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Newroz u sersala we Piroz be: History and Celebrations

A place for discussion and exchanging ideas about Kurdistan issues here, also a place for sharing article & views and analysis about Kurdistan .

Newroz u sersala we Piroz be: History and Celebrations

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:34 am

Newroz should be registered
as an international day by UN


Please click to enlarge:
1114

Every year on the March 21st, Kurdish nation celebrate Newroz (New Day), and the Kurdish calendar begins on this day as the first day of Spring, the first day of New Year

It is claimed that this tradition dates back to the saga of Kawe (Kurdish man) the Blacksmith. On the March 21st in the year 612 B.C., Kawe along with people’s solidarity eliminated the Assyrian tyrant Zehak and liberated the nations such as Kurds, Persian, Azeris and others. Zehak was an evil King who represented cruelty, abuse, injustice and enslavement of the people. People used to pray every day for God to help them to get rid of Zehak in favour of a pluri-national democratic.

On the Newroz day/ March 21st, Kawe led a popular uprising and surrounded Zehak’s Palace. Kawe then rushed and passed the King’s guards and grabbed Zehak by the neck. Kawe then struck the evil tyrant on the head with a hammer and dragged him off his throne. It was a clash between two opposites, primitive barbarity and modern rationality, backwardness mentality and civilized prosperity. With this heroic deed, Kawe set the people free and proclaimed freedom throughout the land.

Kawe ordered that a huge fire was lit on the mountain tops to send a message: firstly to thanks God for helping them to defeats Zehak, and secondly to the people, to tell them they were free. This is where the tradition of Newroz fire festival originates. Today, Newroz is not just a day for remembering, it is also a day for protest and resistance against oppression, injustice, backwardness and barbarity which the Kurdish nation continue to suffer from. Kurdish nation are deserve to be free.

Kawe as the sponsor of Newroz phenomena was a Kurd and that is why Newroz during the history up to now is much respected among the Kurds, and they are celeberateing it magnificently and gloriuosly.

Every year on the March 21st Kurdish nation in all parts of Kurdistan including villages, towns and cities as well as those who live in diaspora, are gathered to show their unity, joy as well as cry out for their need to freedom and democracy.

Newroz also signifies the celebrations of Spring and natural outgrowth of the earth rhythms. In the most of the Silk Road countries, Newroz announces the joyful awakening of the agricultural cycle of cultivating, planting and harvesting.

March 21st is the main celebration of Newroz, but for the next 13 days, it is common practice to visit friends and relatives, planting greens and seeding fruit trees and have cheerful gatherings in the fresh Spring air.

Traditionally, it is also a time to clean up one’s life. People tidy up their homes, wash rugs and draperies, decorate with flowers, and buy new cloths that they will use for visiting. Children enjoy the holiday because they often get presents of money, as well as blessing from their elders. The activities of the first 12 days of the New Year are considered, as indications of the year to come.

Newroz in its deep rational concept does not just belong to the Kurdish nation; it is a model and possession for all oppressed people in the world, to get freedom, democracy, gender equality, religious tolerance, and civilized prosperity, freedom of expression, individual dignity and national integrity. Newroz as a cultural meaningful traditions phenomenon is a historical symbol of liberty. In my view Newroz should be registered as an international day by UN, and all people across the globe should join us to enjoy it as a very old and historical symbol of liberty and mankind dignity on this planet.

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Newroz u sersala we Piroz be: History and Celebrations

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Re: Newroz u sersala we Piroz be

