Tuesday, May 25 2010
ANF 25.05.2010- Director Hüseyin Karabey, who has been selected at the 63. International Cannes Film Festival with his film project ‘Sesime Gel' (Come to my voice), is adapting a real story in Kurdistan in 1980’s into a film. Karabey was selected by the ‘Cinefondation-Atelier’ of the festival with his film project.There was no Turkish or Kurdish film at this year edition of the French festival. Karabey has been meeting international companies and producers for his film and said there is quite a deep interest in his film. ‘Cinefondation-Atelier’ is one of the important official offspring of Cannes. Hundreds of directors apply to the atelier every year to make their film projects become a reality, but only 15 qualified and compelling projects are approved. Director Karabey’s project is among the approved ones this year. Karabey spoke to ANF; “We have met with nearly 30 film makers from various countries. We still haven’t given a certain decision about who we will work with due to the high interest in the project.”FILM WILL IN BE KURDISHThe set of Karabey’s new film is Kurdistan. The 90 minute-long feature film will be in Kurdish. This film will also be both fictional and documentary like ‘Gitmek’ (To Go) and it will be shot in Hakkari. The story is told by a blind dengbej (a Kurdish storyteller, a bard). The film begins with gendarmes carrying out raids on houses in a village looking for guns.THE STORY OF A VILLAGE RAIDThe script has been written by Karabey with Abidin Pırıltı. Karabey says about his new film that “during the raid on the village, everybody gathers at the square. The soldiers then take a man from each family and say to the women “Bring your weapons to us and we'll release them.” But there are no guns in the village. It is here that the heroes of the film enter the scene. Seventy years old Berfê set on a trip with her 8 year old grandson Jîyan to find a gun and so save his detained son. Despite all their efforts, our heroes can’t find a gun without going to the city. And now the problem is how to take the gun to the village because they will certainly get into trouble if they are seen carrying a gun. That’s why they prefer the ridge way, where the blind storyteller (dengbej) give them a hand.” Setting also on the psychology of the soldiers who raid the village in the script Karabey observes; “The behaviour of the soldiers who raid the village is also being questioned. For example, a soldier is comparing Berfê with his mother while writing that he ‘can’t make sense of what he is doing’ in a letter to his own old mother.I WANT TO TELL THE STORY IN KURDISHAsked why he set on this project? Karabey replied that “the wounds of the crimes committed have not been healed yet. My aim is to report a real event through cinema.” About the language he says; “The story is taking place in Kurdistan, that’s why it will be in Kurdish. I also hope to help people in the West and Turks to like Kurdish. We must use Kurdish poetically and richly to give audience a wish to learn the language."TURKISH CINEMA STILL DOMINATED BY CONSERVATISMAsked about his opinion about the Turkish government so called "democratic opening" Karabey says; “Alteration, solution, status quo and blockage are all telescoped together. You sometimes have a optimistic look and sometimes can’t make any sense of what is happening. As a part of this process, to give my contribution to the solution, I am trying to tell what the Kurdish people live. The tragedies Kurdish people live contain many stories, which must be told.” Criticizing the film makers and artists in Turkey, Karabey notes that “artists are remaining passive, they are even behind the bureaucracy while they must be brave. The young generation is making an effort but in general, Turkish cinema is still dominated by conservatism."
