Workshop by Yazidi and Arab women in Shengal calls for “Freedom for Öcalan”

The workshop organised by Yazidi and Arab women for freedom for Abdullah Öcalan started in Shengal. "We call on Yazidi and Iraqi women to strengthen their unity until they achieve their freedom and the freedom of Leader Öcalan," said the opening speech.

The Yazidi Women’s Freedom Movement (TAJÊ) and the Shengal Arab Women’s Assembly were organising a workshop with the participation of 160 Yazidi and Arab women in Shengal (Sinjar) on the occasion of 15 February, the anniversary of the international conspiracy against Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan. The founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was abducted from Kenya on 15 February 1999 with the cooperation of international secret services. This act of piracy, contrary to international law, had begun with Öcalan’s forced departure from Syria on 9 October 1998. The Kurdish community is taking the upcoming anniversary of his abduction as an opportunity to demand the release of the 74-year-old leader and a political solution to the Kurdish question.

The workshop started with a minute of silence for the women’s liberation struggle and all martyrs of the 74 genocides perpetrated against the Yazidi community throughout their history.

Members of the Yazidi Young Women’s Union and fighters of the Shengal Women’s Units (YJŞ) were also attending the conference under the slogan ‘We will ensure the physical freedom of Leader Öcalan with Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’. The hall where the workshop was taking place is covered with posters of Abdullah Öcalan and banners reading ‘Freedom for Leader Öcalan’, ‘Autonomy for Shengal’ and ‘Enough of fascism and isolation’.

Also a number of Iraqi female activists and members of civil society organisations, including Shahrazat Qasim Xelef from the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration, journalist Iman Qasim from Misan, Hamayi Al-Ziyadi, President of Civil Organisations in Nasiriyah, activist Nur Shemari, activist Leyla Sharifi and Bidur Jarah joined the conference.

The opening speech was made by TAJÊ Spokesperson Riham Hico, who said the following:

“We know that the forces that organised the international conspiracy, which has left 25 years behind, are the same forces that deepen the problems in the Middle East. It is well known that these forces profit from conflicts between peoples, racism, sexism and the plunder of land. That is why they are constantly deepening the war in the region. They are subjecting society to genocide in the person of Leader Apo (Abdullah Öcalan) and they do not allow the problems in the Middle East to be solved. Leader Apo is the key to solving the problems in the Middle East and Kurdistan. The solutions offered by Leader Apo do not allow the realisation of their goals in the region. The paradigm of democratic nation and women’s freedom is the love for peoples and nations. It is precisely for these reasons that they aimed to eliminate Leader Öcalan through the conspiracy. During the 25 years since the conspiracy, an inconceivable system of torture has been implemented against Öcalan. The Turkish state resorts to all dirty methods to aggravate the isolation imposed on him. All international states, and the CPT, are responsible for any situation that may occur in İmralı. States that remain silent in the face of this inhuman torture are complicit in the crimes committed. As TAJÊ, we think it is very meaningful to come together under the idea of a democratic nation in this environment of conflict. It is thanks to Leader Apo that we have gathered here today as all the components in Iraq. It is thanks to Leader Apo that we have become organised and able to govern and defend ourselves. We will continue our struggle until Leader Öcalan is freed. We call on Yazidi and Iraqi women to strengthen their unity, increase their joint struggle and wage an organised struggle against the conspirators until they themselves and Leader Apo are free.”

Newroz Uysal, former lawyer of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan, shared information about the isolation, torture and genocide system implemented in Imrali Island Prison where Öcalan has been held since 1999.

Among the topics discussed at the workshop were the aims of the conspiracy against Öcalan, his resistance against the conspirators, women’s freedom, isolation and the autonomy of Shengal. After four separate seminars moderated by Suham Şengalî, the participants raised their questions. At the end of the discussions, the final declaration of the workshop was read by Fatime Mustafa, member of the Arab Women’s Assembly, and Suham Şengalî, member of the TAJÊ Diplomacy Committee.

The final declaration is read out during the conference.
The final declaration is read out during the conference.

Highlights from the final declaration are as follows:

“We once again condemn with great anger the International Conspiracy against Leader Öcalan, which was developed on 15 February 1999 and has left 25 years behind. We respectfully commemorate the martyrs who became a ring of fire against the conspiracy with the slogan ‘You cannot darken our sun’. We discussed the aims of the international conspiracy against Leader Öcalan in a wide range of topics. We also discussed the resistance developed by Leader Öcalan against the conspiratorial forces. The participants of the workshop discussed Abdullah Öcalan’s ideas, resistance and philosophy and decided to establish a joint initiative and to increase the struggle against the international conspiracy.

In the final declaration, the following was stated about the establishment of a joint initiative:

1- As Yazidi women, we feel indebted to Leader Öcalan. We see Leader Öcalan’s freedom as our own freedom. We believe that revenge for the Yazidi women kidnapped, murdered and sold in slave markets during the genocide carried out by ISIS gangs is possible through the physical freedom of Leader Öcalan and the autonomy of Shengal.

2- We will continue to work in all areas to crush the İmralı isolation system, to ensure the physical freedom of Leader Öcalan and to build the Autonomous Shengal. As the Free Yazidi Women’s Movement and the Arab Women’s Assembly, we have made the physical freedom of Leader Öcalan the basis of all the work that we have dealt with in this workshop.

3- The most important aspect of the workshop was to discuss the ideas, resistance and philosophy of Leader Öcalan. As Yazidi and Arab women, we discussed the work we would do to spread the ideas of Leader Öcalan throughout Iraq.

4- In order to increase the struggle against the international conspiracy, a joint initiative will be established by Yazidi and Arab women and work will be started to this end.

5- Leader Öcalan argues that the survival and preservation of the Yazidi faith can only be possible through returns to Shengal. We will also start working to ensure the return of our people to Shengal at a higher level.

As the Free Yazidi Women’s Movement and the Shengal Arab Women’s Assembly, we once again call on all liberated peoples, women’s organisations and associations to join the ‘Freedom for Leader Öcalan’ movement. The time has come for the physical freedom of Leader Öcalan.”

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