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:52 am

اخواتي واخواني الاعزاء تحياتي لكم جميعا وكل عام وكل نوروز وانتم بخير

لم يعد للكوردي إلا الاحتفال بعيد النوروز المجيد بعد ان تم تجريده من كل شئ ومعظم المجازر قد تم ارتكابها كانت خلال ايام عيد النوروز لتحويل العيد الى مأتم ولكننا سنحتفل بالنوروز لأنه لم يعد لدينا شيئا من تراثنا القومي غير النوروز...
بعد ان تم تقسيم واحتلال كوردستان من قبل الدول الكبرى فيما بعد الحرب العالمية الاولى وبموجب الاتفاقيات والمعاهدات الاستعمارية...
عملت الدول التي تحتل كوردستان والتي قامت بتفويض من قبل الاستعمار على ما يلي:
1- تزوير تاريخ الكورد وجغرافية كوردستان.
2- ارتكاب أبشع عمليات الابادة الجماعية بحق الشعب الكوردي واضعاف مقاومته وتغيير المعالم السكانية لكوردستان.
3- جعل الكوردي مواطنا من الدرجة الثانية وغير مرغوب فيه ومذنبا وملاحقا ونزيل السجون منذ ولادته.
4- سلب الكوردي حريته وممتلكاته وكرامته...
5- طمس التراث الكوردي وفي مقدمتهم اللغة والثقافة وكل ما يتعلق بهويته الكوردية.
6- تهميش دور الكورد السياسي والاقتصادي والاجتماعي ليس ككوردي حتى ولو أصبح سوريا وتركيا وعراقيا وايرانيا.
7- نهب خيرات كوردستان وحرمان الكورد من التنمية الاقتصادية والتطور الاجتماعي والموقع السياسي.
8- تلقين الكورد تاريخا وجغرافية وتراثا لا يمت بالشعب الكوردي بأي صلة.
9- شراء أصحاب الذمم المريضة بين ابناء الشعب الكوردي ليساعدوهم من اجل إطالة أمد احتلال كوردستان.
بالرغم من كل ما عملته الدول التي تحتل كوردستان وبالرغم من خسارة الكورد لحريتهم منذ انهيار امبراطوريتهم الميدية الكوردية منذ 2500 عام... فإن الكورد لا يزالون يفتخرون بكورديتهم حتى الذين تم تهجيرهم وابعادهم عن كوردستان الى جميع أصقاع العالم وحتى الذي تم تثقيفهم بلغات الدول التي تحتل كوردستان وتجريدهم من الثقافة واللغة الكوردية فإنهم لا يزالون كوردا في الارادة... وان كان لسانهم لا ينطق باللغة الكوردية إلا ان قلبهم ينبض بالكوردية وعقلهم يرفض الانحلال وارادتهم تسعى من اجل استقلال كوردستان وطنهم السليب.
وبالرغم من كل ما سبق لا يزال أحرار كوردستان لن يتوقفوا عن النضال حتى النصر واستقلال كوردستان واقامة الدولة الكوردية التي لا بد من قيامها عاجلا أم آجلا.
عاش الشعب الكوردي
وعاشت كوردستان دولة مستقلة
وعاش عيد رأس السنة الكوردية عيد النوروز المجيد
2719 كوردي – 2019 ميلادي

Newroz u sersala we piroz be

My dear sisters and sisters greetings to all of you and every year and all nowruz and you are fine

It is no longer for the country to celebrate the glorious day of newroz after being stripped of everything and most of the massacres were committed during the days of Eid Al-Newroz to turn the eid into a funeral, but we will celebrate nowruz because we no longer have anything of our heritage. National Non-Newroz...

After the occupation and occupation of Kurdistan by major countries after the first world war and under colonial conventions and treaties...

The countries that occupy Kurdistan, which have been compensated by colonialism, have worked as follows:

1-forging the history of the cordillera and the geography of Kurdistan.
2-commit the most heinous genocide against the people of the people and weaken their resistance and change the population landmarks of the two.
3-make ạlkwrdy a second-class, unwanted, guilty and prosecuted citizen and remove prisons since his birth.
4-took away his freedom, his property and his dignity...
5-blur the heritage ạlkwrdy and in their language language and culture and all about its identity.
6-marginalization of the role of political, economic and social cordillera is not as a answer even if it becomes Syria, Turkey, Iraqi and Iranian.
7-Loot the bounties of Kurdistan and deprive the cordillera of economic development, social development and political site.
8-teach the cordillera a history, geography and heritage that does not die in the people of any connection.
9-purchase the sick owners of the sick people of the people of the people to help them to prolong the occupation of Kurdistan.
Despite all the countries that occupy Kurdistan and despite the loss of the cordillera for their freedom since the collapse of their empire, they have been waiting for 2500 years... the cordillera are still pride by their reddit even those who have been spell and deported. About Kurdistan to all over the world and even the one who has been trust in the languages of the countries that occupy Kurdistan and try them from culture and language, they are still korda in the will... and if they still don't speak in the language, they won't be able to Beating with Kurdish and their mind refuses to decay and their will seek for the independence of Kurdistan and their homeland.
Despite all the above still free Kurdistan will not stop the struggle until victory and independence of Kurdistan and the establishment of the state of Kurdish that must be carried out sooner or later.
Long live the Kurdish people
Kurdistan lived an independent state
And lived new year's Eve Kurdish Christmas
2719 Cordelia-2019 my birthday