uesday, May 25 2010
Saturday Mothers were on Galatasaray Square for 269th time and addressed the AKP administration; “We are the mothers of guerilla, soldier and miner who had been killed, you are the killer.”Hanife Yildiz, a mother of one of the missing, made a speech at the meeting, blamed the government because of deaths of soldiers, guerillas and miners by saying; “We are the mothers, you are the killers. We have been waiting for 15 years to find out the fate of our missing. How long do we need to wait?”The meeting, under a banner stating ‘Missings certain, where are the perpetrators”, was dedicated to Cemal Karabayir, who disappeared in 1980 when he was 24 year-old, and Servet Ipek, Ikram Ipek and Seyithan Yolur who were taken into custody by soldiers before they disappeared.Cemal Karabayir’s mother Fatma Karabayır, delivered a speech at the meeting: “Find our sons, fathers, husbands, friends and relatives, beloved ones and punish those responsible. We have been waiting for justice for a long time.”Disappeared Fehim Tosun’s widow Hanim Tosun also addressed the meeting and asked the AKP administration to end this pain which thousands of people have shared.Dancer Zeynep Tanbay spoke on behalf of Ipek and Yolur families: “There was evidence and witnesses about the Ipek brothers and Yolur’s taken into custody. Nothing has been done since then. Now Ipek Family will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). And we ask for justice to try Major Osman Duman, lieutenant colonel Turgut Arpi, lieutenant Sahap Yarali, sergeant major Sukru Gunlukcu and General Yavuz Erturk due to uncovered the disappearances of Ipek brothers and Yolur.
20 thousand of people marched against operations in Van. The march was organized by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Banned Kurdish politician and co-chair of former Democratic Society Party (DTP) Ahmet Turk addressed the mass meeting. Many mayors from BDP, peace keepers, members and representatives of NGOs, BDP deputies and residents of Van joined the march.Turk warned the government to be honest about the democratic opening policy instead of practicing a policy of destruction and negation against the Kurds. “We are ready for dialogue and negotiation as long as there are no more deaths,” said Ahmet Turk.The people chanted slogans such as: “We are waiting for Mr. Ocalan’s road map”, “Iran is not Republic of Islam but Republic of execution”, “Negotiations instead of operations”, “No silence against deaths in prisons”, “Salute to fighters of peace”, “Yesterday Aydin, today Serzan. Killers have to account”, “Long live Apo”.The march took place amid widespread security measures. There was a silent vigil for miners who had lost their lives as a result of cave-in, following the 2km march.Ahmet Turk underlined Kurds’ efforts for peace; “Serzan Kurt’s family wanted to donate his organs and his father particularly pointed out that the organs might save some Turk’s life. And he said that, the important thing for us was to save people’s lives, anyone even a Turk. This approach shows our effort for peace. Serzan Kurt died because of an ultra-nationalist attack but his father is thinking to donate his organs. This is very significant example of what we have to do in advance. We are going to support peace to save more lives.”Turk also called for amendments to articles 66 and 42 of the Constitution saying that they need to be changed to show that Kurds’ demands are being recognized by administration.Under article 42 “Citizens of Turkey are considered as Turks" and under 66" No language is allowed other than Turkish” says article 66th.
BBC Jonathan Head- More than 340 children in the Kurdish south-east of Turkey have been given long prison sentences in the past three years.Most of them were detained for taking part in anti-government protests, under a law banning any show of support for the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party, or PKK.The government says it knows the law, which requires a minimum five-year sentence, is too harsh, but it has yet to change it.Jonathan HeadWatch Videohttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/10145351.stmBy Jonathan Head BBC News, IstanbulHundreds of children in Turkey's Kurdish south-east have been jailed for taking part in anti-government protests, and are treated no differently from adults.Berivan Sayaca Berivan Sayaca, 15, is held at a high-security prison in DiyarbakirBerivan Sayaca is an attractive, 15-year-old Kurdish girl with black, wavy hair who loves horse-riding and playing the guitar.She is also a convicted terrorist - serving an eight-year sentence in the high-security prison in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish city in Turkey. How she got there is a tale that could be straight out of Kafka, that exposes one of modern Turkey's darkest sides.The Turkish armed forces have been fighting insurgents of the PKK, or Kurdish Workers Party, for more than a quarter of a century.More than 40,000 people are believed to have died in the conflict, on both sides.At the height of the conflict, in the early 1990s, hundreds of Kurdish villages were destroyed by the Turkish army.The inhabitants of those villages, and other displaced by the conflict, moved to places like Batman, a bleak city of dull concrete apartment blocks, surrounded by the featureless fields of the eastern Anatolian plateau.Berivan Sayaca's family