sense, the international plot still carries on.

The abandonment of Kurds in Kobane to their own fate, as they struggle to survive, is undermining the peace process in Turkey. The (Turkish) Deputy Prime Minister, announcing that we took in 4500 Syrian refugees over our border, declares that it gives us honour and pride. The whole world has seen how the Kurds from Rojava were beaten as they crossed the border. Which honour and which pride is it that he is talking about it exactly?