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Re: Newroz u sersala we Piroz be

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:02 am

Melayê Cizîrî (1570–1640):

    Without the light and the fire of Love,
    Without the Designer and the power of Creator,
    We are not able to reach Union.
    (Light is for us and dark is the night)

    This fire massing and washing the Heart,
    My heart claim after it.
    And here come Newroz and the New Year,
    When a such light is rising.

Piramerd (1867–1950) 1948 poem "Newroz":

    The New Year's day is today. Newroz is back.
    An ancient Kurdish festival, with joy and verdure.
    For many years, the flower of our hopes was downtrodden
    The poppy of spring was the blood of the youth
    It was that red colour on the high horizon of Kurd
    Which was carrying the happy tidings of dawn to remote and near nations
    It was Newroz which imbued the hearts with such a fire
    That made the youth receive death with devoted love
    Hooray! The sun is shining from the high mountains of homeland
    It is the blood of our martyrs which the horizon reflects
    It has never happened in the history of any nation
    To have the breasts of girls as shields against bullets
    Nay. It is not worth crying and mourning for the martyrs of homeland
    They die not. They live on in the heart of the nation.
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Re: Newroz u sersala we Piroz be

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:05 am

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Re: Newroz u sersala we Piroz be

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:57 pm

Happy Newroz from Britain
By GARY KENT

March is one of the busiest months for Kurds in Iraq who mark in quick succession the anniversary of the 1991 uprising, the chemical weapons bombardment of Halabja, and Newroz. And it has been busy for Kurds in Britain and their friends

The APPG was lucky enough to secure a debate in the Commons on the bilateral relationship on the same day as a Newroz reception in parliament.

On Halabja Day, I joined the Deputy Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and a Kurd, Councillor Mohammed Bakhtiar, the local MP and religious and other leaders as well as members of the Diaspora at the formal laying of a tree in Holland Park, which provides a permanent place where Kurds can gather on future anniversaries.

Last week, the APPG also organised a unique briefing for MPs with the KRG UK High Representative, Karwan Jamal Tahir, the Deputy Iraqi Ambassador, Nazar Mirjan Mohameed, and Alistair Burt, the Middle East minister.

It is the first time in my twelve years of activity on Kurdistan that the KRG and the Iraqi Embassy have jointly briefed parliamentarians and I see it as an encouraging symbol of improving relations between Baghdad and Erbil. Minister Burt made the point that the line-up would be noted and remembered as special given the wider tendency in the Middle East to keep grudges and sustain divisions over the decades if not centuries.

Part of me is wary given that much of this revolves around the character of the current Iraqi Prime Minister rather than a profound philosophical change in Baghdad to accept that Iraq is more than just another Arab republic in which central authority talks down to the Kurds or worse. But I am cautiously optimistic.

And it was also good to see the Iraqi Ambassador at the event in Holland Park and also at the European launch at the famous British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) of the Kurdistan Memory Programme.

It was organised by film-maker, Gwynne Roberts, who has been a regular visitor to Kurdistan since the 1970s and who did so much to expose Halabja to the world. The KMP screened three short and very moving films about Halabja and a new film about the struggle for survival of one Yezedi family against Daesh to a large audience.

One day, the KMP will become a national museum by the Citadel in Erbil and the Bafta audience was showed what it could look like when funds are found in coming years. The building has been designed by the world-famous architect, Daniel Libeskind who designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem (both of which I have been lucky enough to see) and One World Trade Center in New York.

