PKK TEV-ÇAND Committee condemns banning of 'Ji Bo Azadiyê' in Sulaymaniyah

The PKK TEV-ÇAND Committee condemned the banning of the movie "Ji Bo Azadiyê" (For Freedom) at the 5th International Film Festival in Sulaymaniyah and said that the ban undermines both the Kurdish culture and the freedom cause.

This year the 5th Sulaymaniyah International Film Festival is being held on December the 17st- 23th, 2021, in Sulaymaniyah City in Kurdistan, Iraq. 143 films from 35 countries were set to be shown over seven days.

On December 19, the screening of the film “Ji Bo Azadiye: The End Will Be Spectacular” by the Rojava Film Commune was banned. In response, the Commune withdrew their second film “Blackberry Season” as well, since the festival is not a “free art platform”.

According to the statement released by the Commune, “Our film “Ji Bo Azadiye”, and the film “Blackberry Season”, which we co-produced, took part in the festival based on the request from the festival itself. After the beginning of the festival, and on December 18th, 2021, i.e. the day of the film screening, and just a few hours before the screening, the board reported that ‘Since the film is a 2019 production, it will be taken out of the competition in this category and it cannot be screened today”. This was verbally stated to our friends who are participating in the festival.”

A docufilm titled 'Ronak' was withdrawn from the festival in response to the ban on 'Ji Bo Azadiyê'.

In a statement, the PKK TEV-ÇAND Committee slammed the decision of the Film Festival committee. “The movie 'Ji Bo Azadiyê' was invited to the 5th Sulaymaniyah International Film Festival, but it was banned one day before the start of the festival. The reasons for the ban are fabricated, while the main reason is clearly political and financial. The entire Kurdish public knows that this last-minute intervention has been encouraged by the colonialist Turkish state,” the statement said.

“The screening of the movie was prevented in movie theatres in Sulaymaniyah by the fascist Turkish state two years ago. It is both sad and annoying to ban a Kurdish movie in a Kurdish city like Sulaymaniyah, which is famous for its art and literature. The colonialist Turkish state is the enemy of the Kurdish people. It is understandable that it has attacked and will continue to attack the achievements of the Kurdish people. However, the situation of those who are instrumental to the Turkish policies and those who carry out full cooperation with them is not understandable and acceptable,” the statement continued.

“Why is the Turkish state attacking this movie? Because it exposes the murderous, barbaric and inhuman face of the colonialist Turkish state. It removes the masks of the state and reveals its ugly face. The subject of this film is the Kurdish people's right to self-government and their struggle for self-defence. The movie focuses on the resistance of the Kurdish people for freedom and the heroes who put up this resistance. For this reason, the genocidal Turkish state attempts to ban it everywhere.

How can one explain that the movie is banned at a festival in a Kurdish city like Sulaymaniyah by those who present themselves as a Kurdish power, in line with the demands and impositions of this fascist and anti-Kurdish state? While self-government resistance was taking place in Bakur (North) Kurdistan, the Kurdistan regional government did not give support, and now it is banning the movie about self-government resistance due to the intolerance of our common enemy! How on earth is it possible to do it? Is there any explanation based on national consciousness, a democratic and artistic understanding?

Those who prevented this film from being screened at the festival due to Turkish intervention showed how weak minded, cooperative and servile they are. If this attitude is adopted in exchange for financial and political opportunities, this brings up another serious issue. It reveals that these forces are far from national interests and remain self-interested in a very narrow way.

The resistance that this film depicts, and the heroism displayed during this resistance, is an honour for the entire Kurdish people. It is already a great historical and cultural heritage. It is the pride of every free Kurd. Therefore, it is a duty for every pro-freedom Kurd to embrace both this resistance and the film that depicts this resistance. It is a shame for those who prevented it from being screened at the festival in Sulaymaniyah. The Kurdish public opinion should take a stand against this collaborative attitude and expose it. If the Kurdish public remains concerned and critical, it can prevent such attitudes that undermine the Kurdish people's cause for freedom in the future.

We strongly condemn the ban against the movie “Ji Bo Azadiyê” and want to state that this has done huge damage to the Kurdish Freedom cause, as well as to Kurdish culture and art. We expect our people and the entire democratic public to raise concerns over the issue.”