Colonialist messages from Sur to Afrin
It is no coincidence that the first colonialist practice to surface from Afrin came out of a school-place of education. It is the first and perhaps most important initiative in their sociocide efforts.
In an analysis made in 1994, Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan wrote:
“For a Kurd with honor, there is no place on earth that is comfortable. For a human being with honor, there is no place in Turkey that is comfortable either. The philosophy of comfort doesn’t apply to us as some think. You will get to understand this.”
The thing that reminds us of this quote is the fascistic colonialist practices displayed by the Turkish state against the Kurdish people one after the other. Several mise-en-scene news stories were served yesterday with great fanfare yesterday.
They first said, “Streets are reawakening in Afrin,” and showed images of children playing ball, without any indication to location, then an image of a shopkeeper in the market. They derive thousands of warped results from images with no backstory. Now isn’t one of the most authentic definitions of colonialism the theft and emptying of the story of a place or a person?
Let’s go back two weeks.
There was an opening ceremony in Sur in Amed. The four-pillared minaret where Tahir Elçi had been murdered was reopened. What kind of an opening was that? They clad the minaret in flag. The pillars of the minaret are ridden with bullet holes, there is still blood at the feet, but they put up flags everywhere and had a ceremony as if that was a grand gesture. The message was clear: “This minaret is now ours, feel the presence of the state in these streets. We have invaded this place, see that every time you pass by, every time you look.”
The opening to the public of such a historic place in this way is full of messages, and is a sign that they want to do the same everywhere in the future. They want to tear down every apartment, every house where patriotic Kurds live with bullets like they did to the minaret, then reopen them with flags. In this context, we are not fully understanding what Mr. Öcalan said we would. That is one of the things he points to.
On Monday, there was a similar story.
This time it was images from Hakkari: “A march was held in support of the Olive Branch operation the TAF is implementing in Afrin as part of the Yüksekova Marches project in the Yüksekova district of Hakkari. (...) The Yüksekova District Governorate and 3rd Infantry Division Command held a march to the Heroes of Afrin Hill at 2.744 altitude.”
Young people and children were given flags and used as bait here. The stress on Gever seems to say, “It was once the fortress of youth resistance, it used to give the enemy hell, but now we give them flags,” frequently in between the lines in the news story. The same logic as in Sur.
The flag show peaked in Afrin not long after.
Let’s look at Anadolu Agency again. They issued a story titled “Afrin cleared of terror, children go back to school”. The story is a textbook example of how colonialism works in times of modernity. It’s not just a piece of fictive black propaganda, it is also the reality of the nation state, pushing the way colonialism makes one feel to the bone. It also answers the questions, “What is assimilation?” and “How can we implement it?” The copy written over the YPG makes one laugh. This much thoughtlessness and ridiculousness is too much.
The children are given Turkish flags. Photographs of Erdoğan and the mayor of Ankara’s Keçiören district were put up over the “school”. They say wherever they fly their flag is theirs. They turn every individual with a flag into a battleground of colonialism. This is not a new policy.
In truth, as Erdoğan mentions from time to time, this can be looked at through the practice of “three types of politics”. These types were Ottomanism, Turkism and Islamism. Erdoğan is combining all these three now, but the one he puts the most emphasis on and the one that is most useful to him now is the politics of “Turkism”. Their practices from 2015 onwards, their relationship to the MHP, the grey wolf signs they keep flashing, and the stress on the “national-local” is not for nothing. They are all instances of this form.
We can read the invasion attempt and the colonialization with this invasion mindset over these policies too. In both the Ottomans and the Turkish state, all vital changes were always implemented over two spheres: Military and education.
They made changes in these spheres to become permanent. The military part represented violence and tyranny, while the education was to legitimize the violence, have a smooth transition and to garner up enough collaborators for colonialization efforts. Ruling states have to create people to “betray” themselves in places they colonize, so the execution can be swift. Colonialism is a bane and a vampire.
They also focus directly on education, because education is “legacy”. Because “traditions and acquired things, habits and conquests, efforts and actions of the past generation can be left as a legacy though education and go down in history.”
“In the end colonialism has at its core both oppression and alienation. It aims to create a mindless and heartless human, or if they still have a heart have that heart sound as a tin or stay silent. The greatest goal of colonialism is to make the colonized carry the mind of others, i.e. the colonizer’s mind. In that sense, the act of carrying the heads of others on one’s shoulders is colonialism in its essence. It is the colonialist mindset.”
It is no coincidence that the first colonialist practice to surface from Afrin came out of a school-place of education. It is the first and perhaps most important initiative in their sociocide efforts. Because an individual whose education has been usurped will stray from politics and morality after a while as they are constantly learning the wrong things. The individual will become an output shaped by the system.
The statement, “For a Kurd with honor, there is no place on earth that is comfortable,” mentioned by the beginning of the article is seen to be such an on point analysis for Kurds in the 21st century. This must be what ties the fascism at the Amed old city walls to the fascism in Afrin’s villages.