Such a museum will put Kurdistani history on the world stage and help encourage "dark tourism," as does the Red House in Sulaimani. Some tourists will be attracted by this, some by archaeological and battlefield sites, and some by the wider natural beauty and hotels and restaurants. And some by all of that.

That in turn raises two other linked issues. The first is easier access and the second is amplifying messages to the world through film, a medium that can do so much more than the written word in lifting individual and collective stories.

One of the main aims of the APPG-organised debate in the Commons was encouraging a relaxation of the formal FCO travel advice that advises against all but essential travel and the need for direct flights. Such advice, which invalidates normal insurance, is under constant review and could in theory be changed within months. If it is changed it will make it easier for British and other people to travel to Kurdistan and also encourage companies and institutions to contemplate investment. That in turn will make a stronger commercial case for direct flights, which the UK government favours.

And my hope is that the British film industry can help build a film sector in Kurdistan to capitalise on the many locations for film-makers to compete with places like Morocco and Tunisia. And Kurdistan also needs film schools to grow local talent so Kurdistani stories keep nurturing global support and friendship.

And that also illustrates the need to reform the visa application system for Kurds coming to Britain. It has become increasingly difficult for Kurds to get visas and there is a rejection rate of about 70 percent. It flows from a wider system that, in the absence of interviews and ministerial and diplomatic discretion, encourages a "computer says no" response. Yet, mutually beneficial trade and investment, as well as inward tourism, buying medical treatment, and seeing families, require easier access. Changing the system is a priority.

    In the meantime, Happy Newroz to one and all

http://www.rudaw.net/english/opinion/18032019
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Re: Newroz u sersala we Piroz be

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:02 pm

Iranians maimed, killed as
Newroz festivities get out of hand


Despite the economic hardships of life under international sanctions, Iranians are embracing the festive period of Newroz. Festivities often get out of hand, however, resulting in death and serious injury

Overnight, millions celebrated Chaharshanbeh Suri, the last Wednesday of the Iranian calendar, with bonfires and fireworks. Paramedics have been working overtime in the run up to March 21 caring for adults and children maimed and burned by explosives.

Health officials say three people have died and almost 2,000 have been injured over the past four weeks.

“Out of this number, 385 suffered first, second, and third degree burns, 107 people suffered limb amputations, and 453 people suffered injuries to their eyes,” Dr Payman Saberian, head of a crisis room set up specifically to deal with the Chaharshanbeh Suri celebration, told Tasnim news agency.

At sunset on Tuesday night, party goers start jumping over bonfires, which is seen as a purifying act according to ancient tradition. Despite warnings from the authorities, many also set of fireworks in residential areas.

Hossein Kolivand, head of Iran Emergency Service, said although the number of injuries seems high, there has actually been a 60 percent drop on last year’s figures.

In one specific incident, a 29-year-old man from Hamadan died after a hand grenade in his pocket accidentally detonated. A 16-year-old boy from Zanjan was also killed in a firework accident.

In the Kurdish province of western Iran, roughly 200 people were injured in similar incidents.

Newroz, which means “New Day” in Persian, is celebrated by several ethno-linguistic groups, including Afghans, Kurds, and Iranians.

Hundreds of people are also killed in road accidents during Newroz. In just the last three days, 76 people have died on Iran’s roads, traffic police chief Mohammad Hussein Hamidi told state broadcaster IRIB.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iran/20032019
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Re: Newroz u sersala we Piroz be: History and Celebrations

