The Turkish-Kurdish night was captivating. 20-25 people were there, sharing and learning about the subject. Some Kurdish women prepared delicious traditional food. We had a nice jam, learning the authentic style of music. Some of us will plan some art actions together to expose the issue further.
Here are some topics that were discussed:
“My heart is split into pieces”
The government of Turkey has been denying the Kurdish existence since the 1920s, when Kurdistan was split into Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Kurdish children are forced to go to Turkish school, and forbidden to speak their mother language. They are not allowed to be given Kurdish names. Children who try to speak Kurdish are beaten until they conform. One woman elected to the parliament was imprisoned for 10 years for speaking 1 Kurdish word, as she began to say that she would represent her Kurdish supporters as well has her Turkish supporters.
The environment of Kurdistan is serenely beautiful. In its efforts to subdue the Kurdish people, Turkey drops napalm and bombs the area, destroying villages and the natural environment. ROJ TV is an international TV station that shows Kurdish news out of Denmark. Under pressure from Turkey, Denmark is closing down the TV station.
One attendee arranged with a director of the Tropen museum to show his work, which reflects his feelings as a Kurd who grew up in Turkey. The director supported the possible exhibition, but it was denied by the commission on the grounds that it was too politically charged. In previous years Gray Wolves threw stones at the museum when they didn’t like the message of the exhibition.
In Amsterdam on 21/10, extremist Turkish nationalists (many of them Gray Wolves) marched to the Kurdish Community Center and began assaulting the door with clubs, stones, and slingshots. Inside the center were mostly women and children. Kurdish people fought off the attackers. Then the police, who allowed the attack, entered spraying pepper spray. Their dogs attacked several kurdish people. Many kurdish people were badly injured but the police denied first aid people entry. None of the attackers were arrested. The mayor and the media reported that police handled the situation appropriately.
The Kurdish people in the meeting do not have issue with the Turkish people. They have issue with the way the Kurdish people are treated by the Turkish government and Turkish nationalists. We were disappointed our Turkish friends didn’t show up to give a balanced perspective, which illustrates part of the issue we are confronting.