moved there in the late 1980s. But her father then moved the family to Istanbul in search of work. He worked as a construction labourer.A mother waiting outside Diyarbakir prison Mariam Sayaca travels every week to see her daughter in prisonBerivan Sayaca had to leave school and go to work in a factory at the age of 10. The family went back to Batman to stay with relatives last October.On Friday 9 October, 2009, she went out to visit her aunt. She never came back.Adult prisonThe next the family heard was that she had been arrested by the police for taking part in a demonstration. These occur frequently in the overcrowded cities of the south-east.Hostility towards the Turkish state runs very high in Kurdish communities, and people of all ages come out to protest, often throwing stones, and occasionally petrol bombs, at riot police, who respond in kind with tear gas and water cannon.The only evidence police produced at Berivan Sayaca's trial four months later was a photograph of her, a scarf pulled across her face, apparently at the protest. She denies being part of it, or throwing stones.Continue reading the main storyBut under Turkey's severe criminal code, that was enough to convict her of supporting a terrorist organisation.More than 350 children between the ages of 13 and 17 are now serving sentences in adult prisons in Turkey on similar charges."It's not up to the judges, it's a question of the system," says defence lawyer Serkan Akbas.He explained that in the eyes of the law, by attending a demonstration called by the PKK, a person is automatically treated as a PKK member.All Kurdish protests are presumed by the state to be organised by the PKK. And membership of the PKK is a terrorist offence. Under the penal code terrorism offences apply even to young teenagers.Mr Akbas says there is little scope to defend youngsters like Berivan Sayaca, nor can judges give less than the minimum sentences mandated by law - if they did they would almost certainly be reinstated on appeal."I don't feel like there's a trial going on," he says."I feel like there's a war going on, and these children, for protesting against the Turkish state, are being punished for being on one side."Berivan's mother Mariam Sayaca is now staying in Batman, so she can make the two-hour journey every Monday morning to Diyarbakir for the half-hour meetings she is allowed with her daughter.She says Berivan cries all the time, and begs to be freed. Neither of them can understand why she is there, in an adult prison surrounded by hardened criminals and PKK militants.'Political will'Finding officials to justify this practice is difficult.Neither the police, the judges, nor the prosecutors involved in applying terrorist charges to children would talk to the BBC about it. They simply said they were bound by the law.Continue reading the main story Serkan Akbas, lawyer for the childrenSo what about the government? The governing party, the AKP, has promised a new beginning for the Kurdish minority, talking of a softer, more tolerant approach.But it was the AKP which passed the severe anti-terrorism law five years ago."When we passed it there was a lot of unrest, with 17-year-olds throwing petrol bombs," says Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin."The law was intended to deal with them - but obviously it is wrong that it now catches much younger children who are only throwing stones."But there is little sense of urgency among the politicians. The AKP accuses the opposition parties of blocking its efforts to change the law.The opposition says that with its majority in parliament the government could easily pass a new law if it wanted to.This lack of political will betrays the acute sensitivity of all politicians to nationalist sentiment in Turkey, which is easily whipped up and sometimes violent.Soldiers are still killed by the PKK - several dozen every year. They are always called "martyrs", and every PKK insurgent a "terrorist".Failing to adhere to this official nomenclature is a crime. One Kurdish newspaper editor was jailed for 166 years this month for writing and activity judged to be supportive of the PKK.A government minister had his nose broken at a soldier's funeral last month by a nationalist infuriated by what he saw as the government's soft line towards the Kurds.'State of mind'"Turkish society has a kind of paranoia about disintegration, secession," says Ergun Ozbudun, one of the country's most renowned legal scholars, who has long pushed for reform of the military-drafted constitution.The town of Diyarbakir Anti-government feeling runs high in Turkey's Kurdish areas"In the minds of many Turks a strong state, with a strong hand, is a must. In Europe and elsewhere in the Western world, the judiciary is primarily the protector and guarantor of individual rights and liberties."Here the picture is reversed, the judiciary is the protector and guarantor of the official ideology and the dominance of the state."Poor and unschooled in the Byzantine ways of Turkey's judiciary, Mariam Sayaca has no idea how to go about campaigning for her daughter's release.Nor how she can keep up the weekly visits to jail, with the family now split between their home in Istanbul and the house of their relatives in Batman."What if it was the prime minister's daughter?" she asks, clutching a photograph of her child."Could his wife sleep at night? Would she accept this situation?"