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:54 pm

BU GÜN NEWROZ. Bugün Newrozdur güzel bir gün
Özgürlüğün,kardeşliğin bayramı
Ortadoğu Mezopotamya’da kine
Zalime,zulüme karşı birlik günü Bugün Newrozdur unutulmayan
Kawa’nın tüm halklara hediyesi
Haydi gidek dağlara,meydanlara
Gürleştirelim özgürlüğün ateşini Bugün Newroz enbüyük bayram
Barış için birlikte raks etme günü
Zindanlarada tüm esir çocukların
Umutlarını özgürlüğe taşıyan gün Bugün Newroz bahara açılan kapı
Zemheri bitti toprağa cemre düştü
İşte zılgıt sesleri işte yanan ateşler
Sarı,kırmızı,yeşil sardı tüm dağları Bugün Newrozdur tarihi çok eski
Hurriler,Med’lerden hep kutlanan
Asur kralı beyinsiz Dehak’a karşı
Ölümsüz Demirci Kawa’nın zaferi. Bugün bayramdır Gütiler’den beri
Med’lerden bu güne hep süregelen
Sarı,kırmızı,yeşil’i özgürlük çiçeği
Ezilen halkların Kürt’lerin bayramı Bugün Newroz Amed’te Dersim’de
İstanbul’da yükseliyor halkların sesi
Yasaklı olsada w,x,q,ê,î ile Kürt dili
Yakalım barış,özgürlük,sevgi ateşini.
This day is newroz. Today is a beautiful day of newrozdur
Your Freedom, the holiday of brotherhood
Hatred in middle East Mesopotamia
Break, unity day against tyranny today newrozdur evergreen
Kawa's gift to all peoples
Let's go purity to the mountains, to the mountains
Let's gurlestirelim the fire of freedom today newroz company eid
Day of dancing together for peace
All your captive children in the zindanlarada
The day that carries your hopes to freedom today is the door to newroz spring
Of done to the ground cemre fell
Here are the sounds of catches here are the burning fires
Yellow, Red, green wrapped all mountains today newrozdur history is so old
The Hurrians are always celebrated from the med
Assyrian King against brainless dehak
The Victory of the immortal blacksmith kawa. Today is holiday since gutiler gutiler
From the med's to this day all the time
Yellow, Red, green the flower of freedom
The day of the Kurdish of the oppressed peoples is today at my class in newroz amed
The voice of peoples rising in Istanbul
Even though banned w, x, Q, đ, Kurdish language with î
Let's burn the fire of peace, freedom, love.

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Re: Newroz u sersala we Piroz be: History and Celebrations

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:23 pm

An End to the Darkness

When Turkish ground troops and jihadist mercenaries invaded the center of Afrin, Northern Syria, one year ago, the statue of the Kurdish blacksmith Kawa was among their first targets. The statue — the symbol of the Kurdish New Year, Newroz — was demonstratively shot at by the Turkish-backed jihadists and then demolished with bulldozers.

According to a millennium-old legend, it was Kawa who led the resistance against King Dehak’s tyranny and freed the people from oppression. To proclaim his victory, he lit a fire on a mountain. For the Kurds lighting similar fires for Newroz today, colonialism is the modern version of Dehak’s rule, and the Kurdish resistance a continuation of the popular uprising the blacksmith led.

Last year, Newroz took place weeks into a foreign invasion, as the Turkish and jihadist occupiers of Afrin posed victoriously in front of the destroyed statue of Kawa. But this year, with the defeat of the last remnants of the so-called Islamic State, we can instead celebrate the success of the popular resistance in the region of Northern Syria commonly known as Rojava. As they light fires for Newroz 2019, at the end of almost five years of horror spread by jihadists and their sponsors, Kurds can applaud the women and men who put a stop to the darkness.

Many people across the world celebrate the beginning of spring and the New Year on March 21. But for Kurds, this day has long been associated with resistance and a struggle for freedom and identity. The politicization of the Newroz festival in Turkey dates back to the 1970s and thus to the foundation of the Kurdish freedom movement. The more politicized the Kurdish question was, the more the state criminalized and fought everything around Newroz. Indeed, this oppression has intensified over the last four decades.

In the Turkey of the 1980s the very use of the word “Newroz,” which literally means “new day” in Kurdish, was made a criminal offence, in line with Turkey’s long-established policy of denying Kurdish identity. Just as the official narrative didn’t recognize the existence of “Kurds,” there could be no New Year called “Newroz.”

