“Peace in Kurdistan stands in solidarity with Kurdish publishers, writers, musicians and creatives artists and all the Kurdish people who are protesting at this act of state censorship. We call for the ban to be lifted and for the Kurds to be allowed to exercise the right to free expression, publishing and musicianship. Defend the rights to free expression. This is an attack on everyone of us.”
PEACE IN KURDISTAN
DEFEND KURDISH FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Solidarity with Kurds protesting the ban on their publications and music
On January 26, 2022, a landmark case opened in Germany on a ban imposed in 2019 on leading Kurdish publisher, Mezopotamien Verlag and Kurdish music distributors, MIR Multimedia. The outcome of the proceedings now before the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig will be critical for the future of Kurdish freedom of expression inside Germany and throughout Europe.
On 1 February 2019, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior imposed the ban on the leading Kurdish publisher, Mezopotamien Verlag and music distributors MIR Multimedia charging them both with supporting a terrorist organisation. According to reports they are alleged to be “sub-organizations of the PKK”.
The action led to the German authorities to seize what has been estimated to be the world’s largest Kurdish music archive along with publisher’s stock amounting to around 50,000 volumes. This represents an enormous suppression of Kurdish literature and culture by a European state, possibly the largest single move against Kurdish culture outside Turkey.
Unsurprisingly, Ankara welcomes this clampdown, which effectively marks an extension of repressive Turkish state policy inside the European Union.
Facing total suppression of Kurdish culture and self-expression in their homeland, Kurdish communities in exile have long expected to enjoy the freedoms and rights that are cherished by all European citizens. They have exercised their rights to self-expression, studied their culture freely, developed their musical traditions and explored their literature through verse and other writings. These works and publications have enabled Kurdish people to pass on their heritage and history to younger generations who have been born in exile and grown up with no direct knowledge of their culture and traditions. Publishers and music distributors have provided a vital function in keeping Kurdish culture alive.
The suppression of these two leading publishing organisations in Germany is an outrageous attack on the rights of the Kurdish people. It is also a betrayal of the fundamental principles of liberty and freedom of expression that were once seen as Europe’s main legacy to human society and the advance of modern civilisation.
That the German state is now taking such extraordinary repressive measures against a minority migrant community who have sought refuge within German society is a deeply worrying development. It effectively means that the civil rights long taken for granted are to be denied to those who seek to escape from the savage and unrelenting repression that they face in their country of birth. This deplorable action leaves Germany open to the charges that it is acting on behalf of Turkey and that, in fact, it has become little more than Turkey’s sycophant and flunkey.
Peace in Kurdistan stands in solidarity with Kurdish publishers, writers, musicians and creatives artists and all the Kurdish people who are protesting at this act of state censorship. We call for the ban to be lifted and for the Kurds to be allowed to exercise the right to free expression, publishing and musicianship. Defend the rights to free expression. This is an attack on everyone of us.
29 January 2022
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid: 07846 666 804 & Melanie Gingell: 07572 430903
Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Maggie Cook, UNISON women activist; Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Jill Evans, former MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Prof Dr. Michael Gunter, Secretary-General, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), Rahila Gupta, journalist, Nick Hildyard, policy advisor, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, former MEP, Dr Les Levidow, Open University, Elfyn Llwyd, John McDonnell MP; Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, David Morgan, journalist, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Dr Thomas Phillips, Liverpool John Moores University, Trevor Rayne, writer, Joe Ryan, Bert Schouwenburg, International Trade Union Adviser; Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, PIK Trade Union Liaison Officer, Jonathan Steele, journalist, Steve Sweeney, journalist, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Federico Venturini, Associate Researcher, University of Udine, Italy; Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward, former MEP, Kariane Westrheim, Chair, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC); Hywel Williams MP.