Press Gazette British Press Awards international journalist of the year Muhamad Sediq Kaboudvand remains in jail in Iran despite failing health. Journalists are among dozens of political prisoners facing imminent threat of execution in Iran.
Here documentary film-maker Fazel Hawramy writes about the plight of journalists and other political prisoners in Iran and urges the UK media to take note of their plight.
I have been asked to write 500 words about the plight of Kurdish political prisoners in Iran. The truth is I need 5,000 words only to describe the pain I felt when I listened to the wailing of Farzad Kamangar's mother when she realised her son, a teacher and a journalist, had been executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran on 9 May in Tehran alongside three other young men and a young woman.
Their lawyers and families were not present when they were executed. Indeed neither Farzad nor the other four - Shirin Alam-Holi, Farhad Vakili, Mehdi Eslamian and Ali Heidarian – were aware that they were going to be hanged.
To see the article, please click the link below:
Journalists and political prisoners face death in Iran
You are welcome to attend the next concert of The Maqam project at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Title: An evening in Saba Mode.
Date: Thursday, 03 June 2010, Time: 7.30pm, doors open 7.00pm.
Venue: Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH
Tel: 020 7258 2925
Admission: £10 (£6 concessions).
Booking: If you wish to buy your ticket in advance, (no booking fee) at www.thesantur.com
If you wish to pay at the door, you can reserve in advance by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating the names of persons requiring tickets.
Video clips from our 4th March (Hijaz) and 8 April (Ushshaq) concerts can be viewed at www.youtube.com/MaqamProject Event's page on facebook:
Monday, 24 May 2010
The Iranian Priest Board has again committed barbaric acts against the Kurdish people: Execution of five political activists and human rights activists in Tehran Sunday 9 May. Four of them were Kurds, one a Baloch. Just after, five members of PJAK were poisoned by the regime in the Dalaho Mountains. (PJAK is the party for a free life in Kurdistan.) The execution of the political activists, who has worked peacefully to promote peace and democracy in Iran violates the human rights convention which Iran itself has signed!
Farzad Kemanger was a teacher, Shirin Alem Hoyi fought for equality for everyone in Iran Farhad Wekili was father for three children, Eli Heyderyan was only an innocent student and Mehdi Islamiyan was a political activist who fought for democracy for everyone. They were by no means armed persons, only innocent civilians who wanted to make Iran a better place. In Iran, both human rights fighters and those who are fighting for democracy and equality, branded as either armed people, or ’’enemies of God’’. It also applies to the female activist Zeineb Jalaliyan and another student Kedri Husein, who have received death penalty. The Iranian court says they are ‘’Enemy’s of God’’, and they can be executed at any time. Enemy’s of God? Do they realize how stupid that sounds?
The Western powers close their eyes from the barbaric actions that Iran has committed and still committing to this day. The Western Powers put the most emphasis on their own economic interests, and to strengthen the political position towards Iran. Many western states have gone a step further and punched us belong to the Kurdish resistance movement as terrorists. With this the West has given Kurdistan occupiers free hands to commit further horrible crimes against the Kurdish nation. PJAK (Free Life Party of Kurdistan) requires that all those who have committed such acts must be arrested and made for an international court. Kurdish demands for a free and democratic life is every person's daily life, freedom of speech and each individual's rights.
PJAK condemns the execution of five political activists and the poisoning of the five PJAKs guerrillas. We make martyrs our promise to follow their path on the way to a peaceful, democratic solution till the Kurdish question is achieved.
Negar Enayati is member of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK), and city council member in Oslo, Norway and member of the Red Party
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Emine Ayan the female co-chair of Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (PDP) talked about their delegation meeting with Interior Minister and Pentagon authorities during their visit to the USA. “We told them that they must listen to the Kurdish problem from the first protagonists and spelled out the problems and the reasons which brought to the creation of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).”