All those who opposed this logic were imprisoned or killed. Under its 1980s military dictatorship Turkey was infamous for its torture prisons, which served mainly as “re-education” and Turkification centers. The history of Newroz begins in one of these torture prisons — the “No. 5 Prison” in Diyarbakır, the de facto Kurdish capital in Turkey’s southeast. Especially the first years after the 1980 military coup are renowned as the “period of barbarism.”

Only a few of those who went into the torture prisons survived, including the Kurdish politician and former mayor of Diyarbakır Gültan Kışanak — jailed again in 2016 — and Sakine Cansız, who was murdered along with two other Kurdish women activists in Paris in 2013. Others either died in torture or killed themselves in protest.

Mazlum Doğan did the latter. He was part of the student movement, which is considered the forerunner of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and was arrested in 1979. On March 21, 1982, he set fire to his cell to protest the conditions in prison; he declared in a note that the fire he lit with three matches was the Newroz fire of the Kurdish resistance.

With the military coup of 1980, martial law was imposed across the country and only gradually replaced by a state of emergency in the 1982 military constitution. The state of emergency was then lifted in 1987 in the west of the country, but at the same time a so-called “state of emergency area” was established in the provinces of the predominantly Kurdish southeast. Turkey has since then ruled the Kurdish areas in an almost unbroken state of emergency. This has turned the celebration of the Newroz festival into an act of civil disobedience, by definition.

Especially in the 1990s, when the politics of permanent curfews, mass-burnings of villages, and public executions hit a new high — also known as the “Dark Years of the Republic” — March 21 was increasingly identified as a day of rebellion, commonly referred to as Serhildan in Kurdish.

It was in 1990 that Newroz saw the first organized protests, with the death of the guerrilla fighter Kamuran Dündar in the Kurdish town of Nusaybin. His funeral coincided with March 21 and all shops and schools remained closed that day. The entire urban population of Nusaybin participated in the funeral procession, where two people died as a result of Turkish police intervention. The subsequent protests lasted another four days and were spread throughout the region. In solidarity with the protests in Nusaybin, for example, numerous smaller Newroz fires were lit on the mountain peaks around Cizre in the style of the Kawa legend.

From rallies to demonstrations or celebrations with music and dance in traditional attire, it was certain that all Newroz events would be violently broken up by the police and the military, leaving many dead. In 1991 alone, thirty-one people were killed for attending the Newroz events in Diyarbakır, Ağrı, or Istanbul.

To prevent further violence and civilian casualties, a delegation of MPs visited the then prime minister Süleyman Demirel to persuade him to allow Newroz festivities across the country. Demirel, who came to power with promises of democratization, agreed and announced that Newroz celebrations would be tolerated.

Despite this, March 21, 1992 went down in history thanks to video footage of the massacre in the Kurdish town of Cizre. Women, children, young and old had gathered in colorful traditional clothing in a public square to celebrate Newroz, only for the Turkish security forces to start shooting into the crowd without warning. That day at least fifty people died, including twelve children.

The subsequent outbreak of protests in Cizre and Şırnak led to another one hundred deaths. Among them journalists like the Sabah editor Izzet Kezer, killed by a police bullet to the head in Cizre on March 23 1992.

In light of the increasingly brutal repression of Kurdish identity and tradition, Newroz protests grew widely throughout the region and self-immolations began to become a new form of protest marking this day. Thus, on Newroz 1992 Rahşan Demirel set fire to herself in Izmir, as did Ronahî Bedriye Taş and Berîvan Bilgün Yıldırım in Germany two years later.

After the bloody events of 1992, Demirel held his famous “We acknowledge the Kurdish reality” speech and the PKK declared a ceasefire on March 21, 1993. Abdullah Öcalan, founder and ideological father of the PKK, appeared in front of the cameras in civilian clothing for the first time on Newroz 1993 and announced in a press statement that this ceasefire would become a turning point in history.

Öcalan stressed that the Kurds were ready to participate in the construction of a democratic republic and that in the long term the armed movement would be willing to lay down its weapons. This was the first expression of a paradigm shift within the PKK, shared before the entire international public on Newroz.

