Brighton Kurdistan Solidarity Festival Friday, 26th October 2018

Save the date!

Kurdistan Solidarity Fest 2018 is coming up on Friday, 26 October at the Cowley Club.

Music lineup and further details to be announced soon, but will include a minimum of two musical acts and delicious feast.

Donations will benefit the Anna Campbell (Hêlîn Qereçox) memorial mural fund.

Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/253271658668160/

BKS

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Belki Sibe film, October fundraising speaker tour.

Belki Sibe is a film that is being made about Anarchist volunteers in the YPG. The filmmaker is now in the UK and has already spoken in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.

Clips of the film are being shown and there is time for a Q&A.

The events are being organised as a fundraiser, with money raised going towards the costs of finishing the film.

We aren’t being ‘southernist’, this only came in today, it’s at LARC tonight!

The mass protests in Baghdad and Southern Iraq continue

By Zaher Baher: Iraq-Sulaymaniyah 24/07/2018

The protests in Baghdad and Southern Iraq still continue and have entered the 3rd week now. So far the protesters have been able to protect their own  independency and none of the political parties or the regional governments  have been able to tame or control them.

While some of the media outlets, particularly Al Jazeera tries to discredit the protesters and describe them as foreign-backed  groups and agents of the United States of America (USA). However, the Iraqi government, to certain extent, acknowledged the legitimacy of the protesters’ demands.  The Iraqi Prime Minister, Hadier al-Abadi agreed to spend $3 million to meet some of the demands of the people.

In fact , there is no doubt that USA, Iran, and the other neighbouring states try to domesticate the protesters, as they  want to intervene in Iraq, to control it to remain in a weak position for their own interest. However, they know that the collapse of the Iraqi government under the pressure of mass protests, demonstrations or uprising is not in their interest.  The “Arab Spring” has given them a good lesson .

It is absolutely certain that the  demands of the people are legitimate. The people have been suffering for so long and now have no choice but to force the government, through their uprisings, to meet some of their demands.

The protests, which started on 08/ 07/2018 triggered when the Iranian authority switched off the electric power from Basra when the
temperature was around 50 degrees. The protests are getting  bigger and bigger and have extended to Baghdad and various other towns and cities in southern Iraq.  See the link : http://anarkismo.net/article/31071

On Sunday the 22nd for the third time, thousands of protesters gathered in Al Tahrir Square in Baghdad and confronted by the heavily armed Iraqi police and security forces. According to the Human Rights Commission report until last Friday, the 20th of July, 14 protesters have been killed,  729 injured and another 757 have been detained .

Furthermore, on the same Sunday the protesters managed to occupy an oilfield  in Nasiryah . According to Almada Daily Political Newspaper, the protesters detained 75 of the workers and other staff members of the oilfield.   The demands of the protesters were including clean water, increasing wages, and employing 270 more workers. Although, the authority claim that no one has been detained by the protesters, however, it confirmed that the oilfield has been occupied and negotiation between the authority and the protesters was going on.

In fact we do not know whether the protesters will be able to achieve all their demands or not , but we know for sure that they discredited the politicians, the political parties and the government. In my opinion the struggle of the people has progressed and left the sectarian war behind. They have begun  to realise the fact that whoever rules them is, more or less, the same. Perhaps the only difference between the  rulers is the different ways of exploitation, dictating and robbing the people.

Mass Protest in Central and Southern Iraq

Zaher Baher: Iraq- Sulaymaniyah 16/07/2018

It looks like the US and Western Countries’ propaganda, and the illusions of religion and nationalism, are no longer working for the people in central and southern Iraq. It might be that the time has arrived to end the sectarianism between Shia and Sunna.  It’s fifteen years since the collapse of Saddam Hussain and there has been thirteen years (2005) of Shia government. The failure of the election process and parliamentary system should have given both Iraqi Shia and Sunna the lesson that the real changes cannot happen through this process and establishment. This was probably also the main reason only 38% of the electorate participated in Iraq general election in May this year.

During this period the real winners were the politicians, businessmen, government ministers, heads of government departments and the foreign companies. The loser are the ordinary people who has lost everything – even the little they had under Saddam Hussein’s regime. In addition, people has been suffering badly at the hands of corruption, privatisation, injustice, unemployment, a sectarian war, the widening a gap between rich and poor and lack of gas, electric and clean water.