In the first week of May, BDP opened an office in Washington. The BDP committee was there at the opening, among them BDP foreign affairs responsible Emine Ayna who spoke about the details of the US visit with ANF.
Stating that the policies concerning the Kurdish question are determined in the UU, Emine Ayna spoke as follows; “We think that the US is listening only to one part in this question; the statements of Turkish state and government are determinant on the US policies. We wanted them to listen to the same question but from our point of view. This is why we have decided to open a BDP office in the US.”
Ayna remarked that during the meeting of the committee expressed that the US must play its role well in the search for a solution to the Kurdish problem and Turkey’s democratization, adding; “the US granted Turkey a big role in Afghanistan, Cyprus, Iraq and in the Islamic matters but the US can play its role only after Turkey reaches a permanent solution to the Kurdish problem.”
Ayna pointed out that the internal problems of Turkey won’t come to an end unless the Kurdish question is approached democratically. Ayna added; “If the US has such a substantial influence on Turkey, it has to see also the Kurdish people living in Turkey and their demands for the solution of the Kurdish question.”
Ayna added that the USA knows that the Kurdish question in Turkey is in fact not a matter of right or freedom, saying; “They deal with the Kurdish question as an economic matter. The Kurdish question is however, a political one, it is a matter of identity, culture and disparity; which the US has failed to see yet.”
Ayna concluded; “We met them because we thought that the US must listen to the Kurdish question from its first protagonists.”
Meriwan- Eastern Kurdistan: According to HRAI report, the Kurdish artist and human right activist Mr. Muxtar Hushmend was arrested on Sunday 23 May in his house in Meriwan.
Mr Hushmend was arrested by Iranian Intelligent Agents and has been taken to an unknown place. They had threatened to arrest him after the general strike staged all over Eastern Kurdistan on Thursday 13th May in protest to the execution of five Kurds in 9th May.
It should be pointed out that the Iranian Intelligent Agents who arrested him conducted an investigation into his house and confiscated his computer as well as his personal belongings. They also threatened his family not to inform the Media about his arrest.
Following the initial comment of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that ‘'whether men, women or children, the security forces will react with disproportionate force’', several amendments were made to the country's anti-terror law, it is possible to charges children as terrorists and put them away for up to 50 years in jail. There are currently 2,622 minors serving time in Turkish prisons on the charge of terrorism.
Bokan- Eastern Kurdistan: According to Kurdish Newroz-TV the Iranian Government has escalated its pressure on the Kurdish nation following the general strike staged on Thursday 13th May.
According to Newroz-TV the Iranian government has locked all the shops that were shut during the strike. And within the attempts to terrify and threaten the Kurdish nation in Eastern Kurdistan, the Iranian Authorities have disconnected the shops and the stores with power.
The news reported that in the city of Bokan all the markets and the food store have been disconnected with power since 9th May and all the foods in there have been damaged and rotten.
It should be pointed out that 4 members of the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) were hanged by the Iranian Authority on Sunday 9th May. To protest against that, the Kurdish nation all over Eastern Kurdistan (Iran) staged a general strike on Thursday 13th May.
The Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) was founded in 2004 as the result of the systematic and continuous oppression of the Kurdish nation by the Iranian government. PJAK upholds the libertarian ideology of Apoism which advocates an ecological-democratic society with gender equality. PJAK’s main goal is to democratise Iranian system and to create a democratic con-federation for the long- oppressed Kurds.
Its initial objective is to limit and change the authority of the Islamic Republic of Iran and to democratise it in four fundamental areas; the nation, society, citizenship and to evolve the state into a self-governing institution able to deliver public services and to maintain public security.
For the past 6 years PJAK has been the most influential organisation of the Kurdish population in the Eastern Kurdistan and has the strongest popular support in this part of the Kurdistan. Three particular dynamics forces namely women, students and the youths have been increasingly joining PJAK with the aims of transforming their society. Women constitute more than 48% PJAK’s membership from the bottom to the leadership of the organisation.