Despite the Turkish state’s provocative efforts to break this ceasefire, including the ongoing criminalization of Newroz, as well as attempts by the state to claim it as an ethnically Turkish rooted festival, the unilateral ceasefire declaration of 1993 marked a turning point in the politicization of Newroz. It now began to be celebrated explicitly in light of the Kurds’ political demands.

With the arrest of Abdullah Öcalan and his extradition to Turkey on February 15, 1999, all Newroz celebrations were again subject to a strict ban. Barely a month later a total of 8,174 people were arrested on the Kurdish New Year, 4,000 of them in Istanbul and 2,459 in Diyarbakir.

Despite the Turkish state’s effort to ban it, the Kurdish people took part in the Newroz celebrations in ever-greater numbers over subsequent years. In 2000, for example, two hundred thousand people took part in the central Newroz celebration in Diyarbakır, and the following year the figure was half a million.

Since then, every central Newroz festivity has been celebrated under a political slogan. Slogans like “Neither denial nor secession: Democratic Republic” or “Either peace or peace: Democratic autonomy” were highlighted at the central Newroz rallies. These festivities became a leading means of expressing political demands, as more conventional political participation by Kurdish parties was rendered impossible either by their banning or the jailing of key political figures.

For this reason, the grassroots-organized Newroz rallies became a political arena in which demands could be communicated to the people and the Turkish state. For instance, the anarcho-communalist program for democratic confederalism, as a solution to the problem of democracy in Turkey and the Middle East, was presented for the first time during the Newroz celebrations in 2005.

The lack of democracy and the political neglect of the Kurdish issue led to Newroz becoming not only a cultural tradition or celebration of identity, but moreover a manifestation of systematically marginalized groups’ political will. At the same time, these celebrations expressed the grassroots’ own unambiguous insistence that Öcalan must be a key figure in eventual peace talks between the PKK and the Turkish state. Newroz 2010 saw rallies in 108 cities with a total of four million participants, held under the slogan “Freedom for Öcalan means free identity.”

Even during subsequent peace negotiations, Newroz celebrations continued to be forbidden by the Turkish state, though this did not mean that the bans were successful. With hundreds of thousands participating every year, the police were unable to prevent people from gathering to celebrate. After the termination of peace talks by the Turkish president Erdoğan in the summer of 2015 and the resulting spike in repression against all the government’s opponents, Newroz too was subject to intensified “securitization” policies.
Newroz fires in Baxos, where Kurdish-led SDF forces are removing the last traces of ISIS. Nazım Daştan / Jacobin

Those who continued to attend the central Newroz festival in Diyarbakır did so out of strong political conviction, indeed fearing for their lives. One example was the music student Kemal Kurkut, who died in the early hours of Newroz 2017. Upon entering the square in Diyarbakir where the rally was to be held, he was first stripped naked by the Turkish police, let through the security barricade, and then shot from behind with a bullet to the chest.

This year’s Newroz is no exception to the Turkish state’s long tradition of banning celebrations on March 21. Not only have almost all municipal politicians been arrested prior to Newroz, but international delegations of politicians have also been detained upon arrival in Diyarbakır, as well as local civil society offices raided and destroyed. Indeed, resistance is at the heart of this year’s Newroz.

Organized amid an atmosphere of political harassment, this year’s rallies are especially marked by the on-going hunger strikes in Turkish prisons, sparked by elected HDP MP Leyla Güven. For more than 134 days, she has been protesting the severe isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, who is not only imprisoned on a single-man island but also has not been allowed to see his lawyers for more than a decade.

But this Kurdish New Year has also seen a flame of hope which stands out against this wider backdrop of repression. This was best illustrated by the Newroz fire that rose across the border in Deir-e-Zor, where the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have declared their soon-to-be-finalized triumph over the last remnants of the so-called Islamic State — just like the fire that was lit by Kawa to announce the end of oppression under King Dehak.

Every year Kurds and other peoples light the Newroz fire to welcome spring. They dance in their traditional clothes around the fire and jump over the flames, expressing wishes that must triumph against all odds. Be it in the prisons of Turkey or on liberated lands in Northern Syria, Newroz is when spring arrives, and resistance can be celebrated as a new form of existence.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/03/newr ... rkey-syria
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