Panel on 'Self-Defence-Women' at Zilan Festival in Germany

The 18th Zilan Cultural Festival started in Duisburg with the slogan “With Jin-Jiyan-Azadî to the women’s revolution”.

The 18th Zîlan Women's Festival is taking place today in Duisburg's RheinPark under the motto "With Jin, Jiyan, Azadî to the women's revolution". The festival is the largest annual event of the Kurdish women's movement in Europe and is organized by the Kurdish Women’s Union in Germany (YJK-E) in cooperation with the Women's Cultural Council Kevana Zêrîn and women's organizations from all parts of Kurdistan.

The 18th Zilan Cultural Festival, dedicated to the pioneering women who were martyred in June in the ranks of the Kurdish Freedom Struggle, started in Duisburg with a panel on 'Self-Defence-Women'.

In the panel moderated by writer Meral Şimşek, Shengal Women's Units (YJŞ) Commander Hêza Şengali, Women's Studies Activist Medya Botan, KJAR (East Kurdistan Free Women's Community) Representative in Europe, Meryem Fetahi, participated as speakers. Medya Botan addressed the situation of Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and said that there is an international consensus on the isolation regime imposed on Öcalan.

Medya Botan underlined that the captivity of Abdullah Öcalan and his detention in isolation in İmralı is not a coincidence and is related to the war being waged in the 4 parts of Kurdistan and in the Middle East. Medya Botan said, "Leader Öcalan’s captivity is not ordinary. It is a policy aimed at deepening the war. For 25 years, campaigns have been organised for the freedom of Leader Öcalan. Currently, there is a worldwide struggle for the freedom of Leader Öcalan and the political solution of the Kurdish question. The freedom of Leader Öcalan means peace and freedom in the Middle East and Kurdistan. The forces waging the 3rd World War and carrying out their most intense practice in the Middle East do not want this, because Leader Öcalan has a political philosophy and power for a solution. He has solutions that promise hope and future to the peoples. The isolation system is being deepened for this reason. Therefore, all the work we do for the freedom of Leader Öcalan is also for the freedom and peace of societies. Therefore, we must work for the freedom of Leader Öcalan, everywhere and at all times."

Medya Botan noted that the women's defence forces established in Rojava and Shengal in the light of Abdullah Öcalan's philosophy protect all humanity against barbarism.

Hêza Şengali spoke about the international campaign launched by the Yazidi Women’s Freedom Movement (TAJÊ) on 8 March called "Against femicide – be the voice of self-defense". She said that the Yazidi people live in Shengal (Sinjar) with their culture and reminded of the occupation of Shengal by ISIS thanks to the betrayal of the KDP. She gave examples of the dramas and massacres suffered by the Yazidi people following the ISIS onslaught in 2014. However, she said, women's forces have been formed in Shengal and are active in the areas of self-defence and struggle, protecting the society.

Şengali talked about the importance of women reorganising themselves with the philosophy and ideas of Abdullah Öcalan and turning into a social power of struggle based on Zilan's line of resistance. Şengali said that the work of different institutions established by women is not only for defence purposes and that women are the pioneers in many areas of life. Şengali gave information about the occupying Turkish state’s targeted attacks against the Yazidi community and criticised the silence of the international community on the massacre.

Meryem Fetahi talked about the impact of the "Jin Jiyan Azadi" [Woman, Life, Freedom9 revolution rising in East Kurdistan in the light of Abdullah Öcalan's philosophy on a world scale, and defined the execution of Kurdish pioneer women by the Iranian state as a crime against humanity. Meryem Fetahi said that the struggle of Kurdish women is a hope for all the women of the world and that no pressure can prevent this.

The panel continued with questions and answers.