People in central and southern Iraq obviously don’t want to continue living this kind of life. For almost a week the people of Basra (a city rich from oil and gas and controlled by the central government and foreign oil corporations) have been fighting the authorities. The oil companies employ thirty thousand people – none of them from Basra.

Basra is the 3rd most important city in Iraq after Baghdad and Mosul where over five million people live. They have suffered terribly at the hands of the local authority and foreign companies. They have no decent health treatment or education.  According to one Iraqi report 48% of Basra’s residents have been diagnosed with a type of cancer whose cause has been linked to depleted uranium.  Because of all this, the people of Iraq, especially those in the south and central area had no choice but to fight back against both local and central government.

Protesters in Basra have occupied many government’s buildings and offices and are involved in street fighting with the police and security forces.  People have also set fire to offices and the headquarters of political parties in the city.

Since Friday 13th July protest have spread to many other towns and cities including Nasiryah, Maysan, Qadisiyyah, Karbal, Thi Qar , Babil and Najaf. In Najaf, the most Holy Shia City in Iraq, protesters managed to occupy and take control of the airport. In Basra they are trying to take control of the oil fields and refineries to stop oil being exported. On Saturday afternoon further protests started in four neighbourhoods of Baghdad very close to the Green Zone (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Zone) – a hugely sensitive place in Baghdad.  It seems that the central government has now imposed a night curfew in certain areas of Baghdad.  Other reports talk about the cutting off of the main road by the government  between Baghdad and Kirkuk.

The situation is so tense that Haider al-Abadi, the Prime Minster of Iraq, shortened his visit to Brussels so he could return to Basra on Saturday to have a meeting with the authorities, politicians, and the heads of police and security in Basra.  Protesters tried to occupy the meeting hall but they were crushed by the police and the security.

We do not know the exact numbers of people killed or injured as there are many different reports. Some reports confirm over twenty protesters killed, more than 240 injured and over 1000 protesters arrested. In the mean-time central government doesn’t want the news of protesters and their activities reaching other cities. From Saturday morning until Monday morning Facebook was down and form Saturday 6pm until after 11am on Sunday there was no internet.

We do not know what the outcome will be, but so far political parties haven’t managed to restrain or control the protests. And, at present there are no religion demand, slogans, anthems or shouting “God is Great” from the protestors.

However, if people do not organise themselves in non-hierarchical independent groups in every work places, streets and neighbourhoods to coordinate their actions it is difficult to be optimistic about the situation. There is also the possibility that protesters face the dirty policy of the government  and the bloody tactics in killing of the state that push protesters to defend themselves with weapons. This could change their mass struggle through peaceful demonstrations and protests to a civil war. Recent history of the “Arab Spring” shows that civil wars only really benefit those in authority, the rich, the corporations and the system in general.

Urgent Call for Solidarity: Women’s Academic Delegation is being withheld at Iraq-Syria border

To the attention of the International Academic Community:

Since yesterday an international women’s academic delegation group is being withheld from crossing to Northern Syria, from the Semalka border between Iraq and Syria, to explore the humanitarian conditions, situation of women and future possibilities of academic collaboration and research in the region.

Although until recently this has not been the case, the delegation was informed that from now on only journalists and NGO members were allowed to cross.This means an impediment to academic freedom constraining the academics whose responsibility is to safeguard democratic values, social justice, gender equality and peace especially at times of turmoil under authoritarian regimes.

Below you can find the call for solidarity written by the delegation. They are asking international academics to contact the chairman of Selmanka border point to show their solidarity and ask for the authorization to continue their academic work in Northern Syria. As it is a delicate situation, due to the political circumstances and the relationship between Northern Syria and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq, the delegation especially asks the mails to be sent to keep a strictly academic tone in order not to aggravate the tension. With the support of the international academics they are hoping to resolve the situation soon enough avoiding the need for further steps to be taken.

