Preparations completed for the Zilan Women's Festival in Frankfurt

The Zilan Women's Festival, the annual highlight of the Kurdish women's movement in Germany, will take place in Frankfurt on Saturday. The organisers from the women's association YJK-E invite all to participate and point out its universal character.

In Frankfurt, the countdown is on for the biggest event of the Kurdish women's movement in Europe. On Saturday, the 16th Zilan Women's Festival will take place under the motto "Fight back! Organise yourself! Live your freedom! The festival is organised by the Association of Women from Kurdistan in Germany (YJK-E), the venue is Walther-von-Cronberg-Platz in Sachsenhausen-Nord.

The women's association YJK-E expects thousands of participants from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. "We have been in the streets and squares all year and our festival will be the highlight of our activities this year," reads a recent statement calling on Alevi, Yazidi and women from all parts of Kurdistan to stand up for the common struggle by participating in the festival. "However, the Zilan Women's Festival also has a universal character. Since 2004, women from different countries, from Latin America, India, Tamil Eelam, Catalonia, have joined our cultural programme. Many women from the feminist spectrum have expressed solidarity with the Kurdish women's movement at our festivals and have spoken out in favour of a common struggle. This year we are also very happy to have women from different countries and movements participating."

The festival programme includes musical contributions and dance performances. Kurdish clothes will be presented in a tent, and a special programme is planned for children. There will be information stands about the contents of the Kurdish women's movement. The women's festival is open to all genders and identities.

A joint bus trip to the festival will be organised from many cities in Germany. According to the organisers, participants will be dropped off at the festival site and picked up afterwards.

Zilan Women's Festival: Kurdish tradition since 2004

The first Zilan Women's Festival took place in Gelsenkirchen in 2004 under the motto "Women cross borders". The following year, the women's movement dedicated the festival to the internationalists Uta Schneiderbanger (Nûdem) and Ekin Ceren Doğruak (Amara), who died in a car accident in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) on 31 May 2005. In the following years, central issues of the women's movement, such as the struggle against the prevailing concept of honour ("We are no one's honour, our honour is our freedom!") and against feminicide ("Women are life, don't kill life!") took centre stage. In 2013, thousands of women declared their determination to continue the struggle of Sakine Cansız (Sara), Leyla Şaylemez (Ronahî) and Fidan Doğan (Rojbîn), revolutionaries murdered by the Turkish secret service in Paris. Other festivals were dedicated to the fighting women in Kobanê and Shengal. After the Turkish invasion of Afrin, the motto in 2018 was "Defending Afrin means defending the women's revolution". The last festival took place in June 2019 under the motto "Women's Resistance Liberates".