NUSAYBIN : Tear down the walls, let them all disappear

ANF * – Mardin 08.11.2013Tens of thousands of people have gathered in Nusaybın and Qamişlo to protest the wall that the Turkish state is building on its southern border with Rojava on Thursday. Rallies occurred on both sides of the new border in an attempt to deliver a clear message: “your borders and your walls are illegitimate.”

A rally held at the Mittani Cultural Center in the center of Nusaybin was attended by tens of thousands. The co-presidents of the Democratic Society Congress Aysel Tuğluk and Ahmet Türk, the co-presidents of the BDP Selahattin Demirtaş and Gültan Kışanak, the co-president of the HDP Ertuğrul Kürkçü, all BDP MPs, the General President of KESK (a major Turkish labor union) Lami Özgen, the General President of EMEP Selma Gökan, the brother of Abdullah Öcalan Mehmet Öcalan, BDP mayors, as well as representatives of the DÖKH and members of the BDP Youth parliament all took part alongside many other civil society organizations.  The rally paused to remember everyone killed in the course of the democratic struggle, and saluted Ayşe Gökkan, the mayor of Nusaybin who just broke off a 9 day hunger strike to protest the wall’s construction.  Gökkan told the crowd “We have not accepted nor will we accept the crime agaisnt humanity, this black scar that people want to commit here. As free and democratic women, as the Kurdish people, we will continue to fight agaisnt this oppression and this shame.”

Kürkçü, the co-president of the HDP, told the crowd that “just two hundred meters beyond us a resistance and a revolution has taken place. And we want to open this revolution to all peoples, to the entire world.” He went on to say that this wall was not only being placed between the honorable Kurdish people but a wall built between peoples, and that in the same way that one could not accept the wall in Palestine one ought to reject the wall being built now.

He went on to evoke the words of the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet – “Tear down the walls, let them all disappear” – and went on to say, “These walls don’t matter at all, the peoples will tear down these walls. If the Kurdish people become more free other peoples will become more free. Now they are trying to put up a wall between a people that are walking on the path toward freedom. This is blind, deaf and meaningless mentality, and the result of an unjust policy. As the Kurdish people flow over the borders, and in the same way that the Palestinian people have repudiated these walls we also  repudiate these walls. Sooner or later as they pace back and forth they will stop and ask what they will do, those who now say ‘they have risen up we will build a wall.’ A wall built in this century can only speak to a fascist or imperialist mentality. For this reason the resistance of this people is the flight of the falcon. Everyone knows that this resistance seeks to spread equality, freedom and democracy among the peoples. If this border or this gate is to remain closed, let it remain closed to imperialists, to those with fascist mentalities, to the al-Nusra gangs. Rojava Kurdistan is the shining star of the peoples and the world. For that reason everyone needs to recognize the Rojava revolution. If steps in this direction are not taken the peoples will make the regimes accept their own rights and their freedoms. Long live the Rojava Revolution and long live the solidarity of all peoples.”

Protesters came from cities and towns around northern and western Kurdistan and converged on the wall that now divides Nusaybin and Qamişlo after calls made by the BDP and the HDP to protest the “wall of the shame” currently under construction between the two cities. Turkish police fought with demonstrations on the northern side of the border, while the Turkish army attacked thousands of protesters from cities in Rojava such as Derik, Qamişlo, Girke Legê, Dirbêsiye and Tirbêspiye with tear gas and water cannons as they attempted to march on the border from the southern side. Protesters on both sides of the border responded by throwing stones.

Turkish police made every effort to prevent protesters from reaching Nusaybın. Outside of Amed (Diyarbakir), Urfa, Mardin and Şırnak police found every reason to stop vehicles at checkpoints and fine motorists for miscellaneous, minor offenses. Despite police pressure, however, thousands reached Nusaybın from other cities around northern Kurdistan. Police again tried to prevent entry to Nusaybin by blocking entrance to the city with armored cars and tank mounted water-cannons (TOMA), but after a meeting between representatives of the BDP and the interior ministry the police blockade was lifted.