The image of 3-year old Alan Kurdi’s small body on a beach in Turkey quickly became emblematic of the current refugee crisis. Today, we received this letter written by Alan’s father, Abdalla, and Anwar Muslim, which he wrote from Kobane where he has returned. 

Letter from Abdalla Kurdi, father of Alan Kurdi

Dear friends,

There is very good information about the situation in Syria and more generally in the Near East.  The region is involved in a local and international power struggle. Our Syrian homeland has become a focus of this struggle, in which there is now neither security nor economic stability. This is the reason that people have packed up, leaving the country of their fathers and grandfathers for other countries, in hope of finding security and a humane life.

The victims of such a power struggles is always the civilian population. For reasons both of political and economy security, I like so many blameless others have thus been forced to leave my homeland. I initially fled to another area of Syria and from there abroad, where I became the victim of smugglers and people traffickers, those who profit from other people’s unfortunate fates. The price was too high. I have lost my wife and both of my children. And yet my tragedy is not the first and will not be the last. It is likely that hundreds of families have been extinguished in the same way.

I am now back in the land of my ancestors, and will remain here with the graves of my children and my wife. This earth is soaked in the blood of martyrs who have defended Kobane. I am writing this letter together with a representative of the democratic self-organisation of Kobane founded by those who have defended this city against the humanity’s enemies. Before the eyes of the world, in the 21st century, people have been slaughtered, and women and girls dragged away.

Dear friends, I do not want anyone from this region, whether Kurd, Arab, Assyrian or Armenian, to go through what I have gone though. And yet, historically, these people have gone through far worse than I have. Who among them does not remember the genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Jews in the twentieth century? An important step on the road away from an ideology which opposes the value of humanity, is that we live together in collective self-administration, in democracy and in brotherhood.

I am sending this letter from Kobane, the city which has lived through war for four years. It was and still is a target of ISIS and other groups such as the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham. Eighty per cent of the buildings, institutions and infrastructure have been raised to the ground, not only in Kobane but also in the surrounding villages and provinces. There is no longer any standard of life, only the will of the population, bound to the earth of their fathers and grandfathers. Resistance, however, does not fill bellies, nor heal the injured, and the children can no longer go to school. We want to live in freedom in our homeland, upon our earth. Please, help us!

Many thanks that your governments have taken in thousands of refugees. That is a great act of humanity – but is it a permanent solution, ladies and gentlemen? We love our homeland, as you love your country. We would not emigrate and leave our homeland, if it were not that terrorist violence has forced us to do so. Only the democratic self-administration and our institutions, such as the YPG (People’s Protection Units), protect us and try to support us in carrying out the daily necessities of life. We beg of you to recognise such self-administration as part of Syria’s future, and to build a new, free society with it. It would be of great help to me and my people, as well as other ethnic groups who live in this self-organisation. In this way we can contribute to the ending of the human tragedy in my homeland.

I am grateful also for your sympathy for my fate. This has given me the feeling that I am not alone. An essential step in ending this tragedy and avoiding its recurrence, is support for our self-organisation.

Along with our democratic self-adminsitration, I send my greetings and thank you for your attention.

Abdalla Kurdi, father of Alan Kurdi

Anwar Muslim, Representative of the democratic self-organisation

Kobane, 12.09.2015