Long Live May Day! Biji Yeke Gulane! Yaşasın 1 Mayıs!


Once again this year Kurds are celebrating May Day in Kurdistan, Turkey and all the capitals of the world, in the spirit of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year. This is because for Kurds, May Day is not just a day for workers and labour, but for the freedom and resistance of all the oppressed nations, classes and ‘others’ of the world; this is why May Day is also a celebration for Tamils, Baloch, Sindhi, Basque, women, students, religious groups and all oppressed peoples.

We are thousands here today from all these nations and groups, in exile, away from our lands, and we are in solidarity with the British working classes, of which we have also become a part of. But we have been made the scapegoats, the unemployed, pushed into menial labour as underpaid service providers of this system, which, in its economic crisis has targeted us more savagely than any other. Millions of people, officially and unofficially have lost their jobs, millions who did not have access to work have had their social security benefits cut, student fees have been tripled, access to housing and basic council services have been eroded, local community funding and services have become almost non-existent, and as the riots last year showed, there is a growing discontent among the working classes, which unfortunately has no political direction, at least not yet.

In Turkey, tens of workers are injured and on average four are killed daily in work related accidents. Some workers, due to their poor working conditions, die a slow death. Workers’ resistance, protest and struggle to gain their rights are attacked brutally by the police and many union members are detained and imprisoned. Workers’ are prevented from joining unions and the AKP government tries to pass laws which make it very difficult for unions to be formed and maintained.

Meanwhile in Kurdistan, military occupation, physical, social, cultural, political and economic genocide continues. On 28th December 2011 the Turkish Armed Forces, with the use of Israeli and US technology and intelligence, deliberately massacred 34 Kurdish civilians, 19 of whom were children! In the previous months they had massacred a family of 7 in South Kurdistan (Iraq) and used chemical weapons against Kurdish guerrillas, massacring 35. These were milestones in revealing the current denial, assimilation and elimination policy of the Turkish state and AKP government, which for a long time tried to fool everyone that its intention to resolve the Kurdish issue was sincere. Of course not a single whisper was heard from the EU states and USA, the upholders of freedom and democracy in the region about these violations of fundamental human rights.

In Turkish occupied Kurdistan tens of Kurdish people are detained and imprisoned everyday by the fascist AKP government for being Kurdish and struggling for their basic national and human rights. There are 13.000 people imprisoned on terror charges in Turkish prisons, mostly Kurdish. This is 1/3 of all the terror suspects in the world. Among these ‘terrorists’ are 6 Members of Parliament, 36 Mayors, 50 lawyers, 105 journalists, professors, human rights activists, unionist members, women rights activists and over 2000 children! These honourable people also include the socialists and democrats of Turkey, who are in solidarity with the Kurdish people and their freedom struggle. The leader of this freedom struggle, the great revolutionary Abdullah Öcalan, who has been in solitary confinement for 13 years on an island prison in Turkey, has not been given the opportunity to meet with his lawyers for the past 10 months. The ongoing isolation of Mr. Öcalan means that the war will continue and that Kurdish people will have to continue their historical resistance. We believe that without the freedom of Öcalan, similar to that of Nelson Mandela, there can be no solution to the Kurdish question. Öcalan embodies and represents the will and freedom of the Kurdish people but also a new life for the Kurds and other peoples of the Middle East, whom Kurds live side-by-side with.

At a time when the Middle East is experiencing major upheavals and the status quo being challenged, local revolutions are being hijacked by Imperialist forces, who are using Turkey as a base to launch their attacks against the peoples of the Middle East. The Turkish state, like the other dictatorships of the region must be toppled, but this can only be done with the solidarity of all the progressive, anti-state forces in those countries. The Kurds are aiming for an alternative system within Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, which is formulated as Democratic Confederal Kurdistan, is founded on Democratic Socialist principles and rejects the nation-statist structure of the region. This we believe is the way forward for a truly democratic, equal, socialist, united and free Middle East.

This is why on this important May Day, we are saying once again that the struggles of all our peoples, wherever we may be, must serve to free the peoples of our countries, regions and the world; this can only be achieved by forming a democratic-ecological-equal society, outside of the state structure, which bases its principles around democratic socialism and a political and moral existence. May Day 2012 is the perfect day for coming together with all the workers, women, oppressed peoples, students and revolutionary groups who dream of a free and better world.

Long Live May Day! Biji Yeke Gulane! Yaşasın 1 Mayıs!

FED BIR – Kurdish Federation in the UK – fedbir@gmail.com
Halkevi – Kurdish Turkish Community Centre – halkeviuk@gmail.com
KCC – Kurdish Community Centre – kurdscentre@gmail.com