In one of the most colourful and lively demonstrations in recent years, thousands of Kurdish women filled the demonstration area in Diyarbakır both in celebration of International Women’s Day and in protest over femicide, violence, increasing poverty and political oppression.
Thousands of women in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır (Amed) flooded to join the demonstration for 8 March International Women’s Day on Tuesday in defiance of attempts by the police to stop them.
The demonstration was organised by the Dicle Amed Women’s Platform with the motto ‘Dem dema azadiya jinan e’ (‘Time for women’s liberation’)
Women chanted slogans, ‘Jin, jiyan, azadî’ (‘Women, life, freedom’) and ‘We’ll resist and prevail’.
Before the addresses, a moment’s silence was observed for Garibe Gezer, the Kurdish political prisoner was subjected to torture and sexual assault for a long time in prison and subsequently found dead on 9 December 2021 in her prison cell under suspicious circumstances.
Berfin Polat, the representative of the Dicle Amed Women’s Platform made the first address, condemning femicide and violence against women.
İnci Güler, a woman who has been participating in a Justice Vigil against rights violations in prisons for nearly four months, called in her address for the release of ill prisoners and prisoners who are kept in jail over arbitrary disciplinary proceedings despite having served their sentences.
Güler celebrated the Women’s Day in memory of Aysel Tuğluk, a prominent Kurdish politician diagnosed with dementia and denied release despite her medical condition.
As Garibe Gezer’s mother, Halime Gezer, stepped up to make an address, the demonstration area shook with applause and zılgıt, an exclamation of rage or suffering. The mother said, “Every one of you is Garibe,’ and made a call for the release of all political prisoners in her address.
The Kurdistan Women’s Communities (KJK), an organisation established in 2014 to build democratic confederalism under the leadership of women with the objective of a democratic, ecological and gender liberated society, issued a statement on the occasion of 8 March Women’s Day.
Observing that the year 2021 saw both gains and setbacks for the international women’s movement, the statement said that this was not unusual, because, “while on the one hand women’s pursuit for freedom and equality is rising, the patriarchal system tries to counter this most dynamic struggle of our age by organising and mobilising misogyny and sexism.”
“The systematic attack by fundamentalist forces on women’s rights under the mask of religion or moralism, the targeted killing of female community leaders, increased sexual and physical violence are expressions of this patriarchal aggressive war, which aims to prevent the women’s revolution from occurring,” it continued.
Pointing out that ‘democratic confederalism’ was viewed, on the basis of practice, as the political structure needed to organise the women’s revolution, thus enabling a transition to ‘the age of women’s liberation’, the statement added:
“Freedom is not something to be postponed to an unknown date in the distant future. It is essential that we do not separate our lives from our struggles, but live for what we stand for and demand it now (…) Therefore, we need to liberate our relations, partnerships, friendships, and families, and fill our living spaces with a culture based on freedom, communalism, democracy and ecology.”
It also warned against the ideology of liberalism which it said was “the main instrument of capitalist modernity to integrate women’s movements into the established system.”
“The appointment of women to posts within the capitalist state order under the pretext of ‘gender equality’ should be assessed critically, as often they aim to undermine the women’s movement’s demands,” it went on.
“The same applies to attempts to divide the women’s movement by creating artificial hostilities (…) We should not allow the tactic of ‘divide and rule’ to infiltrate our struggle and must respond to such attempts by strengthening our unity.”
“World Democratic Women’s Confederalism might act as the ground for strengthening this unity through building up the women’s autonomous system in the world. The more we organise ourselves autonomously the more we’ll be able to change it. Only if properly organised will we be able to liberate ourselves and life itself. In this sense, on the occasion of 8 March, we call upon all women, in Kurdistan and around the world, to take their part in the women’s revolution through organising themselves. We call on all progressive, revolutionary and freedom-seeking women’s movements and groups to collectively build a World Democratic Women’s Confederalism together with us and with our organised sisters from all around the world.”