For that if you will be contacting the chairman of the border or thinking of spreading the information in your academic networks please keep that in mind. (Contacts at the end of the call)

In solidarity

CALL FOR SOLIDARITY AND PROTEST AT SEMALKA BORDER OFFICE

We are an academic women’s delegation of five women that intends to travel to Northern Syria in order to explore the situation of women, humanitarian conditions and new forms of academic structures. We want to build contacts for future research in the region. We consider research to have a strong ethical and societal responsibility. Joint research and academic exchange could become part of the process to transform society towards deep democracy, social justice, gender equality and a peaceful joint life. We are a diverse group of a lecturer in transculturality and international relations (Dr. Mechthild Exo, Social Work Department of University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer), a student of philosophy and comparative political thought (starting Master at SOAS University of London), a medical and humanitarian expert (retired medical doctor), an expert of the Kurdish region of Northern Syria, and an interpreter.

The application for border crossing had been submitted with a letter by the vice-president of University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer. In the week before we traveled to Iraq we provided the border office with all requested documents, mainly proofing our ID and the university affiliation. When we requested crossing to Syria today, the border office refused with the explanation that only NGOs and journalists are receiving permission.

We ask you to protest the denying of permission to this academic women’s delegation and the hindrance to enter Northern Syria. For us this decision must be considered as a harm to the academic freedom. We particularly ask all academic and non-academic women to be at our side and build up pressure to the border office to enable our women’s delegation to meet and discuss with women of the new founded university in Quamislo.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mechthild Exo


Please contact to the Semalka border office and Dr. Hamid Derbendi:

hamid ahmad@krp.org or hamid.ahmad2@gmail.

00964 750 390 8589

00964 750 445 2794 (Whatsapp)

and p.peshabor@hotmail.com

“Better than a one- or two-state solution would be a no-state solution“: a Palestinian Internationalist in Rojava — Internationalist Commune of Rojava

This interview was first published June 2017 in Lower Class magazine. At that time the academy was still under construction – see here for the changes the last 12 months have brought, including the completion of the academy, the launch of the Make Rojava Green Again campaign and our first education together. Baz Soz is […]

via “Better than a one- or two-state solution would be a no-state solution“: a Palestinian Internationalist in Rojava — Internationalist Commune of Rojava

Book Launch. ‘Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey’. 11th July SOAS

“Only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts… I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people, are not free. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.”

—Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment, 10 February 1985

Join Black Rose Books, Peace in Kurdistan, Kurdistan National Congress UK, Kurdish People’s Assembly in Britain, Freedom for Ocalan Campaign – UK for a special event marking the release of Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey Edited by Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley and Dr Federico Venturini.

Wednesday, 11 July, 6.30 – 8.30pm at SOAS, Russell Square, College Main Building, Room DLT, WC1H 0XG Register for the free event here:

A solidarity donation of £2 is suggested to help cover our costs. Copies of the book will be available for half price! £12.50 Paper back

Speakers include: Dimitrios Roussopoulos political activist, ecologist, and publisher; Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley lecturer of political sociology at the University of Cambridge; Dr Radha D’Souza Reader in law at Westminster University; Julie Ward MEP (TBC); Jonathan Steele veteran journalist and author; Simon Dubbins UNITE international director; Joe Ryan Chair, Westminster Justice and Peace Commission. In addition, Adem Uzun, member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), will send a video-message.

The event will be chaired by: Dr Federico Venturini independent activist-researcher

About the event

 “It is an objective, extremely well-documented analytical report of Turkish state terrorism against Kurds. Shocking revelations make this an emotionally powerful book.”

Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, researcher and author.

A revolutionary imprisoned on an island fortress may hold the key to peace in the Middle East. From the confines of his Turkish prison cell, Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, has proposed a political solution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, leading many to describe him as the ‘Kurdish Mandela’.

His ideas on direct democracy and women’s liberation are what inspired the Rojava Revolution in northern Syria.

As Syria exploded in civil war and Turkey descended into tyranny, an international peace delegation of European luminaries led by Mandela’s lawyer twice attempted to meet with Öcalan at his prison on İmralı Island. This book is the fruit of these momentous delegations.

Your Freedom and Mine offers crucial insight into the dramatic history, reality, and prospects of the Kurdish Question in Turkey by combining historical survey, human rights reports, interviews, personal accounts, geopolitical analysis, and political philosophy. The volume is the remarkable work of 25 contributors, including politicians, academics, journalists, Iceland’s former minister of justice, veteran war correspondent Jonathan Steele, and key leaders inside the movement.

For information in UK contact Peace in Kurdistan:

e-mail: estella24@tiscali.co.uk

Mobile 07846 666804